Thursday, August 31, 2006

Catching up with the Students, Part 1

Today we begin a new series of posts about the lives of Bridges graduates in college and beyond. Our first student is Luis Arrieta, who graduated from Bridges 3 years ago. He is entering his junior year at Belmont Abbey College, and he plays on the soccer team. Be sure to read about his successful experience and important plays here!
We asked Luis several questions about his Bridges experience. Here's what he had to say:

What impact do you think Bridges has had on your college experience?
It had a great impact in the fact that it prepared me as well as anybody could be prepared for my freshman year. The classes, the independence, everything that Bridges teaches you is pretty much the same things I encountered my freshman year. I'm very proud to be a Bridges alumni.

How are you doing academically?
Right now I'm doing pretty good even though is a little hard to juggle between soccer and school. I have a 3.2 GPA, and I have declared my major in International Business with a minor concentration in Accounting.

What advice would you offer current Bridges students?
I would tell you guys to enjoy it as much as possible and to soak in and take advantage of all the opportunities that bridges has to offer. I remember my high school years as being part of Bridges. Even today, every summer I wonder how would it be to be back. Also, the friendships. I met people there that have influenced my life so much and I know that they will be my friends for the rest of my life.

What would you like to brag about?
My life. I think I'm a very lucky person. I get to go to school do what I love that is playing soccer. I'm enjoying my college years, I love my major, what can I say, I want to brag about being happy.

We are very glad that Luis has kept in touch, and we hope that his future continues to be full of bright and wonderful things! Stay tuned!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Banquet pictures!

At the end of each summer, professional photographer Charles Register comes to take pictures of the Bridges banquet. This summer was no different, and we now have some of his pictures to share!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Saturday College

Thanks to a grant from the Jolley Foundation (see the newsletter for more), the Bridges to a Brigther Future Saturday College program is just about to start! Some of you may be wondering what this expansion of Bridges is all about. To shed some light on this exciting new initiative, we once again turn to the words of program director Tobi Swartz:

The Bridges to a Brighter Future Saturday College is an expansion of the current four-week summer program. Although the current summer residential program makes a significant difference in these students’ lives, Bridges finds it increasingly difficult to overcome the difficulties that these students face daily. As negative influences increase, so does the need for consistent and ongoing support. Saturday College will provide much-needed year-round reinforcement and services. The Saturday College program will consist of nine meeting dates held once a month throughout the year at Furman University. Each session will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 1:00 p.m. Our goals are to further increase students’ academic and personal success; keep students focused on the goals they have set for themselves; and to identify student challenges as they develop, in order to provide opportunities for intervention before problems magnify and become insurmountable. These goals will be met by providing:
· Intensive tutoring in:
o Math (Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus and Calculus);
o English (Writing, Grammar, Essays, Research Reporting, etc.);
o Social Studies (Reading Comprehension, Memorization, Writing, etc.); and
o Science (Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science)
· Academic success and college planning workshops such as:
o Time Management, Study Skills, Effective Test Preparation, and Note-taking Strategies; and
o Completing College Applications and Financial Aid, Writing College Essays, and Determining the Right College Fit.
· Mentoring by Furman and community leaders:
o The Saturday College will provide a consistent location and time to establish mentoring relationships. Mentors will be invited to lunch each Saturday.
· Emotional support and strengthened friendships with Bridges classmates and staff.

This program is the largest expansion in the history of Bridges. Saturday College starts in just one month, so stay tuned for more information as it gets closer.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The E-Connector!

The first issue of our new newsletter, the E-Connector is here! The newsletter has all sorts of information not contained in the blog or the website:
Check it out here
We hope you enjoy the read, and stay tuned for more next week!

Both Sides of the Bridge-Casey Crisp

Casey Crisp (pictured right) is a Bridges graduate who has come full circle: she not only attends Furman as a student, but she works as a counselor for Bridges! We asked Casey a few questions about this transition, and Bridges in general. Here is the complete text of the interview:

1. What was your experience like as a student at Bridges? Did it help you in deciding to come to Furman?
I think Bridges had a huge impact on my decision to come to Furman. I loved this atmosphere and the helpfulness of everyone. Bridges also helped to open up my eyes to the possibility of coming to Furman financially.

2. Has your furman experience lived up to your expectations?
Absolutely. Furman is a very different place from the inside looking out than it was as a community member, but I've enjoyed seeing the aspects of Furman that I had not experienced as a Bridges student, such as the student body, professors, and academic challenges.

3. What made you decide to work as a counselor?
When I reflect back on my Bridges experience, I often think of my counselors and how they impacted my life. I wanted to do that for the current Bridges students. I wanted to be that person that they could depend on for support and encouragement.

4. What is it like working with Mrs. Swartz first as a student, then as a staff member?
VERY DIFFERENT!! I never realized how much energy and concern she put into this program until I was on the other side. Of course I knew she cared about the students and was always very supportive of each of us, but I did not see the careful thought and love that she put into each decision to make sure this program was the absolute best it could be. I developed a whole new respect for her and the work that she puts into her job- she's amazing!

5. How is Bridges different as a counselor? It's completely different. I have completely new responsibilities and concerns. It really made me wish that I would have been even more grateful for everything Bridges provided for me as a student. It's amazing to see all of the behind the scenes of the program that I could have never imagined as a student. There are so many people who care about this program and the students.

