Andrea's reflections on the 25th birthday of the Bridges program

Dear ,

 
A 1991 article from the Sudbury Town Crier about what is now known as the Bridges program
It's hard to believe that it was 25 years ago, after I wrote a grant proposal and addendum for a summer business writing class, that my husband Herb had a "brain spark." He suggested I see if my hometown's senior center was interested in applying for the grant. They were. The grant was funded by The Sudbury Foundation, and I piloted a program that is now known as "Bridges."

I never could have dreamed that Bridges would run for 25 years, that I would train hundreds of people to implement the program locally, that more than 13,000 children and volunteers would be involved and that the program would spread to Michigan and California.

Click here to read more and then scroll down to see some of the people and places that the Bridges program has impacted...


HAPPY 25th BIRTHDAY TO BRIDGES!

Multicolored Balloons For Celebrating A 25th or Twenty Fifth Birthdays  Twenty-five years ago, Andrea J. Fonte Weaver, BT's Founder and Executive Director, stopped by the Sudbury Senior Center to see if the staff might be interested in running a curriculum she had designed to unite older adults and school-aged children. The Senior Center was interested -- and the rest is history!

The Bridges Program is now a suite of four different curricula for preschoolers through high schoolers, and it was recently designated a Generations United Program of Distinction.
 
Take a look at some of the people -- and places -- that the Bridges program has touched since its inception in 1991:


The School Community
"Bridges Together had a huge impact on students' confidence and participation in school..." 
 
 
Two participants at Coburn complete an activity about the book The Family Tree  
Last year, thanks to a grant from MCOA, the West Springfield Council on Aging/Senior Center teamed up with 3rd graders in the Coburn School to participate in the Bridges: Our Stories program, our curriculum designed to unite young elementary school students with older adults.

We are delighted that these entities have joined up again and are the recipients of a grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation to bring a Bridges program to Coburn's 4th and 5th graders.

We were moved by their Letter of Commitment, submitted by reading teacher BethAnn Albro-Fisher. Coburn is a unique environment, as a large percentage of its students are new immigrants and are learning to speak and read English. Click here to read about the impact that Bridges has had on this special community. 


The Youth

"They have taught me more about guitar, and life, than I could've ever imagined..."

 
Emma and Marilyn at the BT Grand Family Faire in September
Emma C., a senior at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, is a Bridges "repeat customer." As a fourth grader, Emma participated in a Bridges program at Loring Elementary School in Sudbury. And now she is participating in the Bridges: Lifelong Journeys program during the club period.

"I remember learning about the constellation 'Cassiopeia' from my Bridges partner in fourth grade. I appreciate the kindness of that gentleman immensely, as that experience really opened my eyes to the priceless qualities of intergenerational relationships. 

"While volunteering at last year's Thanksgiving Luncheon [at the high school], I met a wonderful woman named Marilyn, and we bonded over our common hobby of playing guitar. She and her son, Alan, have both given me guitar lessons; they have taught me more about guitar, and life, than I could've ever imagined."

In September, Emma and Marilyn teamed up to lead a music session at Bridges Together's Grand Family Faire.  


 
The Older Adult
"Life changes, but it remains blessedly the same. I, as an older adult, know what you're talking about..."

 
Margaret and her husband with BT Board Chair Chris Hammer (L) at Spring into Summer 2016
Margaret Harty has been volunteering with Bridges Together for four years. Not only has she served in a Bridges classroom, Margaret has also shared her time and talents at BT HQ, helping with mailings and other administrative tasks. Margaret was one of our recognized volunteers at Generous Generations in 2015. To read more about Margaret and her experiences with Bridges Together, click here
 


The Employee
"I want to leave a legacy of giving..."

Development Director Nancy Drourr has been with Bridges Together for one year. During that time, she initiated Bridges Together's first-ever Annual Giving Program -- and is now spearheading our second campaign! She also oversaw the creation of BT's inaugural Annual Report.

Click here to read about Nancy's "intergenerational transformation" at Bridges Together. (By the way, this is our most-read news post on the Bridges Together website!)


YOU
Here's how YOU can play a part in the Bridges story:

Give to Bridges Together's Annual Giving Program in order for us to continue
transformative intergenerational work, such as the above.

Log in to our free monthly Empower Hour Webinars from the comfort of your desk (or your couch -- we won't tell!) to learn about what makes a strong intergenerational program. Join us on Tuesday, November 15 at 12:30 pm EST to learn about cultural continuity. REGISTER HERE.

Help establish a Bridges program in your community. Thanks to the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and MCOA, there are grants available.

Save the date for our next Spring into Summer brunch and auction on Sunday, April 2, 2017 at Longfellow's Wayside Inn.
 
 
 
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Bridges Together, Inc.
The Gatehouse at the Wayside Inn
47 Wayside Inn Road, 1st Floor West
Sudbury MA 01776

BridgesTogether.org