Archives for Dawn M.

Kirkwood Scholarships

We have generous donors that believe in the power of higher education.

Bridgehaven receives a yearly donation designated for scholarships for clients attending Kirkwood. Clients in the Earn While You Learn program have the opportunity to complete an application, essay, and interview with us. Each year, we are blessed and inspired by the stories of goals, overcoming obstacles, reliance on God, and the power of determination.

This year, we had three applicants apply for the scholarship, and all three were awarded amounts that complemented other grants and scholarships they were receiving. Two clients received Kirkwood scholarships through Bridgehaven last year and can now continue their education in the fields of nursing and human services. They have been very successful in their programs with honors and high recognition! Bridgehaven is so proud of them and honored to be able to walk alongside them in their journey.

Following are portions of their stories, motivations, and dreams surrounding their educational goals. Join me in celebrating and offering up thanks and praises for these people and their educational desires.
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Back to School

“Education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire.” — W.B. Yeats

For the past decade, a rich practical way of sharing the gospel has been available for families through the Back to School Supply Distribution program. This annual event offers support, encouragement and provision in the lives of parents and children in the Earn While You Learn program at Bridgehaven. Client Support will be accepting school supplies that will support our active clients in the Earn While You Learn program for this coming school year.

The goal and prayer for the Back to School Distribution is to ease the financial burden and stress for families, especially single-parent households, to promote community connectedness and establish Kingdom demonstrations of God’s goodness.

The Earn While You Learn program is a transformational model that promotes growth, learning, healthy relationships and accountable support. Clients earn material assistance and yearly benefits, such as school supplies by attending empowerment-focused classes (i.e. life skills, parenting, relationship, and Bible studies).
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A Mind to Work and the Call to Fish for Men

Earlier this week, Bridgehaven hosted its Fundraising Gala and I want to share the heart message of the event and trumpet call to be fishers of men.

The Gala was an amazing night of inspiration, praise, focus, and clarity of what our work is in the pro-abundant life, pro-family, pro-marriage realm and the fruit of our labor thus far.

Our Gala theme was “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Mark 1:17

Our theme was so appropriate for the conversations and messages shared from the various speakers. It also reminded me of a past blog I wrote in 2015: A Mind and Heart to Work. I was inspired to write that blog after attending Care Net’s (our center’s national affiliate) annual conference. That year, Care Net launched a vision of restoring fatherhood and the design of family God intended through the means of evangelism and discipleship; truly, being fishers and equippers of men. That vision of being fishers of men continues to stir and build into 2017, establishing momentum and clearer directives for Bridgehaven.
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Rooted and Built Up

On March 17th and 18th, Cedar Rapids was blessed to host a Beth Moore Live conference; a faith gathering of over 2,500 women. Bridgehaven received several tickets for clients who wanted to attend.

Beth Moore does 12 yearly conferences and extensively prays and studies specifically for the community and women she will be teaching. Each conference is unique and dependent on the leading of the Holy Spirit. When Beth was praying and preparing for the Cedar Rapids Live event, she received the message of “Taking root in the family tree of God.” As a Bridgehaven community, we were thrilled to receive a great confirmation of our mission and vision through this event.

Rooted for Life

As we celebrate and settle in to our new space for Client Support, I want to draw your attention to the fresh identity, appeal and heartbeat of Client Support: being “Rooted for Life.” Cheryl Klopfenstein, Client Support Assistant, blessed us with her creative art skills and brought to life a vision of “strength” in the Rooted for Life mural (shown above). It is our desire and prayer that you would experience and encounter love and establish a firm, rooted faith foundation in Jesus. – Excerpt from January 2016 Good News (Client Publication)

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An Answer to Prayer

Dawn Michael, Director of Client Support, and Kay Baskerville, a Bridgehaven volunteer, share a recent story of God’s amazing provision for a client in the video below:

For more information about Mary’s Inn, visit their web page.

We Are a Family of 6

“We are a family of 6; we have been married for 1 and a half years and together for 5 and a half years. We have a 10 year-old son, 9 year-old son, and 6 month-old twins. We learned about Bridgehaven through a friend who attended Earn While You Learn classes. Our friend knew of our struggle with having new twins; the financial burden, the emotional depletion, and the lack of support. Our friend encouraged us to sign up for classes and receive the material benefits, as she shared her personal testimony of value from Bridgehaven.

My husband works and has a good job, but we don’t qualify for assistance. We are above the line to receive some assistance. We live paycheck to paycheck and our money is tight. We needed something to help ease the burden of having twins. We would spend $30 or more a week just on diapers.

