Archives for Michelle S.

Prevention Services: A Moving Target

Bridgehaven Prevention Services Team

If you ask Trisha Sellers, Director of Prevention, to describe what they do, the first thing she’ll tell you is, “It’s a moving target.” This is why she and her team use the target visual (right) to help describe what they do.

Trisha and Prevention Assistant, Kelli Hansen, as Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) Specialists, reach the vast majority of students with their Sexual Risk Avoidance message in area middle and high schools. Certified in the REAL ESSENTIALS curriculum, they are actively teaching SRA for five to ten days in each school, ranging from fourth grade through high school seniors. One of the ten days in the classroom includes a visit from the Veracity Team, a peer-to-peer mentoring initiative led by Veracity Coordinator, Maureen Nolan. Maureen recruits and trains these high school and college volunteers, equipping them to talk about what it’s like to navigate life in high school and answer questions. All of this classroom work is made possible by Prevention Coordinator, Ashley Denker, who prepares materials, collects and inputs data, maintains records and keeps the team up-to-date with medical and culture research.
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Welcome Home


Clients who come to us facing a pregnancy decision are often experiencing a variety of personal situations. It is an opportunity for God to work in their lives and we have the privilege of seeing that happen.

On February 21, 2017, we sent out the following prayer request to our prayer list:

Please pray for a client who has recently moved here from out of state. She is pregnant and is currently in an unsafe living situation. Please pray God will guide her to the help she needs for her living situation and with this pregnancy.

While we were asking you to pray, the staff at Mary’s Inn, a maternity home in Dubuque, was asking God to send them residents.
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Learning Through Play

Godly Play in the classroom

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3).

Spirituality. Quiet. Worship. Sacred. Contemplation. These are not words normally associated with trying to teach children about God. But they embody the spirit of the new Godly Play curriculum that we are using in our Children’s Ministry program.

Bridgehaven’s mission of “empowering choices for life through Christ-centered education and support” is not just meant for parents. It is also our desire to share the truth and love of God with our client’s children. Godly Play teaches children to listen for God and to make authentic and creative responses to God’s call in their lives. We are working on incorporating this curriculum into our Children’s Ministry program for those 3 years and above.
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A Place to Heal

RV blog
Women facing a pregnancy decision choose abortion for many reasons; a child might complicate their lives and relationships, it is just not part of their plan for the future, or they are feeling strong emotions such as fear and shame (just to name a few). If she chooses to abort her child, often times there can be an initial sense of relief. She might feel as though she has solved her problem and life can go on. However, as time goes by, women, men and others involved with the decision can experience feelings of guilt, anxiety, emotional numbness and more. In many cases, years and years after the abortion, a person can still feel the effects and see the path of pain that has followed them throughout their lives. So many people experiencing this pain are silent. You would not know about the abortion from their past by looking at them or even getting to know them. There may not be anyone that knows and they are alone in their pain. Because there is often a reluctance to talk to anyone about what has happened, it makes it challenging to reach and help those who need healing.

Bridgehaven has offered Post-Abortion Support for many years with an eight-week class and one-on-one mentoring. We are now pleased to be offering our first Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend Retreat. “Once a post-abortive woman gets past the hurdle of allowing herself to seek healing, it can still be difficult for some to continue through a multi-week class,” explains Haley Brimmer, Bridgehaven Director of Client Advocacy. The weekend retreat provides an alternative that allows the person seeking healing to get away from the daily pressures of work and family to focus on a painful time in life and to begin healing.

Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats started in 1995 and today there are over 1000 retreats held worldwide. Bridgehaven will host a retreat at Prairiewoods in Hiawatha over the weekend of July 22-24. A Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat is a beautiful opportunity for any person who has struggled with the emotional or spiritual pain of abortion. Participants are led through a very intentional and spiritual process designed to help them experience the mercy and compassion of God. It is also an opportunity to surface and release repressed feelings of anger, shame, guilt and grief. If you or someone you love is hurting from an abortion, please call 319-364-8967 and ask for Haley or download our brochure to register.

