Each year the Bridge recruits a class of 30-35 recommended sixth graders living or going to school in East Nashville. The Bridge makes a six-year commitment to support accepted students in their journey toward achieving high school graduation and college matriculation. During those six years, students attend the Summer Bridge for five weeks from 7-10th grades and the Cultivating Collegians from 11-12th grades. The Summer Bridge focuses on academic enrichment, encouraging students to get excited about learning. In addition to literature, math, science, and social-studies, students can also take various electives like art, music, or sports. The Cultivating Collegians helps older students with essay writing and organizational skills, and exposes them to colleges and career paths they may not have considered. Additionally, students stay involved year round through after school programming like tutoring, test prep, leadership development programs, and volunteer events.
Originally, the Bridge was designed to keep kids excited about learning as they transitioned from middle school to high school. In recent years, the Bridge has expanded its college readiness program to help with the transition from high school to college. During the fall, we work with seniors as they complete their college applications, submit the FAFSA, and look for scholarships and other ways to fund their education. During the spring, we focus on helping the juniors to consider their post-high school options and start looking for colleges that can get them closer to their dreams. Many of these kids are the first in their families to attend college, so our support and encouragement is extremely important. Because the Bridge develops a six year relationship with the students, we come to be almost a second family. And like any family, we want to help our kids do their best.