To combat the family homelessness crisis, Bridge Communities is planning its 10th annual Sleep Out Saturday, a county-wide event to raise money for housing programs and awareness of family homelessness in DuPage County.
In the 2012-2013 school year, 1,287 homeless students attended DuPage County schools.
“People often don’t realize that there are homeless families and children in our area,” says Mark Milligan, co-founder and current president of Bridge Communities. “But we help many families who had a life trauma like illness or unemployment that threw them into poverty.”
On Saturday, November 2, approximately 2,000 DuPage residents will sleep outside during Sleep Out Saturday. This year’s event, themed “Make Your World a Better Place,” will feature approximately 75 outdoor sleep out sites in DuPage yards and parking lots, with adults and students sleeping in boxes, tents and cars.
The 25-year-old organization is challenging every single “sleeper” to raise money to make the world a better place for a homeless family in the community.
Sleep Out Saturday will kick off with an outdoor rally hosted by NCB5 anchor Stephan Holt in downtown Glen Ellyn (505 Crescent Blvd.) at 7 pm. The free rally is open to the public and will feature music, video, and live testimonials from Bridge Communities clients.
Since its first event in 2003, 9,500 people have slept out to help homeless families, raising over $800,000 to date. Last year alone, Sleep Out Saturday raised over $130,000 for Bridge Communities’ Transitional Housing Program, which serves more than 120 families annually. The organization’s services provide approximately two years of housing, life-skills mentoring, financial counseling, employment training, tutoring and an auto repair and donation program. With client families having an even harder time maintaining employment and making ends meet, Bridge Communities continues to increase the services it provides.
This year, business leaders and young professionals are invited to participate in Business Leaders for Bridge. This executive chapter of Sleep Out Saturday gives business leaders the opportunity to align their values with their business by cross-promoting the event with their own business online and through specially designed signage and posters. Business Leaders for Bridge is being hosted by Naper Settlement, and participants are welcome to sleep out on the grounds of the living history museum located in downtown Naperville.
Everyone in DuPage County is invited to participate in Sleep Out Saturday or to make a contribution. For more information on Sleep Out Saturday, to participate, or to sponsor a “sleeper,” call (630) 545-0610 ext. 19 or visit www.SleepOutSaturday.org. Check out Sleep Out Saturday on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SleepOutForBridge.
About Bridge Communities Bridge Communities, Inc. is a dynamic, grassroots, nonprofit organization committed to transforming the lives of homeless families in DuPage County through partnering with talented, resourceful individuals and groups in our community. Its program of transitional housing, mentoring and supportive services empowers the families to increase life skills and earning power to promote self-sufficiency, sustain permanent housing, and to break the cycle of poverty within the family unit. What began by co-founders Mark Milligan and Bob Wahlgren when they decided, in 1988, to begin to help homeless families, has now become a powerful current of change in the lives of over 600 families.
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