Our partners play a significant role in our ability to meet our mission. Each partner, especially our overarching partner, Baltimore City Public Schools, is integral to the success of the BCP family of students, faculty/staff, and parents.
WHO IS BRIDGES?
Founded in 1993 at The St. Paul’s Schools, Bridges connects independent school student volunteers with Baltimore City Public school students at selected schools. Since its conception Bridges has expanded to The Gilman School in 2014, and The Bryn Mawr School in 2022. Operating as programs of their respective school communities, Bridges as a whole serves more than 380 Baltimore City youth ages 9-23, providing students with school-year success resources, summer enrichment opportunities, and school placement support.
Participants are nominated by their principals during third grade; these students from 10 schools in northeast Baltimore are typically high-performing, high potential students with good attendance. Once accepted into the program, Bridges works closely with these students and their families, to give them the support they need to succeed in school and in life.
That support runs from elementary school through high school, and continues through college and after, where Bridges helps graduates find fulfilling careers.
EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BRIDGES AND GOVANS ELEMENTARY
Every fall, Govans Principal, Bernarda Kwaw, and her team work hard to identify and recommend a group of third grade Govans students for Bridges. Once accepted, these students begin the program the summer after third grade.
Transported to and from Bridges three days a week after school, these students spend their afternoons in a variety of ways. Their time could include receiving tutoring in math or English from independent school students earning service hours, working with a robotics team, doing an art project, taking yoga, playing a sport outside. Or, they might even be a chef for a day and learn about healthy cooking.
“The partnership,” Ms. Kwaw says “allows our students enrichment opportunities where they are able to apply the skills learned at Govans.” Ms. Kwaw adds that this partnership helps students grow academically and socially, noting three of Govans’ recent alums and their accomplishments: Samiya Thomas, Djily Seck, and Zaire Forrest.
Our partnership with Bridges allows our students enrichment opportunities where they are able to apply the skills learned at Govans.
And the learning experience goes both ways. Currently, the Govans’ team is working with Anita Hilson, Senior Director of Partnerships, to place Bridges college student volunteers at Govans during their January break. One of Govans’ fourth grade teachers would have a sophomore shadow him or her for a day or half day during that time frame to better understand what it means to be a teacher.
“We are grateful for our continued partnership,” says Rob Palmer, Executive Director, Bridges. “We love it when Ms. Kwaw stops by for a visit to check in on her current and former Govans students participating in Bridges. Seeing her reminds them of her and Govans’ deep commitment to their individual success and well-being.”