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Sue

"I felt like I was juggling chaos.”

"I felt like I was juggling chaos,” says Sue of her life before entering the Bridge Communities transitional housing program.  “My kids and I spent years moving from place to place with my abusive husband before we landed in the domestic violence shelter and then in my parents’ basement.  Then it became too difficult to stay there and I didn't know where we would go.”

Two years ago, Sue was taking some general education classes at College of DuPage (COD) with plans to apply to the nursing program there.  In between classes, she drove a school bus and struggled alone parenting her two pre-teens, Kayla and Vince.  In addition, she volunteered for “Journey Home,” a Christian ministry serving domestic violence victims. Another counselor there told her about the Bridge program.

In the Bridge program, housing provided stability to Sue and her family. Experienced mentors, Mary Love and Patti and Tom Redig came along side Sue to help her sort out her finances, balance her bank account, work with the school district on a specialized education plan for her son, and talk about parenting skills for coping with her teenage daughter.

Bridge’s education coordinator arranged for tutors for both teens.  And case manager, Molly Howieson, who has years of experience helping women transition from homemakers to the workforce, has helped Sue to craft a plan to complete a Human Services degree in the 3/1 program between COD and National Louis University.  Sue says, “Molly has been relentless” in searching out scholarships that will cover most of the $20,000 tuition bill for her year at National Louis.

With an ear to the ground, Molly became aware of a part time, entry level job opening with DuPage County.  Sue applied and got the job, and now hopes the county’s tuition reimbursement program will help her complete her degree, and that her job there, may lead to a next-step career move into public health counseling.

On one recent evening with Sue and her children, Vince is on the couch drawing three-dimensional drawings on a sketch pad; Kayla is strumming her mostly self taught folk guitar and waiting for a ride to a local Campus Life meeting – a local youth ministry group where she now has many friends.  Adult felines Smokey and Bob saunter through the mix. This harmonious picture is a dramatic change from their lives two years earlier.

Sue and her children will spend a few months longer than the two years a typical family spends in the Bridge Communities transitional housing program so that she can grow her savings account.  But it will all be well worth it.  Sue plans to purchase a Bridge-owned condominium in Westmont that will allow the children to stay in the same school district where they are now thriving.

Client update

Sue is now happily married, owns a home and is working at a job she enjoys.

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Bridge Builders are Glen Ellyn residents who take a hands-on approach to enhancing the lives of Bridge client families, particularly creating exceptional experiences for the children.