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 – localmemphis.com)– 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 – memphismagazine.com) — 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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Youth Offer Suggestions For Juvenile Justice

Posted by michael on Mar 01, 2015

(Memphis – Commercial Appeal) — Participants in a youth-led conference on juvenile justice Saturday at LeMoyne-Owen College wrote down solutions for conflict in schools on yellow post-it notes. Among the suggestions was mental health support, counseling, therapy and peer mediation in schools. One note contained a suggestion of a “peace pass” as “a way to exit a space when you feel like you are too angry to be there.” “Suspending them is not helping it, it’s just making them more violent,” read another. “They should have a counseling class after school for them, like a 30-minute session.” At the workshop focusing on peer-mediation — part of the event presented by

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Local Youth Present Ideas for Change at Youth Ignite Memphis Event

Posted by michael on Feb 17, 2015

Nine students representing various segments of the Greater Memphis community came together today at the Youth Ignite Memphis event hosted by BRIDGES to present their ideas on how to create real change in the Memphis community. The students were given a total of five minutes each to present their ideas to a crowd of more than 200 youth and adults.  The three presentations that received the most votes from the youth attendees received $200 to kick-start their youth initiative. “We were so pleased with the level of thought and creativity that was put into the presentations by these students,” said Cynthia Ham president and CEO of BRIDGES. “All of them

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