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"I treasure this time in the Bridge Communities program."

"I treasure this time in the Bridge Communities program," says Ying with a twinkle in her eye. Her beautiful face looks like that of a 30 year-old belying the fact that she is actually 48 years old and parenting two boys, Sean who is 7 and Kevin who is 3.

Ying exemplifies the way the Bridge Communities transitional housing program can transform the life of a family within the short, two-year program period.

Raised and educated in China, Ying has a love of music and moved to the US at the age of 32 to study music at DePaul University while staying with her brother. She met her soon to be husband in Chicago and they married and purchased a home. A full time homemaker, while expecting her second child, Ying's husband left her and stopped making mortgage payments on their home. With the utilities shut off and imminent foreclosure on the house, Ying searched for help. It was while telling her story to someone at the College of DuPage, they referred her to Bridge Communities.

Ying, who had never held a job, is now a Senior Teller for Harris Bank. Patty Kelly, employment counselor for Bridge Communities and Bridge former board member, Jim Braasch helped Ying develop a resume and coached her on interviewing skills.

Overwhelmed with becoming a mother at age 41 and parenting two active young boys on her own, Bridge's education coordinator, Barbara Trczinski, worked with Ying over a period of months to develop her parenting skills and provide structure and boundaries for the children.

Thrifty by nature and with a fierce sense of determination to make life better for her children, Ying has been able to save $15,000 and hopes to purchase a condominium or townhouse when she leaves the Bridge program.

Bridge program partner, Stepping Stones has provided Yin with weekly mentoring meetings to help her learn to schedule her day as a full-time working mom and parent, organize her budget, and provide emotional support to what she was experiencing.

Client update

Ying recently graduated from the College of Dupage with an associates degree in accounting. Congratulations!

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"As a mentor, I feel that I have received more than I have given...the goal of a mentor might be to help families find resources to further their education, get out of debt, and plan for the future, but one soon realizes that it is the social and emotional support that is most essential.  Being a mentor has taught me patience, compassion, and perseverance.  It has changed my definition of success and increased my gratitude toward family, friends and God."