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"It was like an angel stepped into Tieara’s life!"

The Bridge Communities' tutoring program has a huge impact on the individual lives of dozens of children each year.  But occasionally, something magical happens in the tutor/student relationship that goes above and beyond.  Such is the story of tutor Grace Kelly and student Tieara.

Tieara was only in 2nd grade when her family entered the Bridge Communities transitional housing program.  A quiet and withdrawn girl, Tieara struggled to earn C’s in reading and math and did not make friends easily at school.

With more than 30 years of teaching middle school in LaGrange, Grace Kelly, was looking for a part time opportunity, but wasn’t sure she could be an effective tutor to an elementary school student.  Bridge’s Education Coordinator persuaded Grace to give it a try.

Grace and Tieara began meeting twice a week after school in the Bridge Communities' learning center in the Naperville apartment building where Tieara’s family lived. 

As Tieara’s mom, Tephanie, puts it, "It was like an angel stepped into Tieara’s life!"  Tieara’s grades improved along with her social skills.  A strong bond developed between tutor and student.  Grace brought books signed by the author and the two of them read together.  She took Tieara to childrens’ theater productions and movies.  "Grace has become a surrogate grandmother and an incredibly important person in our family’s life," says Tephanie.

Grace discovered what she knew intuitively, "Students who struggle teach me more about how to be a better teacher than smart ones.  I’ll tutor for Bridge for the rest of my life! It has been one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had."

Statistics show that children who experience homelessness are more likely to fail in school and more likely to continue a life in poverty in the next generation.

At Bridge Communities, we know that our precious tutors make a world of difference in the lives of children and youth – leading them to a better future.

Bridge Communities spends $1,500 per year to provide tutoring to each child in the program who needs it. If you are interested in making a difference in a child's life, you can donate to Bridge online or learn more about the Bridge Communities Tutoring Program.  Or, you can contact our our Education Coordinator, Pam Howe, at (630) 545-0610, ext 22 or

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Bridge Communities owns more than 20 apartment buildings scattered in the communities throughout DuPage County, including:

  • Addison
  • Glendale Heights
  • Glen Ellyn
  • Lombard
  • Naperville
  • Westmont
  • Woodridge