Bridgehaven remodels to improve client experience and prepare for growth

remodelOn Tuesday, March 29, Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center is holding an Open House from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the public to tour its remodeled building at 701 Center Point Road NE in Cedar Rapids. The remodeled space will be ceremonially opened with a ribbon cutting by the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance at 4 p.m.

The remodel of Bridgehaven’s building was undertaken to utilize the 1,925 square foot area left vacant when the Treasures Quality Resale Shoppe moved out of the building to its new location at 405 8th Avenue SE.
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Noemi’s Story

Noemi moved to Cedar Rapids in 2012 to be near her sister. At the time, Noemi was a single mother with two children, struggling to make ends meet. While looking on the internet for community resources to help, she found Bridgehaven and signed up to take classes through the Earn While You Learn (EWYL) program.

EWYL is designed to provide parents with emotional, material, social and spiritual support. Classes covering a variety of life topics are available to men and women who are pregnant or parenting a child under 18. While attending classes, parents earn ongoing assistance of food, clothing, diapers, and formula to help alleviate financial pressures.
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Shelby’s Story

I came to Bridgehaven in the summer of 2013. A week prior, I had arrived home from a long-term mission trip in South America. To the surprise of hundreds of people awaiting my homecoming, I was 18 weeks pregnant. I had been raised in the church, and this was a very shameful situation. I was extremely broken when I walked through Bridgehaven’s doors; thinking I had already screwed up so much, I was unsure what I wanted to do with the pregnancy. Instead of judgement, I was met with such grace. Until then, I had felt like I needed to explain myself and make it make sense to everyone around me.

Bridgehaven asked me how I was doing, what I felt about the situation, and how this was impacting me in different areas of my life. The session with a Client Advocate and her praying with me was one of the most pivotal moments. I was given a free ultrasound in which I saw my child for the first time and found out I was carrying a girl. I was completely empowered to make my choice for life. Bridgehaven allowed Jesus to use them and their resources in my restoration. They supported me spiritually more than anything. Now, after celebrating my daughter Hope’s 2nd birthday, I am extremely thankful for their services and reflection of Christ’s love to every client, even me!

Shelby Alarconshelby_photo

Former Bridgehaven client

You are our Ambassadors

Martha Bruce, VolunteerMartha Bruce has been volunteering with Bridgehaven for 12 years. She started in 2003 as a Client Support Clerk and can be found there every other Wednesday afternoon distributing food and material assistance to clients who attend classes in our Earn While You Learn program.

Martha is a member of Oak Grove Church in Shellsburg. When she first heard about Bridgehaven’s Baby Bottle Boomerang campaign eight years ago, she thought the idea was silly. Others introduced it at Oak Grove, and when Martha saw how people embraced it, she became a supporter and now is the Ambassador.

In Awe (IA): Why do you think your church has participated in the Baby Bottle Boomerang each year?
Martha: It is simple to explain and is something parents can encourage their children to get involved with as well. I would encourage every church to give it a try as the response may surprise you, like it did me!
IA: How do you present the program to the church members?
Martha: We have our annual meeting in January or February. I announce the date for the Baby Bottle Boomerang at that meeting and invite everyone to participate. I also remind them what the donations will be used for and describe how it will help with the different programs at Bridgehaven. Then I set up a table on the Sunday that we kickoff the campaign so people can stop by and sign up to take a bottle home.
IA: How long does your Baby Bottle Boomerang campaign run?
Martha: We usually give people 3 to 4 weeks to pick up and bring back the baby bottle.
IA: How many people attend your church?
Martha: On average, we have around 160 in attendance each week.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us.
(2 Cor. 5:20a)

Thanks to Ambassadors like Martha and the generosity of church members, Bridgehaven’s 2015 Baby Bottle Boomerang has surpassed expectations, raising over $67,000.

The 2016 campaign begins January 17, 2016, Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, but you can kick-off any day throughout the year. If you are interested in serving as an Ambassador for your church, business, or small group, please email jessica@bridgehavencr.org or call 319-364-8967 to learn more and to schedule your launch date. We will provide you with everything you need to present this opportunity to your members and will even send a Bridgehaven representative to your church to speak about the ministry.