North Central Iowa

A Church-Based Approach to Ending Family Homelessness

Once Homeless, Ten Years Later- a Lasting Impact

Bridge of Hope graduate

Shadell Quinones, L.S.W., M.S. S. is a board member of Bridge of Hope National.  Ten years ago, she and her daughter entered Bridge of Hope from a shelter for homeless women and children.

Shadell explains,  ”When I entered Bridge of Hope 10 years ago, I was so broken. I was broken emotionally and just mentally beaten down from life experiences. Looking back on that time, I see that God loved me – through my Bridge of Hope mentors – back to wholeness.

So much has happened in my world and in my life since my time in Bridge of Hope!  I went back to school and in 2004 I graduated from Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research.  It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, but I did it!  I’m blessed and fortunate to be working at the same organization that hired me when I entered Bridge of Hope.  I’m now an adoption supervisor there.

When I entered Bridge of Hope, budgeting was a big challenge.  But today, I call myself the ‘Budget Queen’!  I follow a strict budget – every time I’m paid, I consult my budgeting notebook prior to spending money.  I could give a seminar!  I’ve also helped others – my family members, my best friend.  Where budgeting was the biggest bone of contention for me in the beginning, it is so priceless to my life now.

I’ll always remember my Bridge of Hope mentoring group friends from Forks of the Brandywine Presbyterian Church.  Friendship is so important to me and remains important to me.  I went through some life tragedies, including losing my brother, and my mentors were right there.  When I graduated from graduate school, they were there.  They were with me through some of the most trying times in my life and then some of the most joyful times, too.

I would have never dreamed that I would become homeless.  Today, I think of the women and their families that undergirded me and my daughter during that season in my life.  That will always be a part of my story and a part of my journey.  Through my experience, my faith has just soared.  I carry that hope – that greater hope and greater faith – with me in every aspect of my life.  And that is a lasting impact that I take away from the Bridge of Hope program.”

Shadell is a graduate of Bridge of Hope Lancaster & Chester Counties (PA).