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A Few Numbers, and Many of Your Words

Last year was another record-breaking year at Bridges of Hope. In 2013, we received referrals, calls & requests for help from 2,896 households! Part of my role at Bridges is to crunch the numbers, which I realize doesn’t necessarily sound all that fun or exciting, but I really do enjoy it because of what it can tell us about our services to the community. For example: of the 2,896 households we were in contact with last year…

  1. The majority (78%) were for help with resources through our Resource Connection Services (help with housing, transportation, utlities, etc).

  2. Childcare Services (Respite & Crisis Nursery) comprised another 14% of households.

  3. Family Support Services (Intensive In-Home Services, the Parent Support Outreach Program, and the Teen Parent Outreach Program) made up 7% of the households.

  4. Mentoring Services (Side by Side) was the final, very tiny less-than-1%.

  5. Our mission is focused on serving families, and 68% of the households were part of our target service population (families, parents, “children” 0-21 and those who care for them). We continue to offer connections to resources for those who are not part of this population.

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Unfortunately, but understandably, most  households (~63%) who contacted Bridges for help were living at or below 100% of poverty, which was an annual income of $23,550 for a family of four in 2013. Another 30% were living between 101% and 200% of poverty (this is an annual income was $47,100 for a family of four).

Another rather astonishing set of numbers is those reporting physical and mental health concerns for at least one of the members of the household: 41% of households report a mental health concern, issue, or diagnosis;  14% report a physical health concern or disability; and 23% report both concerns! We know that these numbers aren’t based off of physical or clinician diagnoses, but they DO mean that people are clearly struggling in our community, when they’re willing to self-report concerns to these extents.

Despite these somewhat sobering statistics, thanks to the richness of resources in the Lakes Area, we were able to suggest viable solutions, resources, and/or practical ideas for 92% of the households. (Another 4% didn’t stay in contact with us, we screened out 2% as inappropriate, and we were unable to find resources for 2% of the households.) On the whole, that is great, great news!

And one final number: working with 2,896 households represents a somewhat incomprehensible 2,274% increase from our first year of operation, 2002, when we served just 122 households the entire year. (These days, we serve more than that in a single month–in fact, as of January 28, the day before I wrote this post, we had served exactly 122 households so far in 2014!)

Part of our programming includes following up with those we worked with, to make sure we’re providing services that are truly helpful–and if not–what we can do to modify our programs for the future. While this feels a little bit like tooting our own horn, I really wanted to share some of the great things our staff hear from those we follow up with–because our clients are really the ones that matter in this equation. Bridges was founded to bridge the gap between those in need and those with the resources–all of YOU…so, in no particular order, here is a sampling of some of the feedback we received from our clients In 2013:

  1. Everyone was really helpful.

  2. You guys are awesome!

  3. I know I can call you anytime. I’ve learned so much from you; thank you!

  4. Everyone thinks very highly of you!

  5. It was very helpful. I appreciate you and would call Bridges again in the future.

  6. The service was excellent. Thank you very much!

  7. I very much appreciate you being so kind and not making me feel like I wasn’t important!

  8. I don’t know what I would have done without you.

  9. You’re most helpful and very kind.

  10. If I ever come into a bunch of money, I’m donating to you for all your help over the last 3 years.

  11. Thank you for listening and helping in our time of need.

  12. I asked for parenting tips and I got a lot of good ideas.

  13. The things I got through Salem are really making this house a home.

  14. You guys always do the best you can and I appreciate it!

  15. This isn’t the first time Bridges has given me hope!

  16. You made me feel confident even though I had no confidence.

In addition to making sure our client’s situation was resolved, we ask them to give us a rating on the quality of services from Bridges, on a scale from 1-5:

  1. A 10! You guys are awesome! I don’t know what I’d do without you.

  2. I would give you a 6!

  3. Definitely a 5!

  4. I’d give you a 6 for calling back to follow up.

  5. I’d give you guys a 20!

  6. 5 + + +

  7. I’d give Bridges a 10 on a scale of 1-5!

  8. [And my personal favorite:] Bridges of Hope is beyond a 5; you are Phi-nominal.

Thank you for the very positive feedback, as well as for all of the very the helpful and constructive feedback you give us, because it is what enables us to serve our community in ever-better, more transformative ways. Thank you to our many community partners that work alongside us every day to help our community become a better place to live. And finally, thank you to our many, many donors and funders who enable us to DO this very important work. It is ALL OF YOU who deserve the greatest praise. We are looking forward to another great year at Bridges of Hope–thanks to you!

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