Lourdes to Bring Award-Winning Youth Empowerment/Leadership Program to Burlington County
Monday, July 6, 2009
For more than 30 years, Camden County teens have benefited from The Bridge, Lourdes Health System's free youth empowerment and leadership program. Based on the success of that program and the difference it has made in the lives of thousands of teens over the years, Lourdes is establishing The Bridge in Burlington County.
Beginning on July 9 from 7:30 to 9 p.m., The Bridge will offer weekly drop-in sessions every Thursday for teens ages 13 to 19. The meetings will be held at The Crossroads, a provider of shelter, residential, outreach and supportive youth services located at 15 Washington Street in Mt. Holly. "Our weekly drop-in sessions offer a safe place where teens can come together to talk with--or just listen to--other teens," said Renee Pinardo, program director
Each week's session features a different topic, ranging from family issues and school violence to health tips and stress relief. Meeting in a very relaxed atmosphere, teens run the sessions with guidance from adult staff and volunteers. Large and small group discussions give teens the chance to share feelings and experiences. The staff and volunteers utilize videos, guest speakers, communication activities, art projects or role playing. Participants can attend as many or as few sessions as they would like. The program is free, and no registration is required. Attendees are requested to arrive promptly at 7:30 p.m.
"The Bridge differs from other programs in that it is not crisis-oriented; rather, it addresses the challenges of adolescence, in general," said Pinardo. "The years between 13 and 19 present a new set of challenges, questions and issues that need to be dealt with by professionally trained, dedicated and caring people. This is where The Bridge comes in--it recognizes the special medical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of this growing population."
Because of the impact The Bridge has had in the community, the program has received many honors, including: the Rutgers University - For Reaching Out & Supporting Youth Culturally (I.N.T.A.C.T.) Award; a commendation from New Jersey state Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald; the YMCA Camden County - Robert T. Johnson Award; a proclamation by Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders; and recognition from the State of New Jersey General Assembly, among others.
The Bridge is seeking individuals who would like to be involved, either as youth or adult leaders in the program, or as youth participants. To learn more, call 856-869-3122. To learn more about The Bridge, visit the Lourdes Health System Web site at http://www.lourdesnet.org/services/bridge.php.