GROW raised $5,000!!!

Posted by Amanda Jemison on Aug 24, 2021

We are excited to announce that GROW, our monthly giving program, raised $5,000!! Check out the amazing impact in sponsoring five Bridge Builder experiences this past year. Please read these students’ stories, poems, and experiences below.

From providing virtual leadership experiences and mental health services for Bridge Builders to ensuring that each student  in the Greater Memphis area has equal access to our programming, monthly donors have continuously shown up for our Bridge Builders.


Lakia Coakley

6th year Bridge Builder
12th grader at Middle College High School

“When I first joined Bridge Builders, I was a young lady with a lot of ideas and plans, but I lacked the confidence to share them. I wouldn’t say that I’ve changed as a person, but I can say that I’ve grown while being a part of BRIDGES. Each year I gain more confidence, more knowledge, and a community. These things I’ve gained through BRIDGES have allowed me to work within my community with multiple organizations, spreading knowledge about youth-adult equity and, most of all, making Memphis a better place for the LGBTQ+ community.

Knowing that there’s a community of supporters like BB GROW helps me keep
confidence in my work. Supporting us as activists and organizers gives us a chance to focus on the progress Memphis is having and how we can further it. Without your support, I wouldn’t be where I am now, and I know for a fact that there are many other future Bridge Builders ready to grow, change, and make Memphis better for everyone.”


Mark Gentry

3rd year Bridge Builder
10th grader at Middle College High School

“Peace. It can bring a group of people together to join forces and make the world around them a better place. It’s where you connect with and respect people different from you and understand where they come from without any judgment. To me, Bridge Builders is the definition of peace.

Summer conference week was challenging, but I didn’t experience those challenges alone. My fellow Bridge Builders persevered with me to take the time to learn about one another, notice our strengths and weaknesses as a person, and put those strengths and weaknesses into a team of people. People who can put their own creativity and ideas to the table to create something that can forever change the way we live, for the better of Memphis. And knowing this is the true meaning of peace.”


Yasmeen Mannan

3rd year Bridge Builder
10th grader at Pleasant View School
excerpted from her poem “a bridge builders dream”

with all the problems in our world
all the tears that are shed
all the families in danger
all the blood that is bled

i dreamt i saw my people
standing hand in hand
a promise unspoken
but universal throughout the land

that silence would never be the solution
that fighting would only cause more pain
that we couldn’t just sit and do nothing
do nothing but complain

i dreamt that we worked together
that we built bridges and not walls
that we fought together, unequivocally,
for peace, justice, and unity for all


Abby Trott

Fourth year Bridge Builder
10th grader at Lausanne Collegiate School

“This is my fourth year as a Bridge Builder, so I came to summer conference with expectations. Not necessarily good or bad, but just things I expected to see and happen. To be honest, I thought it would be a lot like last year [the first summer conference held virtually due to the pandemic], and last year it just wasn’t the same. I love the feeling I get when I go to the BRIDGES building and I’m surrounded by amazing Bridge Builders, and through Zoom I didn’t get that feeling, so I expected this year to be the same.

But it wasn’t. My expectations were far exceeded, and through all the activities and debriefs and random fun games—not to mention learning about the amazing topic of our week, educational justice—I could imagine myself sitting next to my peers. Bridge Builders is such a welcoming place and people filled with joy and love. I’ve learned so many valuable lessons through this program, and I will learn many more. And this week has given me hope. Hope that we can help, and hope that we can make a difference.”


Zaheen Chowdhury

4th year Bridge Builder
10th grader at Pleasant View School

“BRIDGES is such a unique organization in that it unites youth of all backgrounds who are dedicated, passionate leaders committed to positive community transformation. Through this program, I have understood the importance of youth voice, my voice, and the great impact I can make. I’ve met some incredible people, listened to unique perspectives, and participated in meaningful discussions.

BRIDGES provides skills for youth to promote meaningful and lasting change in the community molds youth into leaders who are willing to bring social justice and equity for all.”


Thanks, monthly donors, for making all of this possible!
Click here to learn more about GROW