Columbia, Maryland

My daughter, Jill, was 3 years old when we started coming to Bridgeway. We had recently adopted her and her older sister, and we were adjusting to the joys and challenges of our new family together.

Ms. Gale, Jill’s Shepherd in the Preschool Room, was one of the first people I opened up to about some of Jill’s developmental delays, childhood difficulties, and extra needs. She was wonderful and engaged our family with nothing but understanding and love. Ms. Gale worked with us and with Jill, and together we watched our daughter flourish in BridgeKids. To have Jill in this type of setting was paramount for her growth, development, and socialization.

BridgeKids has been wonderful for our children. They are learning about God in age-appropriate ways, and the teachers use art and other creative approaches to bring the Word of God alive for the kids. All week long, our girls talk with excitement about the lessons they learned on Sunday.

Jill is now five, and has received so much valuable help and support. We have witnessed tremendous growth! After years of language delays, she now speaks without being prompted or coached. And she is learning to make good choices and communicate without anger or violence.

Still, she has had a tough year in school. She has been singled out by her teacher and excluded from group activities. After a particularly difficult day at school, Jill asked me, “Mommy, am I a good girl? I can be good, right?” My heart broke, and I prayed for wisdom to guide my daughters and affirm their value in the eyes of God.

But while Jill has felt isolated and ostracized at school, church has been a completely different story. At BridgeKids, no one ever tells her she don’t belong or that she can’t do what her peers are doing. In fact, they expect it! The bar is high, but when Jill doesn’t reach it, they lovingly encourage her to do better next time. Jill has never felt unwelcome or unacceptable at BridgeKids. In fact, our girls cheer on Saturdays because they know church is tomorrow!

This kind of safe space for our children has been a priceless gift to us as parents. God led us to Bridgeway at the perfect time. This community has made space not only for our girls, but for our whole family to thrive. We are so grateful!