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Bridges to a Brighter Future
3300 Poinsett Highway
United States
Contact Name:
Tobi Swartz
Contact Email:
Program Description:
Bridges to a Brighter Future is a comprehensive college access program for Greenville County, South Carolina high school and college students with strong potential from low-income, high-challenge homes. Beginning in 1997, the program's ambitious mission is to break the cycle of poverty and low-educational attainment by equipping students with the tools and support needed to finish high school and successfully graduate from college. Bridges accomplishes this mission by engaging students in an intensive seven-year program beginning after ninth grade and ending with college graduation. Bridges to a Brighter Future includes three components: summer programming, Saturday College, and Crossing the Bridge. Students attend a four-week summer residential program on the Furman University campus for three consecutive summers, participate in a year-round monthly academic support program called Saturday College, and successfully transition to college through Crossing the Bridge, a college retention program. Bridges to a Brighter transforms students' lives by promoting academic success, self-confidence, resiliency, leadership, and character. Students are nominated in ninth grade by their classroom teachers or guidance counselors. Each student undergoes an intensive selection process, including a thorough application and individual interview. Approximately twenty-five students are selected each year based on their needs. These new candidates join two classes of eleventh and twelfth grade students totaling approximately 75 students participating in the high school component. After high school graduation, students continue in Crossing the Bridge through college graduation, for approximately a total of 125 students served annually through Bridges to a Brighter Future. Beyond need, students must meet three core criteria: low income (eligible for free or reduced lunch), B grade point average, and a clean disciplinary record.