Every young person who comes to Bridge has their own unique story, and we are honored to be part of so many.
Jenny* first arrived at Bridge during the spring of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc in Massachusetts and the friend whose apartment she had been staying at asked her to leave due to her fears of contracting the virus
Jenny finds safety – and a path home – during COVID-19
Jenny started working the night shift at her job in a local fast-food restaurant. For Jenny, every overnight shift at work meant one more night away from the streets or adult shelters.
Jenny was one of the hundreds of new youth who reached out to Bridge during COVID-19, and was one of the first young people to move into our expanded overnight residence at Emerson College.
At Bridge, Jenny returned to her day shift at work. She started meeting with a Bridge case manager, who helped connect her with longer-term housing through Bridge’s Rapid Re-housing (RRH) program.
Today, Jenny lives in an RRH apartment with a roommate she met in Bridge’s Emerson residence. She is working the day shift at fast food restaurant job to pay her rent and preparing to take online classes through her local community college this fall.
She meets regularly with her RRH case manager and has continued access to services, like clinical counseling and education support, at Bridge.
My Bridge counselor makes me feel comfortable and is a great help to me when I’m having a problem.
Amina is a recent 2019 Graduate from our Education and Career Development Program. When she first came to Bridge, she was looking to finish her high school education. Below, she shares a bit about her experience successfully completing her HiSET certificate!
Amina shares her story
“A friend suggested that I call Bridge. So I called and was able to be set up with the Education Department and start school here at Bridge. I was frustrated and depressed because I was not able to succeed in school. I had failed a couple of classes. It broke me. I could barely pass on my own.
I always knew I was smart enough, and knowing that, I kept trying. The problem was not me as a person, but the way the classes were taught at school. But Bridge has helped me and it’s been amazing. I’ve been able to find progress.
I immediately felt more motivated here at Bridge because people were nicer to me. It was the same work as in the schools I was in, but the stress was gone. I could be who I am.
Here at Bridge, there is a ‘lighter air’ to it, is what I’d say. I was able to pass my first class at Bridge, which gave me the energy to go on. I’ve now completed the five classes I needed to get my HiSET – math, science, social studies, English, and writing.”
What’s next for Amina?
“I write a lot in my spare time,” Amina commented. “But, I don’t want it to turn into a job, because I want it to stay fun for me. So instead, I’m learning more about graphic design, because I sketch (as another hobby). I am hoping to take graphic design classes at MassArt.” We look forward to seeing what she accomplishes!
If I didn’t have Bridge, I would be couch surfing or sleeping outside. At Bridge, everyone knows who I am.
Jeremy’s* Bridge story started on our Mobile Medical Van. Today, he is independently housed in Bridge’s Youth Rapid Re-housing (RRH) program.
Jeremy found Bridge’s Mobile Medical Van one night in Harvard Square.
Every night for many months, Jeremy would stop by the van for a sandwich, some warm socks, and to talk with outreach staff.
Bridge staff learned that due to frustration with other service providers, Jeremy did not want to ask for help again. After over a year of visiting the Mobile Medical Van, thanks to the relationship that Jeremy built with our outreach team, he scheduled an intake appointment at Bridge.
After he completed his intake appointment, Jeremy started meeting regularly with a Bridge Clinical Counselor.
Together, Jeremy and his counselor developed a plan to address his self-harm and substance use. With Bridge’s support, Jeremy learned that with counseling, he is able to manage his mental health.
Today, Jeremy has housing through Bridge’s Rapid Re-housing (RRH) program, the only RRH program in Boston exclusively for youth.
Using the skills he learned at Bridge, he is managing his work, personal life, and mental health in independent housing. Jeremy meets regularly with his clinical counselor and his RRH case manager for ongoing support.
I wanted to raise my son in a different environment. Bridge provides me with a safe, positive environment to do so.
Bridge’s Work-Based Learning Program (WLP) is a three month part-time, paid internship to develop essential employment skills in a supportive environment.
Harry currently lives in our Emergency Residence, busy stabilizing his life. He had heard about the Work-Based Learning Program (WLP), but was busy working and focusing on saving money.
“I was trying to ride the wave with my old job, but got thrown off.
Matin [the Emergency Residence Coordinator] had suggested that I keep it in mind if anything changed. So, I decided to apply for the WLP while I work on my job search and looking for an apartment. I saw this was an opportunity for me because the skills offered are skills I needed. I believe that the more you know, the more valuable you become.”
Harry started in our Work-Based Learning Program (WLP) at the beginning of February.
He enjoys the interactive experience as receptionist on our Counseling floor. “I worried that I wouldn’t remember names, but I’m surprised how well I’ve been able to learn everyone’s names!”
Harry is glad for this part-time opportunity while fielding job interviews.
I am pursuing my education at Bridge. I have made friends here and nobody judges me.
Ayanna is a graduate of the Bridge HiSET program. She participated in the Work-Based Learning Program this past fall while enrolled as a part-time student at Urban College.
Bridge’s Work-Based Learning Program (WLP) is a three-month paid internship to develop essential employment skills in a supportive environment.
Ayanna uses many of the communication skills she learned in the WLP with her new college classmates and professors. She was also able to get a head start on using Microsoft Office programs, which have come in very useful for class.
Looking back, Ayanna feels the program gave her a great boost of confidence for her upcoming academic and career challenges!
Internship complete, Ayanna decided to become a full-time student at Urban College. She had a very successful semester, making the Dean’s List with a grade point average of 3.30 or higher! This semester, she continues to take advantage of our College Success Tutoring program while working through a full course load.
Inspired by her experience in the WLP, Ayanna has applied for a front-desk role at Urban College.
We love hearing about the new challenges she aspires to each month as she works towards her degree in Psychology!