Thursday, June 28, 2007

Two weeks down, two to go...

We're at the halfway point, and with only two weeks left, things have been going great! Yesterday the students had the chance to St. Francis Hospital, the Greenville County Museum of Art, USC and Claflin University. We've got some great pictures from that, so keep your eyes open!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Pictures of the first few days...

Wednesday I took some time to follow the Lambda class around Greenville, and here's what we came up with...
Whether it was visiting with the new artistic director of the Warehouse Theatre...

Or stopping on the Reedy River bridge with the executive director of Vision 2025...

Or doing some rubbings of famous locations during a downtown scavenger hunt...

Or even dancing in celebration, our Lambdas kept moving and having a great time!

Here are some more pictures from the first week-

Two Iotas spend some quality time with their mentee. The older students act as mentors to the new students, to help them get acquainted with the program.

The older students went to Paris mountain over the weekend on a retreat, and here's a picture of them moving supplies for a campfire.
The Kappas are still all smiles, even when they're all tied up!

New Head Counselor Bailey Johnson takes a break from canoeing to show us her smile. The counselors were out of town for 2 whole days for intense training, in preparation for the beginning of camp.
Here they are in the woods!

Some of the Kappa ladies take a break from art class to remind us how Bridges brings people together.

This weekend is community service and a pool party, so keep your eyes open for more!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bridges Underway

It's been a few days, and already the program is off to a great start! The students have all been checked in, and over the weekend the Lambda class got to know each other, as well as the older students. The older students had a busy retreat at Paris Mountain for a the entire first day, and then they got a chance to meet their mentees (all the older students are asked to serve as a mentor to the younger students). Yesterday classes started, and tomorrow the field trips start-you can already tell that Bridges gets busy! Keep your eyes open for some pictures in the coming days!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

3 More to go

We've only got 3 more days left before the summer program gets underway! Saturday morning our team will start setting up, and by lunchtime most of the students will have arrived at Bridges for the summer. Included are just a few pictures of what check-in has looked like in the past. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

4 Left...

With 4 days left, let's talk a bit about what actually happens at Bridges. The core of the program is academic enrichment: Greenville county teachers come into the classroom, free to focus more closely on specific areas, and reinforce what was learned during the previous school year. The classes often have a deep impact on the students, since the faculty spends more one on one time with the Bridges kids. During the rest of the day and night, we supplement that with outdoor activities and cultural events in the evening, and community speakers in the mornings. Once a week the group takes a field trip to colleges or interesting places in the Greenville community. And on the weekends, the students participate in community service activities in the morning and have a little bit of fun at night (see the above picture from last year's ice skating adventure). Come back tomorrow to learn more about the vision and goals of Bridges

PS-The first two directors of the program were Sarah Fletcher and Judith Chandler-Huse!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Less than a week!

We're at the 5 day mark now, so let's take a little look at the interior of the Bridges office...Here's Mrs. Linda Cook, the Bridges Administrative Assistant, working hard to get the paperwork in order for the summer!
Current program director Tobi Swartz takes a quick break from her hectic schedule for a peek into the director's office. She and the counselors are out of town training RIGHT NOW for Saturday. Get excited!

Before we leave, here's some Bridges trivia-
Who were the first 2 directors of the program? Find out tomorrow!

Friday, June 08, 2007

2 Down, 8 to Go...

Giovanna Gomez with former counselor
Beth Whetmore
Casey Crisp with Kappa Ty Gregory
In the program's long and storied history, several Bridges graduates go on to actually attend Furman University, where the summer program takes place. However, a few exceptional students go one step further by becoming counselors themselves. In the last 3 years, we've had 2 students take on that role-Giovanna Gomez (affectionately referred to by the students as "G-Unit") and Casey Crisp (who is also the coordinator for Saturday College). The program impacted them both enough to encourage them to give back to it in one of the busiest ways possible. Without the counselors, the program would lose a great deal of its steam-they not only provide mentor support, but they keep an eye on the students outside of the classroom, take them around campus and accompany them on field trips, and they do so many more things that would be too extensive to list. Let this then be a salute to counselors past and present-we love you for everything that you do!
See you on Monday!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

9 more days!

As we continue to celebrate the history of the Bridges program, we bring you a picture of the Alpha, Beta, and Gamma classes working at a Habitat for Humanity build during the earliest years of the program. We've got some big things in store for this 10th year, but it's all a pretty big secret. The first class (Alpha) had only 14 students, while the Gamma class had only 9 students! Things had jumped by 2001, when the Epsilon class registered a massive 23 students-and it's only been growing from there. Last year the Kappa class brought an unprecedented 28 students into the program, bringing last years total numbers very close to 80 students. A 10 year growth from under 20 students to almost 80 is huge, and a testament to the life changing power of the Bridges program. Check back tomorrow for more!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

10 and Counting!

There are only 10 days left until the 10th Bridges to a Brighter Future summer program gets under way! To honor this milestone, we'll be counting down the days before the program with exciting words, thoughts, and pictures. We'd like to start with a selection from the Opinion section of the Greenville News from February 10, 2007:

"Bridges program builds futures"

'Thumbs up to Furman's Bridges to a Brighter Future program, highlighted recently in a column and an article in The Greenville News. This is a pre-college academic enrichment program that's designed to help high school students who have the potential to succeed in college, but not the means to do so. This is a good effort that will improve the community by putting smart kids on the path to success.'

Thanks, we think so too!
Check back tomorrow for more...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Congratulations to our graduating Thetas on a job well done! You made it! Happy trails and many blessings as you continue on your journey-we'll be excited to hear how your future shines.


As is always the case with Bridges, we have plenty of pictures to recap the last few months of the program:

Sadly, Glenis Redmond won't be with us this summer (she'll be in Haiwaii!), but she was kind enough to give a poetry workshop during the last Saturday College of the school year.

The Bridges kids after HOG day 2007, and a painting well done!

Here are the kids taking a quick break for a photo op.
Future Furman student Jorge Jiminez helps to paint.
We're working as hard as we can to get this summer's program ready. More to come soon!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bridges in the Community!

Saturday May 12, 2007 was a HUGE day for the Greenville community. It was HOG day 2007! No, not the pigs, Hands on Greenville, a volunteer organization, sponsored a day long volunteer marathon. At the end of the day, over 7800 manhours were logged helping with a variety of projects throughout Greenville. Bridges to a Brighter Future got involved by painting at Grove Elementary school and helping Central Community Ministries with other projects. All in all it was a truly remarkable day for Bridges as well as the community! Find out more about Hands on Greenville here. More information (and of course some pictures!) to come.

A New Look!

You may have noticed that the blog has a new look. Well, we thought that since we're approaching the 10th anniversary of Bridges, we'd make some changes. Now things are in motion to get ready for the summer! Keep checking back, because things only get better from here.

Bridges in the NFL?

Surprised? We were too, when we discovered that David Jones, a member of the Delta class, has been drafted to the NFL! He'll be playing as a cornerback for the New Orleans Saints, and he's graduated from Wingate College. We wish him the best of luck as he begins his professional career.

Check out David's player page here.
You can read about him playing in the prestigious Hula Bowl here!