Archives for Dawn M.

Carolyn’s Story

“I call Him the Risen King because He is alive!” – Carolyn.

I have the privilege of knowing Carolyn for 7 months now, she is a part of the Earn While You Learn program at Bridgehaven. Carolyn is a single mother of 3 children and a lover of Jesus! Carolyn experienced a life-threatening situation this summer; she clearly understands and communicates she is alive and well because of God’s faithfulness. She feels like she has been given a second chance at life and she is taking every opportunity to proclaim and share her story with others. Upon recovery, Carolyn shared her testimony with me of what the Lord brought her through. During our time together, I was moved with compassion, my faith rose, and God’s faithfulness swept over Carolyn and I as she shared her testimony detail by detail! All I could do or proclaim was, “Wow, God, You are beyond good and so worthy of our worship!”

I knew Carolyn’s testimony needed to be shared and released! It is with honor and gratefulness that I introduce you to Carolyn, a woman of God that worships the King of Kings!

“Worship is an it-is-well-with-my-soul experience.” – Robert Webber

Dawn Michaels

Dawn Michael

Director of Client Support

Freely Given


It’s achingly important to me to share the Good News to others that have not heard of the amazing love story of Jesus; His unfailing Love and Creative Authorship over our lives. It’s equally valuable to me to share those authorship stories of victory and personal walks with Jesus with the Body of Christ. I want to introduce you to a woman who is pursuing Jesus and allowing Jesus to pursue her wildly. In her own words, she briefly shares her journey with Jesus and Bridgehaven.

I pray her story edifies, exhorts, comforts you and brings endless glory to our King and Savior. For He is worthy!

Edify: to build up, to strengthen
Exhort: to stimulate, to encourage, to admonish
Comfort: to cheer up

(Dawn) Q: Will you share about your family?
(Client) A: “Our family of five consists of me, my significant other, our five-year old son, and our three-year-old and four-month-old daughters. We have one income so our budget is considerably tight. Bridgehaven helps us make ends meet.”
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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.
Prenatal

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.

ESL

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