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Leading Many to Righteousness

shineEach semester we choose class topics and materials for our Earn While You Learn program prayerfully and strategically. The class schedule is laid out to empower clients with knowledge that will promote healthy families and relationships, emotional health, and spiritual truth.

Our exciting and abundant fall class lineup exemplifies all of these vision points for Client Support. Let me introduce you to just a few of our classes and how they are initiating a journey of personal, cultural, and generational reformation.

“Reformation, like education, is a journey, not a destination.” Mother Jones

Screen Time

This class focuses on healthy family guidelines surrounding technology usage and exposure and is especially relevant in today’s society. Our class instructor, Jasmin, teaches the effects of technology on neurological development in children and identifies common myths of technology while helping parents to establish truth, safety, and fun parameters in using technology.

A client taking this class says she has recognized the value of “play” and “interaction” with her children. Prior to this class, her children would watch videos of other children playing. The parent purchased the toys in the video and realized her children lacked skills of play and enjoyed watching other kids play. What a turning point for this family and for generations to come!

His Story

Jo, one of our long-time instructors, is teaching this 10-lesson topical study covering fundamental beliefs and practices of the Christian faith. This class provides biblical answers to life’s most important questions, including “Who is God?”, “How can we be saved?” and “How shall we then live?” It is designed for believers at all stages of growth.

Clients in this class are excited about learning how to look up scriptures and how to apply the Bible’s truth to life issues. Clients are posting scripture in their homes and teaching their children about God’s truth!

Buy. Eat. Live with ISU Extension

This new partnership and class with ISU is a 9-week course taught by Donna, focused on learning how to budget and make healthy meals for the family. Donna teaches food safety, how to meal plan, provide new recipes for families that are healthy, cost efficient and broaden ideas of cooking with fruits and vegetables.

Dare to Discipline

Sandra teaches this class designed to help parents lead their children through the tough job of growing up. This practical, reassuring class teaches parents how to meet their children’s needs of love, trust, affection and discipline.

Several clients have recently encountered Jesus in a profound “first love” experience. They are learning, growing, and walking out their faith through parenting and asking great questions. This has led to a follow-up discipleship class.

IPAK (Influential Parents Accountable Kids)

Pastor Mark does a great job of teaching IPAK, which is based on the Love and Logic parenting approach. Love and Logic is a process by which children grow through their mistakes and learn from the consequences of their choices. There are two basic rules in Love & Logic:

  1. Set firm limits in loving ways without anger, lecture, threats or repeated warnings.
  2. Set limits using enforceable statements, regard mistakes as learning opportunities, and resist the temptation to nag.

Joy is teaching a 13-week condensed version of our 22-week curriculum that covers the entire length and development of pregnancy, labor, delivery, birth, and breast/formula feeding. We celebrate and honor those in the class with a group baby shower on the last day of class. Those that qualify through attendance, can receive a crib or car seat. Bridgehaven is very pleased to be able to offer this level of gift made possible through a grant.

Baby Basics

This 8-week course led by Cindy goes through a baby’s first 12 months of life including social, physical, and emotional developments. Topics include: teething and colic, when to introduce foods, sleep, and home safety, infant massage and sign language. A guest sleep consultant shares helpful practices to help establish routines.

Conversational English

This course is for international clients who desire to learn the written and spoken English language. Our instructor, Shawna, uses creative means to demonstrate and teach American culture as well as learn customs, values, social situations, history and holidays.


English as a second language is for our Hispanic clients. Lilana teaches the written and spoken English language and also teaches a bible study in Spanish.

Clients in both ESL and Conversational English have graduated and are employed!

Dawn Michaels

Dawn Michael

Director of Client Support

“Be a Blessing Project” Report

We had a great outcome for the 2016 “Be a Blessing Project.” Let’s continue the momentum with prayer!

Client Support and those associated and connected with Bridgehaven have been planning, preparing, and praying for our “Be a Blessing Project” for several months. The “Be a Blessing Project” was our annual back to school supply drive, which we held on Wednesday August 10th. We collected basic school supplies for those entering kindergarten through high school.

We had a great turn out and enjoyed the privilege of witnessing firsthand the level of impact on lives.

“For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands.” Deuteronomy 2:7

Overall, we served 46 families and a total of 102 kids for the 2016-17 school year! We had a total of 13 faithful volunteers share their gifts of organization, compassion, gentleness, and support during this influential event. What a joyful impact of Kingdom legacy!

Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers! 1 Chronicles 12:18

The clients that participated in the “Be a Blessing Project” commented on how thankful they were for the school supplies. They also took away much more than physical goods. Clients experienced and encountered sincere love, kindness, and peace from the ministry volunteers, as well as from each other. I saw volunteer clerks shine as beams of light, radiating the love and presence of Jesus, as they helped ease anxiety and fear by supporting and coming alongside clients through practical means offering spiritual and emotional support. Smiles, hugs, thanksgiving, appreciation, and excitement filled the atmosphere of Client Support, as people came together, united on a Kingdom mission.

As these children have already started the school year, may we keep them lifted and covered in prayer. I believe God is desiring to raise up a powerful generation that will be filled with His Spirit. I encourage you to continue this momentum of Kingdom goodness by joining me in praying over children and declaring the promises of God into their lives.

My personal prayer over this generation of children and youth is this:

“May all children be filled with the Spirit of God; with skill, ability, and know-how, according to God’s will for their lives. May they exercise these gifts and abilities for the building up and expansion of the Kingdom of God. May their God-given influence cross cultural and secular barriers and break through to new levels and lands of promise that have not happened in the past. May they grow and be raised up, like Samuel, in the presence of the Lord and articulate to leaders; God’s direction, heart, and wisdom in all matters. May God give them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom along with the ability and desire to understand, problem-solve, and interpret mysteries and complex manners. May all children and youth be of righteous character and demonstrate goodness to the oppressed and abide in peace in the midst of unsettling times.”

7 Prayers to Say for your Children

Here are powerful communication tools for the journey of engagement, learning, and connection with children. I pray these conversation starters will open up opportunities for parents and leaders to lay a biblical foundation and application for children. May these tools also aid in relationship building, adding enrichment in conversation, and help lead the way for knowledge, awareness, and reflection.

Questions to ask Kids

Thank you to everyone who has, and is, contributing goodness, prayers, time, money, resources, and service to make this love project happen at such a level of Kingdom success and love!

As one body, united!

Dawn Michaels

Dawn Michael

Director of Client Support

Be A Blessing Project

blessing project
God cares about the process of preparation and learning and the impact of giving. Genesis 12:2 highlights a covenant promise of God; blessing us so that we share the blessing covenant with others.

We are preparing for the Back to School season. In a short time, advertisers will start promoting the latest school fashions and shopping centers will have local school lists on display. This preparation season, leading up to the start of a new school year, can be met with excitement or discouragement. Factors including finances, stress, routines, deadlines, and relationships can affect the level of enthusiasm or discouragement experienced by many families.

In the past decade, a legacy of support, encouragement and provision has enriched the lives of parents and children heading back to school for those in our Earn While You Learn program. Bridgehaven Client Support collects donated basic school supplies to support our active clients in the Earn While You Learn program.

Last year, it cost an elementary student an average of $649, middle schooler, $941, and high schooler, $1402, for school supplies and extracurricular items. The desired outcome and prayer for this Blessing Project is to ease the financial burden and stress for families, to promote community connectedness and establish Kingdom demonstrations of God’s goodness. One current client shares her testimony of the financial burden that is lifted from her shoulders, as she knows that Bridgehaven can help her family be prepared and equipped for school.

In 2015, Client Support was blessed abundantly with donations that allowed us to serve all of our clients that signed up for the distribution which included 54 moms and 117 kids. A majority of the children blessed were in elementary, which is the academic age where children begin to dream of their futures and see themselves equipped for their future callings.

Last year, we even had an unexpected donation of a graphing calculator. We held a drawing for the calculator which was open to eligible high school students that had a need. The family that received the calculator was abundantly blessed and thankful for this timely and unexpected gift! The mom of the high school student who received the calculator, shared that she is very thankful for all that Bridgehaven does; if it wasn’t for that gift, her son would have gone without a proper calculator. But with this provision, he was able to be focused on learning with no fear of lack or ridicule from peers. That act of love demonstrates the level of impact and support that flows in and out of Bridgehaven.

Another level of impact of this Blessing Project is the volunteer service in making this project possible. Last year, 6 volunteers logged 11 hours of service that included: set up, organizing, pre-packaging, shopping and tear down. This level of service does not go unnoticed at Bridgehaven or from our Father who ranges His eyes to and fro over His people (2 Chronicles 16:9). My desire is for all children to be burden-free and confident in knowing all of their needs will be met according to God’s glory and riches! This is an element of establishing Kingdom demonstrations of God’s goodness and covenant, as people are moved in radical love and show others that Love looks like something tangible.

