Thanks for Giving: Young mom finds safe path through Bridges at Cedars
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Thanks for Giving: Young mom finds safe path through Bridges at Cedars

Kaylee Brinton

Kaylee Brinton and her sons, John, 3, and Caden, 1, have found housing through the Bridges program operated by Cedars Youth Services.

Kaylee Brinton needed a bridge to cross safely from life at a homeless shelter to a stable, more permanent environment for her and her two young sons.

She found community-based housing, a comforting shoulder and a link to community services through the Bridges program at Cedars Youth Services, which helps young adults and families such as Brinton’s find more permanency in their housing and in their lives.

Eight months ago, Brinton and her two sons, John and Caden, now 3 and 1, respectively, secured a temporary roof over their heads at the People’s City Mission. A recommendation from another agency eventually led Brinton and her boys to Cedars and its transitional programs serving the homeless and near-homeless, pregnant or parenting young people, ages 17-24.

Bridges offers safe housing and supportive services, with an emphasis on continuing education and achieving or maintaining employment, with a goal of transitioning young people to independent living.

Meeting the qualifications for Cedars’ transitional housing program, Brinton moved into a two-bedroom apartment in Lincoln in July. It’s a new lease on life for the young family.

Brinton was pregnant and dropped out in 2016 during her senior year at Wilber-Clatonia High School. Fast forward three years to Monday, when Brinton began classes in pursuit of her GED at the Lincoln campus of Southeast Community College. Hoping to have a high school diploma in hand by next summer, she says her long-range plans call for becoming a sign-language instructor.

The young family lives rent-free and has utilities paid, at least on a temporary basis, as Brinton works toward her independence, thanks to a grant Cedars received for its Bridges program. “It’s all about creating a safe path that eventually leads to independent living,” said Jim Blue, president at Cedars.

“We also provide a partner to help with schoolwork, provide counseling and to help them learn the skills they need to live independently, like budgeting and maintaining a household,” Blue said.

Cedars, founded in 1947, helps children and youth achieve safety, stability, and enduring family relationships through a continuum of services providing safe housing and by offering programs designed to help keep families together and to make them stronger.

“I’m very grateful for Cedars,” said Brinton, who juggles her class schedule at SCC with a part-time job working at the Subway at the Nebraska Union.

Brinton's household income is limited. The family draws from Aid to Dependent Children, a statewide program that provides cash assistance to low-income families with minor children, and Brinton’s part-time job. Her mother and Brinton’s fiancé, David, also help out.

The area under their Christmas tree could use a few gifts. The boys need clothing (3T and 4T for John, 12-18 months for Caden, and size 6 diapers) and would enjoy a few toys. They’re big fans of Paw Patrol and Elmo. Brinton relies on the bus to get around and could use a women’s bicycle, as well as gift cards for groceries or household items. If you can help, contact Tina Reeves at Cedars, or 402-904-3261.

Lincoln-area residents who need a helping hand


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