What are your guiding values?
We advocate for children, teens, and families.
We help the people we serve develop healthy, permanent relationships and make sure they are living in stable, safe, and loving homes. As a result, they can build the resilience and power they need to advocate for themselves. For us, permanency is not distinct from anything we do. It is everything we do.
What are the ongoing services or programs that your organization provides?
We operate six programs that cover four areas of care:
Share a recent story that embodies your work.
Our Residential Program operates two homes for youth ages 16 to 21 who are in foster care or who come to the United States as unaccompanied refugee minors.
One of our residents, T, arrived in the US in 2018 after escaping compulsory military service in Eritrea. When he came to us, T only spoke a few English phrases. He had experienced great loss and harm during his journey from his home country to America, and came to our program with great trauma and uncertainty.
Before he left Eritrea, T’s brother encouraged him to focus on the educational opportunities he would find in America. While he was with us, T did just that. Flash forward to this year: in May 2022, T graduated from high school as Valedictorian of his class! This fall, he began his freshman year at UMass-Amherst. T is premed, and dreams of becoming a doctor. We have no doubt he will achieve that dream!
T’s story is extraordinary in its global scale, but his emotional journey is representative of what many youth in foster care go through on a daily basis. For our residents, it can take courage and bravery just to get up in the morning. T’s strength is a strength all the youth we serve have.
Describe some upcoming projects or initiatives.
We recently became the Healthy Families Massachusetts provider for the Harbor Area! We serve Chelsea, East Boston, Revere, Winthrop, and Charlestown. Healthy Families is a free and voluntary support program for first-time parents age 23 and under. Young parents across Massachusetts can sign up for the program during pregnancy and continue up to the child’s third birthday.
Home visitors from our program get to know parents and their babies in their home. They help parents build parenting skills, provide lots of resources and information about newborns and child development, and connect parents with opportunities to meet other families and young parents like them. They also help young parents set and achieve personal goals like staying in school or finding the right job for them.
If Bridges Homeward was an emoji what would it be?
💪 We would be the strong/flexing bicep emoji! We are small but mighty, tailoring our high-quality services to meet the unique needs of every individual and family we work with. We work hard every day to help the people we serve find and create their own permanency.