A Church-Based Approach to Ending Family Homelessness

Busy mentor & mother of 4 says “everyone wins”

With four children—the youngest age 2—Jennifer Gorski of South Bend (Indiana) has long, full days.  “Sometimes I wake up and wonder how I’ll make it all work,” says Gorski.  “But God has shown that I can be available when others need me.  It’s like he’s given me more time in my day; it just works.”

As a Bridge of Hope mentor to Leslie, Jennifer serves as a sounding board and reliable friend—something Leslie hasn’t experienced before Bridge of Hope.  Jennifer’s contributions to Leslie’s day can run the gamut from offering advice to babysitting for Leslie’s daughter Augusta or giving Leslie a ride to work.  “Leslie will text me and ask, ‘What do you do about this?’ or ‘How would you handle that?’  I don’t give my opinion unless she asks.  When I do, I hope it calms her anxiety and helps her in some way.  That’s how I am with all of my friends.”

Jennifer is just one of 14 mentors from Riverside Church who have stepped up to support Leslie through 18-24 months of mentoring and intensive case management from the Bridge of Hope Program Director.  Jennifer explains,  “The team approach to mentoring is such a great idea.  Leslie needs to hear from a variety of people with differing approaches and perspectives.  It will help her make her own wise decisions.  I was a struggling single mom for a long time, so I have that perspective.”

Jennifer has enjoyed her mentoring experience so far, and believes Leslie is an ideal mentee.  “She’s a really neat person.  She’s smart and eager to do what’s right, and is open to being mentored.  She’s even been coming to church at Riverside every week.  Everyone—Leslie, the mentors, and our church congregation—wins.”

Adds Jennifer, “We’re a family without a lot of money and I don’t always think I have the ability to give, but God has made me realize that time and love are my contributions.  That’s what I have to give.”

from Bridge of Hope @ Hannah’s House (IN)