Comments for a Cause: Bridging the Gap



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I am having to scramble a bit to get this post done but I know everyone is looking forward to the first of the month now just like I do every month.  I am a bit distracted this weekend by the festivities of Cory and Sam’s wedding but what a wonderful way to be distracted!!!  Best wishes to my son’s former roommate and his new wife!!!!

This past month has been a wonderful month to highlight a local group that is fundraising for a new facility that will house the local women and children who have found themselves homeless.   The New Beginnings House of Hope will be a reality soon and you have all been a part of helping to get it off the ground with your comments on It’s Just Life during August.  To read the entire post about this amazing outreach in Mason City please click here to go to a separate window.   We did a great job this month and Chris and I will be making a donation of $232 to the New Beginnings House of Hope.  Thank YOU!

bridges

In September it is kind of all about the kids again which seems fitting with school being in full swing and life getting back into the regular school schedule for many families.  My friend, Jeni, who blogs over at Jeni Eats, works at this amazing non-profit , Bridges Mentoring, in Osage as their Communications and Mentor Assistant.  Their mission is simply this:

 “to strengthen the self esteem and social skills of children and youth by providing positive mentoring relationships at no cost to the families.”

While it sounds simple it really isn’t all that simple to find and train volunteers to work with the children in Riceville, St. Ansgar & Osage school districts.  There is a lot that has to go into finding and training volunteers and also in keeping them excited about what they can do.   Anyone who has ever worked with volunteers understands this.

Photo provided by Lacey Waller

Photo provided by Lacey Waller

I asked Lacey Waller, Program Coordinator, a few questions about what Bridges Mentoring is all about and she graciously answered so please read more about what this great place does.

  1. What is your position at Bridges and how long have you worked there? How many employees are there at the facility?

My position at Bridges is the Program Coordinator. I started working at Bridges in May of 2014. Bridges has two part time employees, me (Lacey) the program Coordinator and Jeni the mentor specialist.

  1. How many mentors do you have currently? How many  active relationships do you have at any time ?  

We currently have 57 active mentor/mentee matches and it continues to rise. All of our relationships with our new mentors and past mentors are always active as we touch base when them on a regular basis. Just because they are no longer mentoring a child does not mean that they are not a part of Bridges. A lot of our past mentors still volunteer to help coordinate trainings/events and hosts our Marvelous Mentoring Meal fundraisers.

  1. What are some of the activities that mentors do with the kids?  One on one or larger events?

Some activities include, fishing, biking, going to the Cedar River Complex, arts and crafts, attending movies and the theater, going to their extracurricular activities, getting ice cream at the drive in, and riding horses.

Bridges usually has three or more larger events per year. The annual bowling night in February for all mentors/mentees and their families to attend. Educational trainings that include a wide variety of topics such as health and wellness, substance abuse etc, and then we have our Omelet breakfast in November.

  1. What is the time commitment for a volunteer?

The time commitment for a volunteer is to sign up to be a mentor for one year and meet with their mentee a minimum of 4 hours or more a month. Most mentors exceed that number and going close to 6 hours a month.

  1. What does someone need to do to become a volunteer?  Training provided?  

In order to become a mentoring volunteer, a candidate must fill out an application of intent to mentor, sign documents that allow Bridges to complete background checks, and participate in a individual or group training that focuses on mentoring, mandatory reporting, confidentiality, boundaries, expectations, etc. Once the training is completed Bridges staff does a home visit, were we conduct another interview. Then Bridges reviews the interview material and we try to match the mentor with the best mentee that suit both of their interests.

  1. What is your favorite thing about working at Bridges?  

Bridges has a very strong support system from the three communities we serve. I love the fact that people who are in our program are so thankful for the opportunity a mentor gives their children. I love to meet new people, give back to the community and coordinate and plan fun and educational events for our mentors/mentee/s and the community.

  1. What is your hope for Bridges in the next year?  

I hope to increase our mentor/mentee matches, offer more fun/educational trainings that have never been done before, and I want to see our new fundraiser Bricks for Bridges take off and raise a lot of money to sustain Bridges future.

My friend Jeni Flaa shows off her personalized brick from the Bridges Brick Fundraiser

My friend Jeni Flaa shows off her personalized brick from the Bridges Brick Fundraiser

Can you see why I am so very excited about this month’s Comments for a Cause?  I love that I can highlight a new organization or cause every month and let people know what opportunities there are out there for folks to volunteer their time and talents and to donate financially.  Don’t forget to comment often.  It does not have to be just on this post.  Any post on my blog written at any time is fair game.  With 6 1/2 years of blogging under my belt you have a truckload of posts you can comment on. Each legitimate comment (which means you actually read the post 🙂  ) will spur a 50 cent donation to Bridges Mentoring.  Sharing is caring so feel free to share with others.  Thanks, as always, for all of your support.

