Client Stories

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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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

Receiving back

When I began praying and planning to enter the non-profit sphere, my motivation was simple: I wanted to help people. This is probably a strong motivator for most people who get involved in a non-profit organization. However, now that I have some on the job experience, I can say that there is so much more value to working in a non-profit than just “helping people.”

Bridgehaven: receiving back quoteIf I could say one thing to my aspiring college self, it would be, “You will give a lot. You will share a lot of love. But what you can offer and give will never come close to what you will receive back.”

What I didn’t realize my first day on the job at Bridgehaven was how much I would be inspired by our clients – by their strength, by their hope during difficult circumstances, and by their faith. What I have the incredible privilege of doing each week is meeting women (and men now too) who are incredibly strong. Individuals who have faced trials and obstacles that I have never had to face, and yet, they keep their eyes focused on a bright future for their families and continue to make strides towards achieving their goals.
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