If you would like to contribute to the love legacy for the 2016-2017 school year, please bring donations to Client Support at Bridgehaven by 3:00pm on Friday August 5th. Click here for a list of the basic school supplies needed for the 2016-2017 school year.

Dawn Michaels

Dawn Michael

Director of Client Support

Enlarging Our Territory

client support

“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me…”
1 Chronicles 4:10

We have been in our new Client Support area (former Treasures Store space) since the end of February 2016. One of our goals with this remodel was to improve our client experience. Now that we have several months in this new space and are settled, we asked our volunteers for feedback on the changes that have been made.

Q. Share some personal insight on the new Client Support space.

  • “We certainly put our best foot forward for our clients and I believe that pleases God.”
  • “Clients love it, we love it! We love the look, decorations, and rooted tree.”
  • “Love the new improved space! Storage space is an improvement, room for more and ease of use.”
  • “I like the window for natural sunlight and to see the clients come so we can help at the door.”
  • “We do “let our little light shine” and we surely “don’t hide it under a bushel.”
  • “The more I make their shopping personable, the more they appreciate and give back smiles.”

Q. How do you see the expanded space has improved our ministry?

  • “Clients have more space to be able to shop for their families more effectively. Providing such a nice space shows the clients respect, which in turn promotes appreciation and more interest in what we have to offer.”
  • “All materials are easy to see and find.”
  • “It is more open and more accommodating for clients. We are able to stock more and provide more food options. All this and His loving care and education they receive from our support staff/instructors encourage them to invite their friends and family.”
  • “It looks more like a convenience store…come and see.”
  • “The positive feedback from staff, volunteers, and clients is a testimony of what God is doing thru Bridgehaven. For the staff and volunteers, the new space has allowed us to better serve the women.”
  • “Volunteers and clients don’t feel so cramped and it makes it so much easier to serve the clients. It is a more positive experience for them.”
  • “It has helped incredibly! We love the new space and extra room for storing all our food and specialty items.”
  • “More efficient, welcoming space, attractive, less stress for volunteers, staff, and clients. Clients don’t have to wait as long for their turn to shop, hence less time out of their day. We are able to receive more donations.”

Q. Where do you see God leading Client Support?

  • “He is using the ministry to reach more and more people. They learn from the classes and are helped with their needs.”
  • “Opening new doors, allowing Bridgehaven to expand our current outreach.”
  • “I see growth for clients and an increase of blessings on them and on Cedar Rapids. We are bathed in prayer and sustained by His people.”
  • “To support, influence, and partner with greater number of families in our community for healing (spiritually and physically) as we personally pray with clients each week. I believe God is touching hearts as He feeds them and their children, as He relieves financial stress from their lives, and as they feel our love for each of them; individually caring about them as a person not as a project.”
  • “I see no end to what God can do for Client Support. The ministry is genuine and I can see the clients from week to week grow in their spiritual lives and share stories of what is going on in their life.”

Q. What have you seen that has caused you to praise God?


  • “I’ve seen friendship and smiles among clients grow.”
  • “I’ve been blessed by the clients and it’s been my privilege to serve them. It was so neat when the new area was opened to see the reaction of the clients. It was like seeing “Disney” for the first time.”
  • “I helped a client pray for her father-in-law.”
  • “I love seeing how God provides so much for this ministry. Blessed to be a part of this!”
  • “Praise the Lord, a client mentioned a fellow classmate was having difficulty and was looking out for her!”
  • “It’s thrilling when an instructor lets us know a client has trusted Jesus. Her salvation and family being led by her is truly a blessing.”
  • “Clients tell us thank you over and over. They are happy for the things they receive and happy to see us each week. I was gone one week and they noticed it and said they missed me. It is amazing the donations we receive from stores and individuals.”
  • “I love being able to pray with clients…some have had accidents at work and need physical healing…some have worries and concerns about finances…some just want to feel others care about their family/situation and they aren’t alone…Jesus is healing them and I get to be a part of that…so cool!”
  • “I see the women conversing with each other more in this space then I did before. I have also been able to have conversations differently; feels more welcoming, inviting, and loving.”
  • “When moms who’ve recently had a baby and have been referred to Bridgehaven for a layette, arrive to pick it up, they are intrigued about the “store.” They will comment about it and that opens the door to explaining that they too can “shop” once a week, as they take classes. That leads them to ask questions about class topics/options which usually elicits an amazed response about the wide variety offered. And that is how God directs some of our clients to us!”

We praise God for this new area and the blessing it has been to both clients and volunteers. We thank our donors who have made this possible.

Dawn Michaels

Dawn Michael

Director of Client Support