 

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Comments

  1. Another great cause, Beth! Imagine all the “good” these volunteers are doing for the children!

  2. I love that you do this! Another great cause. I will be attending the gala of the National Inclusion Project in Raleigh in a couple weeks! Check them out….they DO have a local connection. We finally got their Let’s All Play program in place at our local YMCA!!!

  3. Sounds like a great organization! How long have they been doing this? Or did I miss that in the interview?

    • I have been doing Comments for a Cause since April 2011 so we have highlighted a lot of great ones. My first one was for Parkinson’s Disease which affected my father and was the perfect way to kick this off. Thanks for stopping by!!! Oh I just re-read you question and you asked how long Bridges had been doing this!!! Doi. I need to go check on that!

  4. Mary@cishelps.org says:

    Thanks for raising awareness and supporting great programs in North Iowa!

  5. Beth Ann, you’re doing a great job selecting these causes to donate to. Yes, there are a LOT of people needing help these days, but you seem to pick out ones that are actually helping — well done!

  6. Good job on your comment donation for August! This sounds like a wonderful choice for September!

  7. Another perfect cause and one I am happy to support through your blog. What a great idea and I wish more schools would do this. The children are our future.

  8. Thank you so much for choosing Bridges as your cause. It is one fantastic program!

  9. We’re so honored you chose us as your September recipient. We have a small operating budget and this makes a huge difference:) Plus, we have a lot of fun activities and love to tell people about Bridges and the great things happening in Mitchell County.

  10. LeAnn Ginther says:

    Lacey is my daughter and she is very excited about this program Thank you for choosing them this month

  11. What a great cause!

  12. Bara Kellogg says:

    Bridges is a great resource for kids and families in Mitchell County….Lacey and Jeni are really making a difference…

  13. Sandy Evans says:

    Hi Beth, this sounds like a wonderful cause. There are so many children in the world who needs someone they can depend on to be there for them,even if it is only for a few hours a month. It can truly make a difference in a child’s life.

  14. Sandy Evans says:

    And thank you again for the time and love you showed all of us this weekend at the wedding. You are great and it is my pleasure to know you.

  15. Lacey Waller says:

    Thank you Beth for choosing Bridges, I am eager to read more of your posts. To answer. Precious question, Bridges Mentoring has been active in Mitchell County since 1999. It a great program and so many people are loyal and devotted to making a difference in life. We hear plenty of comments where mentors do not want to stop mentoring because it impacts their life just as much as the child’s. It is remarkable and so rewarding to so many. Thanks again Beth!

  16. Rhonda True says:

    What a wonderful program to support and your kindness and genorosity is over the top! People like you make this world a better place!

  17. “Bridging the Gap” is also a volunteer network nation wide to get people leaving addiction rehab hooked up with AA and NA rooms with a directory in their home towns.

  18. Love this month’s cause! What a great program!

  19. Love seeing Jeni and her personalized brick.. 🙂 I like the mentoring idea and I am always for kids getting to ride horses! Comments for August were GOOD!

  20. You’ve found another great cause, Beth Ann.

  21. I really like your new heading for Comments for a Cause, very classy looking. What are they going to do with the bricks? Or do people take them home? I don’t understand the concept of the bricks unless they are going to build something with them.

Trackbacks

  1. […] We’re honored that Beth chose us as the recipient of her blog’s September “Comments for a Cause.” […]

  2. […]  At the same time you will be helping with Comments for a Cause for Bridges Mentoring—-our Cause for September.  It is definitely a win win !   I will be announcing the winners to ALL of the giveaways on […]

  3. […] To enter to win a signed copy (Cecilia did me a solid and signed my copies!) of this book just leave a comment in the comment section why you would like to win a copy. That’s it. No big form to fill out.  No “liking” on Facebook or following on Twitter.  Just a comment. A winner will be chosen by random number generater and announced on October 2nd. The bonus is that your comment will also go to help fund our Comments for a Cause this month–Bridges Mentoring. […]

  4. […] To enter simply leave a comment in the comment section telling me what you might like to have made if you win! Easy, right?   I like no stress giveaways and that is what this one is.  One comment enters you into the giveaway.  Plus it means one more comment for our cause of the month —Bridges Mentoring. […]

  5. […] Please feel free to share with your friends by using the social media sharing buttons at the bottom of this post.  Remember that each comment will help our Comments for a Cause, Bridges Mentoring. […]

  6. […]  Check out Saturday’s post for the complete list and links to each day’s post.  Comments for a Cause for the month goes to Bridges Mentoring with a new cause ready to be announced on October 1st!!! Stay […]

  7. […] do all kinds of fabulous things connecting kids with mentors  and you can read about it more by clicking here to read what Lacy Waller, Program Coordinator,shared with us earlier.  I am thrilled to announce […]

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