As a donor, you provide a safety net and transform the lives of thousands of children and families each year. You can help the family who's come to us for counseling, desperate for one small ray of hope. Or help a homeless teen become a self-sufficient adult. Or help kids learn to make good choices in and after school.
Here are a few of their stories:
Amber suffered two major traumas before she turned 17. Because of her mother’s severe mental illness, Amber’s aunt became her legal guardian when she was young, and they later moved to Virginia. But then her aunt died, and her family kicked her out with only a few days’ notice. Fortunately, she found safety at our West Hartford youth shelter, where she built trusting relationships with our caring staff. She now has a part-time job and plans to continue her education.
Omar was 11 years old and acting out in school and at home. Worried that he was a poor influence on his two younger brothers, his overwhelmed mom brought him to the Bridge for counseling. Very quickly, his therapist saw that the problem was much bigger than just Omar’s behavior—his dad had abandoned them, and the whole family was struggling. Therapy has helped them heal, and Omar’s entire outlook has changed.
Tina joined our PEP parent leadership program to improve her parenting skills and become involved in the community. When she confided to the group about fleeing with her toddler from her abusive husband, the group rallied around her and made domestic violence their team project. Together, they are empowering women and raising awareness about this critical, but often hidden, issue.
Carlos was in ninth grade when he was referred to a Bridge counselor for mentoring. Now 16, he is active in our Teen Center, a safe place for kids to go after school, and its leadership program. With the continued support of his mentor, he has overcome years of abuse by his father and his despair over his older brother's drug addiction. Carlos says that without his mentor, he would have felt completely alone.
Sean was 12 years old when he began to feel anxiety about transitions and was diagnosed with OCD. At the Bridge’s Counseling Center, he learned coping strategies to reduce his anxiety and went past his fear to bravely face his challenges. Today he is managing his transition as a college freshman using what he learned at the Bridge.
Nicole started high school as a good student who played sports. But as summer arrived, she was overwhelmed with depression by her sisters’ impending departure for college, and she began cutting herself. Their father’s substance abuse was affecting the entire family. Intensive therapy at the Bridge changed Dad’s behavior and the whole family dynamic. Most of all, Nicole learned positive ways to manage her feelings and became her happy self again. Her sisters went off to college no longer worrying about abandoning their younger sibling.
Daina was abused by her parents and placed in a residential home where she suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as neglect. She came to a Bridge STAR home, a temporary shelter where girls can begin to mend their lives. Daina learned to trust caring adults and make healthy decisions, and now has hope for her future.
After a bitter divorce, Tami struggled with depression and anxiety, especially for her children, 12-year-old BJ and 8-year-old Ashley. "I was almost too depressed to do anything, but BJ wasn't himself anymore and I knew I had to do something before it was too late," Tami said. Fortunately, she came to the Bridge, where intensive individual and family therapy has turned their lives around.