6. How has Bridges impacted your life?
Bridges provided me with opportunities I would not have had anywhere else. I was opened up to a whole new world of diversity and challenges. The Bridges students remind me each day that anything is possible, because they continue to amaze me with their strength, hard work, and determination to achieve their dreams.

7. You're working as the studnet coordinator for Saturday College this year. how did that come about?
Mrs. Swartz presented me with the opportunity to work in the Saturday College program and this position seemed to be a good fit. We are in the process of getting some great things planned and I really believe this is going to make a tremendous impact on the Bridges program.

8. Would you like to work as a counselor again?
Absolutely!! This was the best summer job I've ever had. I couldn't think of a better way to spend my summer than working with 70 amazing high school students.

Look for part of this interview, along with much more, on the newsletter-coming soon!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

More Information about Subscribing

After only a few days of our new subscription service, a small problem has come up: the email used to confirm your subscription is blocked by some spam filters! So be sure to check your filtered emails if the subscription email doesn't come up immediately. Thanks, and happy subscribing!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Now you can Subscribe!

We've just opened up another feature on the Bridges blog! If you look at the links on the right, you'll notice a spot to enter your email address-that option lets you get email updates everytime the blog is updated. This is a great way to stay in touch with the happenings in Bridges, and it goes straight to your email inbox.
Stay tuned!


After a year or more of inactivity, the Bridges to a Brighter Future website is being renovated! Work on the page isn't quite finished, but most of the information reflects the current state of the program. You can access the site by using the link to the right, or by clicking on this link:
In other news, look for a post detailing the new Saturday College program later this week, as the Greenville County School year gets started. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Another blog!

The blogging community at Furman just keeps getting bigger and bigger! The Emerging Public Leaders program, run through the Riley Institute on campus, gives students from all over the US a chance to have an impact in their community. Their blog has words from the students, as well as pictures from their week long residential camp at Furman. The address is:
We hope you'll check it out! Look for a HUGE announcement this week!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Stay tuned!

In the coming weeks, big things are happening in Bridges! When school resumes in a few weeks, we'll be ready to begin preparing the Saturday College program. Also, in the next few weeks, the newsletter for Fall of 2006 will be ready to go, and we will give everyone an opportunity to obtain a copy of the newsletter, not to mention a chance to preview the newsletter here first! We'll be back next week, but first here's another picture from camp!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Student poetry part 1!

Remember Glenis Redmond's stay at Bridges during the 2nd week? (if not, you can check out the July 2006 archives for more details) Well, as a result of this collaboration, we have some poems to showcase, and many more put together in an anthology for the students! Here are a few samples:
The Kappa class wrote recipe poems, and here's one-

A recipe you’ll never forget.
Ashley Jenkins
1 cup of my ancestors picking cotton in the hot southern fields.
2 teaspoons of their tears being washed away by their bloody hands.
1 pinch of our ancestors fighting for freedom.
A dash of hope and faith engraved in my heart by my mother, by teaching me that being a black woman made my spirit stronger, and more willing to fight, while she put her macaroni and cheese into the oven as I helped her flour the chicken.
1 drop of tolerance for all of my black and hispanic brothers and sisters who have been mentally and physically abused, because of our darker skin.
A handful of freedom for everyone touched by these calming words.
Baking Instructions-
Mix all of this into the minds of others and bake it by showing actions of tolerance, giving hope and faith to others, and spreading freedom to everyone you touch.

and here's another recipe:

Ashley Tapperson
The recipe for a better world is as easy as it gets
But to make sure you understand, I’ll break it into little bits
A cup of peace is what we need to make the world go round
For all of us to get along with everything we surround
Two teaspoons of love, to sugar up our lives
Embrace even your enemies, give them the longing to survive
A pinch of troubles, inner conflict with yourself
To overcome, build character and bring your spirit wealth
A dash of imagination will throw adventure into everyone
Let’s sink below the ocean floor, or travel to the sun
A drop of dreams to strive for and hold your head up high
To achieve above and beyond and reach into the sky
A handful of faith to keep our hearts alive
Not to be afraid, but to go ahead and dive
Mix it all together, make a smiling face
Go ahead and be different, every kind of race!

one more about home:

Tacloban, Philippines
Neizel Songalia
Born in a small island where coconuts dominate
Burned by the rays of the sun, but cooled by the clash of the waves
Alarmed with natures golden invincible music
Awakened by the sudden gleam of the goddess light
untrapped by the eyes
Sudden rush through the door to say good-bye to my mom,
I wave a memorable goodbye to hope she’ll be alright
And so I go on, breakfast is eaten, the clock ticks in a beat,
and I wait for the real treat.
My heart beats with the clock, beating and beating, my ears
Participate and tell me they’re here.
Continuous laughter, continuous running, I became a princess,
I became a mom
I fell but I went back up with no concerns, but wounds
continually appeared but disappearingly healed
We hit a can with a shoe, we froze each other by a tapping touch
We made our own territory, we conquered each others base
We climbed a tree for tropical fruits, we ended up on top of the roof,
Turning into a new world where miniature flowers became our food.
I became a bird, I became doctor, I became a patient, and
I was thought to be dead.
With the powerful ball of light keeping our surroundings suspected and
And the rays directed to our diamond fantasies
This was my childhood in Tacloban, Philippines
A time where imagination was in full content.

Look for more soon!