I don’t believe in coincidences. I’m writing and giving this speech around father’s day. And I didn’t have an earthly father growing up. All I had was our heavenly father. Not having a father is part of the reason I took the path I did. . . .for more click here
First I wanna say, words could never express how truly grateful I am for this opportunity. I didn’t have the easiest childhood. I’ve been on my own since I was 14, trying to survive through people and poverty-stricken situations and unsafe “homes.” For more . . . .
Hi, my name is Ellie Mae Cagle. I am a single mom of a seven-year-old boy. Before starting bridges, I was living in a low-income apartment. I was getting food assistance, free health coverage, and help with child care expenses. For More . . . .
I grew up in poverty with my family. Although I was in and out of different foster homes that were in the middle class area. But, I switched back and forth form foster care, back to my mother more times than I can think about it. For More . . .
Many people know me as the loud sarcastic, confident woman you see standing here today. But, don’t let my appearance fool you. I have not always lived this awesome version of myself. Three and a half years ago, right before starting Bridges, I was a mess. For more . . .
Getting ahead has been a total game changer for me. Before I started the class, I was living in a site house for people wiht disabilities. I suffer from severe social anxiety and horrible depression. I was jobless and had a failing relationship with my kids. For more . . . .
I come from a generation of poverty but I didn’t realize it because love reigned over any circumstance. Whether the lights were cut off or just enough food to eat, we made do and we were so happy except when other family problems. For more . . . .
Anne: She is a single momma of 4, who when she came to us unable to find a job. Through Bridges, she was able to find work and maintained that position for a long period of time. Then, she was able to find a better paying job – one that worked better with her schedule. We were able to help her overcome barriers in employment, because she had a background from when she was younger that kept her from finding work. We helped her to find services for her kiddos through counseling and BHIS. Her kids are doing so well. She is thriving. She has gotten off housing assistance and recently just purchased her own home.
Heidi, a single mom employed at a hotel as cleaning staff, she has learned a lot and the hidden rules have helped her a lot in her work. She stated that the support she gets from the class and the people of bridges has been the most helpful; she stated” it is a bright spot in her life”. We are working with her on getting enrolled in HISET classes. She is set up for orientation for HISET classes this week. Heidi has recently bought her own house and moved out of section 8 housing. * Heidi is still working on Hiset has been in her own home for three years now.
Dave just recently started a new job, he really lacked the confidence in the beginning of class but, he stated through the workshop he gained confidence and pursued another job. And got it!!
Helen a single mom with a teenage daughter and her newborn took the Getting Ahead class and has stated that she didn’t think she had all this in her and now she can achieve any goal she has no matter what it is, through hard work and resources. She was working as a parent partner and since she has taken the class she showed some interest in becoming a day care provider as an income source and to take care of her grandson. I was able to connect her with the right folks and they came in and met with her and she has finished the application and is just waiting for approval. I have also connected her with a couple day care providers in this area that can mentor her in how they run their businesses and give her tips and insights to help her on her way. We have helped Helen through the Community Closet, helped her daughter in getting connected to resources for baby. UPDATE*** Helen did receive certification to be an in home provider, received first aid, CPR training, she is able to earn an income and help take care of her grandchild.
Jeanine is an older student trying to return to the workforce after many years finding her education had become irrelevant, she has some disability issues. She has become more confident through the workshop and has even spoke in public which was really out of her comfort zone. She said she has learned a lot about herself and found she has some great resources within herself through this class. She has enrolled in classes and is doing well in it. She stated this Getting Ahead Workshop gave her confidence that she could pursue her education. She is building her emotional resources through counseling.
R is a retired vet, and was very impressed on what he learned about poverty, he was military all his life and middle class. This has been an eye opening workshop for him. R is the main caregiver for his wife and mother, we were able to get him connected to some community resources, and he has taken part in the share meal program through the community closet. UPDATE***we were able to help Rusty through a local resource to find employment.
Dorothy is a single mom, she has greatly appreciated the support and the curriculum she said the hands on approach was very helpful. We have been able to help Dorothy with getting into other Young House programs that are helping her and her daughter deal with issues at school.UPDATE***Dorthy was able to move into a safer neighborhood and has really made great relationship with her staying Ahead partner!
Chris is a single dad who has had a rocky relationship with his kid’s mom. He has three young boys. When he started this class he was homeless living in his car. We helped him find safe housing. He now has custody of his boys and we help him and his wife as they are learning to co parent in a healthy way. He has a stable job and we have helped him in mediating on the job site through some struggles he has had. We have been able to help the kids as they have been through a rough year with the separation and emotional drama through our PATHS program.
Jon has some disabilities that have made it hard for him to keep a job. He was living in a camper when he started with us. He also had very few healthy relationships, and no support. We have been able to help him get into housing, and help him get pointed in the right direction to other resources in the community that can help him and help his future. He has gained a lot of support through the Bridges program. His Staying Ahead partner regularly meets with him and is a huge support and help as he overcomes barriers that keep him stuck. He is working with several of our professional partners developing future plans and skills that will help him in his future.
Keneesha came to us in the middle of a trial for a felony charge. We were able to help support her through the trial helping her with advocating for herself, and getting feedback from the lawyer and other legal advisors so she could understand her rights and what her choices were and how they would affect her. She started doing things right away that would help her build emotional resources , she took anger management classes, started counseling. She gained a lot of support through her class and her Staying Ahead team, she was able to start college and get a job mentoring youth in the Corners academy, then was offered a higher paying full time position that allowed her to continue school and make money to pay for it. She has shared her story at several events.