Monday, August 25, 2008

Bridges Family a Part of the United Way of Greenville Campaign

Bridges student, Jamie Williams and her family are part of the 2008 United Way of Greenville Campaign! Each year, a select number of individuals or families are selected to serve as spokespeople for the United Way. In addition to being a part of Bridges to a Brighter Future, Jamie and her family received assistance from the Greenville Area Inter-Faith Hospitality Network, also known as GAIHN and Jamie also participates in another United Way funded program through the Phyllis Wheatly Community Center. Jamie is a wonderful young woman! She is a student at J.L. Mann High School and we are very proud of her!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bridges Students Go to Adventure Camp!

Through a partnership with Clemson University's Youth Learning Institute (YLI) and the Cliff's Communities, 12 Bridges students received the opportunity of a lifetime to participate in a ten day Adventure Camp! In the late Winter, YLI approached Bridges to continue a partnership already established with The Cliff's Communities to utilize Pinnacle Falls Camp, a beautiful mountain camp near Rocky Bottom, SC. The partnership included scheduling an Adventure Camp solely for Bridges students and providing team building for the Bridges counselors.

One day after the four-week Bridges program ended, I drove the lucky group of 12 students up to Pinnacle Falls camp. The group was familiar with Pinnacle Falls, as this is the location of our highly regarded Fourth of July celebration. The students really did not know what they were getting into. Being a person who spends time in the outdoors, I don't know if I would have even committed to spending seven days in the woods! However, I knew that they would be able to overcome any challenge they would encounter! They are Bridges students!

After seven days, I went back to get the students and they ran to the van they were so excited to see me! They were even more excited to tell me about the life-changing experience they received through Adventure Camp! Once they left Pinnacle Falls after a day of training, they mountain biked, canoed, and hiked for seven days! When asked what part they liked the most, they said, "all of it." The YLI staff was exceptional! They took time and care to teach, lead, and nurture our Bridges students through the experience. I was most impressed when the students told me that they repelled down a waterfall! How cool is that?

This opportunity was made possible by YLI providing a 1/2 scholarship for each student and generous donors providing support through Bridges to a Brighter Future. They wonderful staff at Clemson's YLI have issued a press release recently published online through The Greenville News. We hope to continue this partnership next year.

In addition, we are working toward expanding post-Bridges opportunities for our wonderful students. We have a partnership with Furman's Science Department through a Howard Hughes grant to provide paid research opportunities next summer to Bridges students (more to come on this). We also hope to implement an entrepreneurial expansion next summer as well.