Bridge Project Programs
Tutoring & Activities Emphasizing the Whole Child
The Bridge Project’s year-round programming serves students from kindergarten through high school. Our evidence-based positive youth development approach reduces risk and enhances the positive traits and resources in a young person’s life, ensuring that the whole child succeeds.
Tutoring is a cornerstone of The Bridge Project approach. Once a week throughout the school year, tutors meet individually with Bridge Project students—kindergarten through 12th grade—to provide mentoring, academic tutoring and help with homework. When they come to The Bridge Project after school, students also receive a hot meal, ensuring they’re fueled up for learning and fun as they participate in structured, experiential and project-based activities that range from arts to robotics.
100% of Bridge Project high school seniors graduate and enroll in postsecondary education
80% of middle school youth who participate in our YELL program increase their leadership abilities
98% of participants in grades 1-3 increase their reading level during the academic year
Focusing on Positive Youth Development
Our positive youth development framework seeks to enhance healthy development, reduce risk and increase the protective factors in young people’s lives. We focus on development in four primary areas: academic support, social and emotional learning, youth voice and leadership, and college and career readiness.
Increasing Academic Skill, Performance and Confidence
Academic support includes structured literacy and reading instruction, project-based STEM activities, individual tutoring and homework help.
Academic support includes structured literacy and reading instruction; project-based activities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); individual tutoring; and drop-in homework help sessions for all participants. Early literacy is a particular area of emphasis. To help students in kindergarten through 3rd grade to read at grade level and prevent summer learning loss, our students participate in a two-part literacy program that includes GR8 Readers and the Read Well Curriculum; youth build their home library, develop phonics and phonemics skills, become proficient in fluency and comprehension, and increase their reading skills and confidence. STEM programming is available to participants in grades 4-8 and takes place in different units throughout the year, providing high-quality programming that students may not otherwise receive at school.
Social & Emotional Learning
Increasing social, cognitive and emotional skills
Social and emotional learning is promoted through the Second Step curriculum.
We promote social and emotional learning through the Second Step curriculum, an evidence-based program designed to increase social, cognitive and emotional skills in elementary school students. Second Step is an interactive program in which children and trainers practice specific skill steps in small groups. The program consists of 28 weekly sessions aimed at improving children’s problem solving, empathy and emotional regulation skills. Sessions also strengthen study, cooperative learning, comprehension and reading skills. Bridge Project students in the Second Step program significantly increase their listening, self-talk, assertiveness, problem solving, emotional management and empathy skills.
Youth Voice & Leadership
Developing leadership, social justice, community organizing and technology skills
Structured curricula and community engagement opportunities teach leadership, social justice, community organizing and technology skills to secondary school students.
Youth voice and leadership activities—provided through structured curricula and community engagement opportunities—teach leadership, social justice, community organizing and technology skills to secondary school students. For instance, students compete in the annual Colorado Space Grant Consortium Robotics Challenge, and high school students who are members of the Bridge Project Technology Team (Tech Team) teach project-based engineering activities to younger Bridge participants. Through the Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (YELL) program, middle school students strengthen their engagement skills and prepare to be active decision-makers in their communities by gathering information about community issues, creating products that outline their findings and sharing their work with local stakeholders. Students understand issues of inequality, develop recommendations that target the root causes of social problems and take action to implement their ideas.
College & Career Readiness
Preparing for College and Careers
College and career readiness activities include the development of steps to success portfolios, case management and career preparation for high school students.
We ensure that all Bridge Project participants successfully graduate from high school or earn a GED, and that they gain the skills and resources needed to further their education through occupational training or a college degree. Our college and career readiness programming includes the Steps to Success Portfolio, which helps students to identify the necessary academic and experiential pathway toward post-secondary options and the workforce. They explore different career interests and participate in experiential learning and tutoring. Students also visit colleges and trade schools throughout Colorado.
Supporting Summer Literacy Skills
During the summer months, youth are at risk of experiencing a decline in reading ability. To address this “summer melt,” our eight-week summer program for students in kindergarten through 8th grade emphasizes the importance of maintaining and increasing literacy skills and includes comprehensive, full-day literacy, STEM, and health and wellness programming, in addition to enrichment activities. Students also take weekly experiential field trips to museums and libraries, the Denver Zoo, a rural farm and other fun and educational locations.
Participants in our high school summer program meet weekly for college and career readiness activities, including resume building, financial literacy and visiting college campuses.
Working with Graduate School of Social work faculty and students, each year we assess the impact of our programs and activities on the lives of young people. We use measures from Denver Public Schools to examine changes in reading performance, attendance and end-of-year proficiency in math, reading and science. We also use participant surveys to assess changes in social and emotional learning skills, youth leadership and positive youth development. Findings are strengthened by the addition of a comparison group of 250 young people who are living in public housing neighborhoods not served by The Bridge Project or another after school program.
Learn more about ongoing research projects related to The Bridge Project and its programs.
Programs in the News
Miracles on Ice
The Miracles on Ice hockey camp provides low income middle school youth a week experience of learning hockey and classroom sessions in Math and Reading. The children are supplied with equipment, transportation, meals and a week of fun.
Students Test Robots at Great Sand Dunes
The Bridge Project's STEM program emphasizes project-based learning, which includes building a robot and competing as part of the Colorado Robotics Challenge at Great Sand Dunes National Park.