A Church-Based Approach to Ending Family Homelessness

A birthday party changed how I felt about myself

Today I am a changed woman. I think back to when I first called Bridge of Hope Lancaster & Chester Counties (PA). I was crying because I was nine months pregnant, unhappy in a relationship, and uncertain of how I was going to care for my unborn child. 

Also, I was distraught because I couldn’t understand how I could have been so naive as to get into this situation again. I should have been smarter than having my first two children out of wedlock. The staff’s testimony that day is one I will never forget. She opened my eyes to realize I didn’t need to miss my purpose in life. To me this was love. 

My mentors started in September, my birthday month. For years my birthday just came and went, to the point that it was just another day. But not this year. It was the most special day—I cried tears of joy inside. My mentors made that day so special from the lavish decorations to the gifts. They cooked and there was a cake. I hadn’t had one since childhood. It was truly a blessing. From that day, I started to see myself as special.

I’ve learned a lot working with the Bridge of Hope staff.  They taught me budgeting and how to access community resources. They also showed me how to organize my home and create new traditions that we could do as a family. We worked on organizing household rules, setting limits and sticking to them. 

For me everything just seemed to be working together so well at that time in my life. Even though there were several ups and downs, I learned how to press through. I quote Ecclesiastes and say it was my season! And I am truly thankful for everyone who participated in this journey with my family.

I came up with this quote to summarize my experience: “Hope is a good thing” and no one is ever too old to have a dream. If you are passionate enough, you can achieve your goal. Don’t let anyone stand in the way of the “bridge” that’s going to get you there. 

This woman graduated in 2009 and was mentored by Brightside Baptist Church, Lancaster.

From the Winter 2010 newsletter of Bridge of Hope Lancaster & Chester Counties (PA)