Client Stories

They Are Worth It

November has been a blur of activity in the Prevention Department! This month alone, we have presented more than 120 unique lessons with one common mission: promoting sexual integrity as a means to achieve the safest, healthiest life outcome possible.

And you know what? Sometimes it’s a difficult job. When you walk into a middle school classroom with a box full of stuffed animal STDs, you’re not usually met with applause. Some of the topics we cover in the classroom–as important as they are–can be awkward. (Pornography, anyone?)

However, along with the discomfort of discussing sperm, fallopian tubes, and STDs, our students are learning life skills they will need for the rest of their life. We teach topics like assertive communication, setting boundaries, making decisions, and cultivating healthy friendships, just to name a few.

One of the most rewarding parts of this job is hearing from our students. We received some encouraging feedback recently and wanted to share it with you. Knowing we are impacting young lives like these is truly what makes it all worthwhile. Enjoy!

“After you guys came in to talk to us I feel so much more confident on making big choices that I’m unsure about throughout my lifetime.” –Blair, 7th Grade

“I think the best and most awkward part was “REAL Differences” day. It was the best part because I think that this was the day that I finally understood my body and what it does once every month.” –Mia, 8th Grade

“I have learned more in 11 days than what I’ve ever thought I would. I had no clue that there was that many risks of sex. I had no clue that there was that many STDs out there. You are TRULY inspirations to me. I loved the class and not just for the candy. You’ve taught me more than any bucket of candy could.” – Parker, 7th Grade

“I learned that whether you want to or not, you should always set boundaries for yourself, and if your significant other can’t respect them, then they aren’t worth your time.” –Hadyn, 7th Grade

“In my opinion the best part of your being here was the lesson you taught us on pornography. I believe this was the best lesson because I feel that it is a very overlooked subject. Most people my age, including myself, really didn’t know the damage pornography could do to your physical and mental state.” –Ellie, 8th Grade

“I would have never thought of someone trying to kill themselves over a break-up. Now I know that in the future if I want to break up with someone, I will do it in person in a public place.” –Sophie, 8th Grade

“These are things that I will keep in my brain and use for the rest of my life to keep myself on a good path.” –Christian, 8th Grade

“I’ve learned a lot in your class, too much to handle.” –Austin, 8th Grade

“I don’t have a lot of friends, but I feel like you were mine. A close friend.” –Beau, 7th Grade

“I’m glad we’ve been given the opportunity to learn these things, and to do it with great teachers that I can tell really care about how we turn out and the choices we make. This program really helps me have hope for my future.” –Ali, 8th Grade

“What you taught me in the last two years is more important than any school has or ever will teach me.” –Quincy, 8th Grade

“I was a little uncomfortable at the beginning but then I learned that it’s a part of life and is something we needed to learn.” –Gabi, 7th Grade

“This class helped me make my decision to have abstinence until marriage. I think that with abstinence from sex is very important because it will make the healthiest outcome.” –Fiona, 8th Grade

“I didn’t just like this class because we got candy, I liked it because you guys took the time to get to know us and care to teach us.” –Landon, 7th Grade

“It made me think more about the ‘marriage before baby’ thing that my mom and dad enforce on me. I never asked about why, I always nodded along and said, ‘I know.’ I guess that you guys made me understand that more.” –Sara, 7th Grade

Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen

Prevention Assistant

Earn While You Learn: Class Update

Our Earn While You Learn class topics and desires continue to be focused on empowering families with truth, knowledge, emotional and spiritual support that point to the love and knowledge of Jesus. Our four foundational areas of growth are: parenting and family classes, relationship building, life skills and spiritual growth. How encouraging and rewarding that we are able to offer clients support that enrich and transform their lives!

Our exciting and abundant fall class line-up include several first-time classes along with classes that have been a part of the EWYL legacy for many seasons. Let me share with you…

Prenatal: Covers the entire length and development of pregnancy, labor, delivery, birth, breast/ formula feeding.

Baby Basics: Baby Basics teaches parents what to expect during their baby’s first 12 months of life: bonding, when to introduce foods, teething, physical and social developments, infant massage, sign language, safe ride and safe sleep practices, and swaddling.
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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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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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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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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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Loving the Fatherless

If we want to know more about our Creator, the best place we can look is in his Word. Reading through Scripture is a surefire way to decipher what God loves, what he cares about, and what he wants from us. When I read through my Bible, something jumps out at me very clearly: God has a special place in His heart for the fatherless. It is evident he places special focus on children who are not loved well by their earthly parents. Here are just a few examples:

  • “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:3-4)
  • “But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.” (Psalm 10:14)
  • “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)

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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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