Thank You To The Ritter Family Endowment

Posted by knetzler on Oct 09, 2018

We’re so grateful for the incredibly generous support of the Ernest and Anna Ritter Family Endowment, which has donated a substantial gift of $27,500 to help BRIDGES “continue to recruit youth from Millington-area schools into #BridgeBuilders programs, learning skills, decision-making, cultural diversity, self-reliance, and teamwork.” This gift will make a huge impact on Bridge Builders youth, and we are so appreciative of the Ritter family and the entire team at E. Ritter and Co. and Ritter Communications for their longstanding belief in our youth leaders. Without support from friends like the Ritter family and team, Bridge Builders’ work throughout the Greater Memphis area would not be possible. Pictured L-R are:

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BRIDGES, Facing History and Ourselves, and the National Civil Rights Museum Announce “Open Up. Spark a Connection.”

Posted by knetzler on Oct 04, 2018

“Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. MEMPHIS, TN – (October 4, 2018) – Three organizations are partnering to foster unity, understanding and empathy in the face of the ideological divide in America. The National Civil Rights Museum, Facing History and Ourselves, and BRIDGES have launched “Open Up. Spark A Connection,” a digital campaign that prompts viewers to consider the proverbial saying, “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.” Using

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Matthew Lamanilao: “Togetherness Is The Essence Of Bridge Builders”

Posted by knetzler on Oct 01, 2018

The support of BRIDGES’s generous donors has changed the lives of thousands of Bridge Builders youth. Matthew, a 17-year-old senior at Christian Brothers High School in his fifth year of participation in Bridge Builders COLLABORATE, is just one of them. Matthew Lamanilao took a deep breath as he stepped into the spotlight and waited for the cheers to die down. On the last day of his final Bridge Builders summer leadership conference, he’d been selected by his team to represent them with a speech at the closing induction ceremony. “My mother immigrated to America alone from the Philippines,” he told the crowd of family, friends, alumni and supporters. “In college,

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Dana Wilson Selected Next President and CEO of BRIDGES

Posted by knetzler on Sep 27, 2018

Dana Wilson has been selected to succeed Cynthia Ham as president and chief executive officer of BRIDGES USA when Ham steps down at the end of December 2019. Wilson, the current vice president of the Bridge Builders program, was selected by unanimous vote of the BRIDGES Board of Trustees on Sept. 27, 2018. Ham, who has led the 96-year-old youth leadership and development nonprofit for the past six years, will remain CEO through 2019 while Wilson steps into the role of president. Wilson will then assume the dual president/CEO position in January 2020. “Dana is uniquely suited for this job,” said Ham. “She has the passion for youth leadership development,

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BRIDGES Debuts The Youth Action Storytelling Project: A National Tool For Youth Leadership

Posted by knetzler on Sep 12, 2018

“Youth have always been the catalyst for change. Real change can happen when we get out of our own way, stop trying to be so right as adults, stop trying to act like we have it all figured out, and let them do what they were born to do, which is transform the world.” —Erica, 25, Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!), Charlotte, NC In its 30th year of youth leadership development work in Memphis, BRIDGES USA has published a new online platform, the Youth Action Storytelling Project, to serve as a national resource for individuals and organizations working to promote youth-led social change. The website,, features compelling video interviews, brief

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Remembering Father Don Mowery: 1931-2018

Posted by knetzler on Jun 13, 2018

The entire BRIDGES family mourns the loss of the Reverend Donald E. Mowery, who passed away yesterday, June 12, at age 86. Our thoughts are with his wife of 35 years, Julie, and their extended family. For generations, the name “Father Don” has been synonymous with selfless dedication to the lives of young people in Memphis. A Yale Divinity School graduate and ordained Episcopal priest, Father Don came to Memphis in 1963 to lead a new social service ministry called Youth Service Inc.—the precursor to the modern-day BRIDGES USA. Father Don’s leadership in our organization spanned more than 30 years, and it’s because of his incredible heart for youth that

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Bridge Builder Janiya Douglas Earns Princeton Prize in Race Relations

Posted by knetzler on May 08, 2018

White Station High School senior and Bridge Builders CHANGE Fellow Janiya Douglas is one of 28 high school students from around the United States named as winners of the 2018 Princeton Prize in Race Relations. The students were honored during the annual Princeton Prize Symposium on Race held on the Princeton University campus. The awards recognize young people who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the cause of positive race relations and who have worked to increase understanding and respect among all races. The winners participated in a two-day program on campus that included presentations and a celebration of the 15th anniversary of the founding of the prize. The Princeton Prize

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Analyse Capodiferro: “Change Starts With You, Here, And Now”

Posted by knetzler on Apr 30, 2018

Thanks to our incredible supporters, BRIDGES has changed the lives of thousands of Bridge Builders youth. Analyse Capodiferro—a senior at Houston High School, a Bridge Builder of three years, and a BB Leadership Board member—is just one of them.  “Before I got involved with BRIDGES, I was incredibly shy.” We hear that all the time from students, but it’s surprising coming from a talented singer, dancer and actress like Analyse, who’ll be attending the University of Memphis this fall on a full-ride acting scholarship. “But I made the decision to jump in to BRIDGES because I was ready to make something of myself,” she said. “The first summer conference, my

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Scenes From Memphis Students’ Rally Against Gun Violence

Posted by knetzler on Apr 21, 2018

View scenes from the Shelby County Schools walkouts on the Memphis Flyer’s News Blog.

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“Our Walkout Declaration” By SCS Students

Posted by knetzler on Apr 09, 2018

We, Shelby County School students, have seen violence in our schools firsthand. We have seen people with mental health issues and family trauma put second to testing, attempting to make us more “orderly.” We have seen LGBTQ+ youth, immigrants, survivors, and students with learning disabilities be silenced, forced into spaces where they feel unsafe, and denied the counseling and the support that they need. We have seen our classmates be sexually assaulted and harassed by other youth and adults in our schools and then be blamed for it. We have become numb to the loss of friends and classmates to gun violence, jails, drugs, and suicide. We have come to

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