Bridge Builders Spend Spring Break With Service

Posted by michael on Mar 16, 2015

(Memphis – Commercial Appeal) — Pat Lowe doesn’t browse the Internet, and she doesn’t want to. No Facebook. No Twitter.

But, “I know how to do Skype,” she said.

The 84-year-old was surrounded by teenagers from the Bridge Builders youth leadership program on Saturday morning around a table at The Parkview senior apartments. Betelehem Challa, 18; Bezawit Challa, 18; Lee Butler, 14; Greg Nelson, 13; and Wade Copley, 15, were there to help her troubleshoot her laptop, and Lowe shared decades of life wisdom.

Students from BRIDGES are having a spring break of service. Projects include days of mentoring, world history, cleaning up McKellar Lake and cooking at St. Vincent de Paul food mission.

Lowe, white-haired in a bright red shirt and khakis, said she needs her computer for word processing. She types out family memories for her granddaughter.

“It’s acting up,” she said of her laptop.

When the youth figured out why the keyboard wasn’t working, she said “Eureka! Oh bless you.”

She clapped her hands.“Oh that’s what I really needed,” she said. “Just wonderful.”

Copley then asked if she wanted him to update her anti-virus software.

“Oh you’re a jewel,” she said.

Lowe grew up in Little Rock and also lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She spent 10 years in the Peace Corps during the 70s, 80s and 90s, traveling to Brazil, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Dominica.

She spent 20 years raising her family, and she earned a master’s degree in child development. She has four children and four grandchildren.

In addition to a professional education, Lowe advised to learn a skill to fall back on.

“Any opportunity you have to work, take it,” she said.She encouraged traveling and to learn as much about other cultures as possible. For work advice, she said choose a job you love. For friends, she advised to avoid “troublemakers,” who “do the drugs, the cigarettes, the whiskey.”

Her secret to happiness is to “think more of others than yourself.”

“Keep humble,” she said. “You always have more to learn. Keep a positive attitude … Have more confidence in yourself.”

And, she said, “Learn to heed your inner self.”

For more information about Bridge Builders, visit or call 901-452-5600.