Bridge Builders COLLABORATE 2016 Summer Conferences Begin June 13

Posted by knetzler on Jun 01, 2016

The BRIDGES legacy program helps local youth collaborate with diverse peers, unlock leadership potential, and become a force for positive social change. It’s been 28 years since community volunteer Rebecca Webb Wilson pioneered a radical program to bring together high school students from diverse backgrounds—not just to foster better understanding and develop leadership skills, but to forge lasting ties between future leaders of the Memphis community. Today, the Bridge Builders program Wilson established engages more than 1,000 youth per year, ranging from grades 7-12 and representing every public, private and parochial high school in Memphis and Shelby County. The Bridge Builders class of 2017 will begin their participation in the yearlong program with summer leadership conferences,

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Remembering History So We Never Repeat It

Posted by knetzler on May 05, 2016

“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.” –Elie Wiesel, author and Holocaust survivor Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, one of many days that asks us to pause and reflect on the Holocaust of Europe and North Africa.[1] From 1939-1944, the National Socialist Party of Germany (Nazi) systematically exterminated Jews, Roma, mentally and physically disabled persons, homosexuals, and political enemies, totaling 11 million men, women and children. Part of my undergraduate study was on the Holocaust and genocide, so Miss Peggy has asked me to reflect on today and what it means for us here at BRIDGES. The obvious question is this: how could it happen? Why does

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Happy Holidays and Other American Declarations

Posted by michael on Dec 15, 2015

Happy holidays, and other American declarations  By David Waters of The Commercial Appeal Posted: Dec. 12, 2015 SHARE 33   December 06, 2015 — Bridge Builders watch members of a bilingual theater group perform at BRIDGES. Participants spent the evening learning about a variety of ethnic and religious holidays during a World of Traditions event. (Brad Vest/The Commercial Appeal) Dozen of teenagers gathered on a Downtown Memphis street corner the other day. There were Hispanic kids. Muslim kids. Black kids. Immigrant kids. Kids from Midtown mixing it up with kids from Germantown. Donald Trump’s worst nightmare. The teenagers divided into smaller groups for 15 or 20 minutes, then broke up

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BRIDGES Holds Session On Interacting With Police

Posted by michael on Jul 23, 2015

(Memphis –– Safely interacting with police was the topic of conversation for nearly 100 teens today. During this “Bridges USA” session, local teens had a direct conversation with police about how they should act during a traffic stop and what to do, if an encounter goes bad.  It was a lesson in breaking down stereotypes and misinformation between young people and police. The teens stayed at the University of Memphis campus and had sessions with Memphis Police officers. Teens learned that they should not confront the police during the time of the incident, instead they should file a formal complaint with the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau. Malik Brooks,

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Group Uses Charleston Tragedy to Improve Mid-South

Posted by michael on Jul 19, 2015

(Memphis – WMC) — A group in Memphis is working to end violence by teaching leadership and diversity to teens. After nine people where shot and killed inside a Charleston, South Carolina church, Bridges decided to use the tragedy to do good. Bridges is a group dedicated to helping young people become successful adults. The Bridge Builder Program is designed to bring together 7th and 8th grade students. No matter their race or socioeconomic background, students from more than 140 schools take part in Bridges’ services every year. “In my school, I learned a lot about diversity,” Sara Khouzam said. “When I came here [Bridges], we went over it a couple of

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Teens and Officers Talk Candidly Bridge Gap

Posted by michael on Jul 15, 2015

Memphis – WREG) — Memphis officers and hundreds of young people put it all on the table hoping to end youth violence and prevent police brutality. “I seen what happened to Mike Brown and people like that, and I don’t want that to be me. I don’t want that to be nobody that I know,” Christopher said. The 11th-grader grew up fearing the men and women wearing police badges. “That fear still instills within me, and I just can’t — I just been trying to learn how to cope with it,” Christopher explained. Christopher’s family and neighborhood taught him police officers discriminate and abuse their power. However, a workshop on

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Spider Turley Descends to Cut Ribbon For BRIDGES

Posted by michael on Jun 23, 2015

(Memphis – — On Monday afternoon, June 22, as the temperature pushed up past 90 degrees and dark clouds and warm winds promised a rain that would never come, a small group of dignitaries and stakeholders gathered at the corner of A.W. Willis Avenue and North Fourth Street for a ribbon cutting. The dedication of the new outdoor rock-climbing wall on the western face of the iconic BRIDGES building promised pomp and circumstance and maybe just a bit of peril. Not just anyone’s peril either, but that of real estate developer and philanthropist Henry Turley. He and his wife Lynne, who donated the funds to make the wall possible, would

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BRIDGES lands $50,000 grant from national organization

Posted by michael on May 12, 2015

By Sara K. Clarke May 11, 2015 Memphis non-profit Bridges has received a $50,000 grant from the Hearst Foundation, Inc. of New York. Bridges serves more than 5,000 students each year through programs that aim to develop diverse leaders in grades 7-12 who are committed to community transformation. “To be the recipient of this grant is historic for our organization,” said Cynthia Ham, president and CEO of Bridges. “Recognition of this type from such a well respected national foundation is greatly appreciated and it furthers our ability to continue the transformative work we are doing everyday to build youth leaders for the Greater Memphis community.”

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Students Work to Change School to Prison Pipeline

Posted by michael on Mar 18, 2015

(Memphis – Commercial Appeal) — Students in Memphis said young people going from high school to jail is too often the reality in their neighborhoods. On Tuesday, more than one dozen students at BRIDGES discussed putting together a plan to keep kids out of prison. “They identified this as an issue in their community that they want to address,” Mahal Burr, the BRIDGES community action coordinator, said. Organizers call it the school to prison pipeline. “Instead of pulling our students into the educational system, it is pushing them out into the prison system,” Montez Reed said. Mid-South students worked to figure out how to create change and stop the cycle

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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

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