Bridge To Success
- Program Overview: The Bridge to Success (B2S) Program helps at-promise students create a positive vision for their future towards a career and/or higher education. The classroom-based program uses a life skills curriculum (consisting of 8 modules) and ancillary services to encourage and inspire students to set and achieve goals. These program components work together to help youth attain knowledge and develop skills needed to succeed personally, academically and professionally.
- Modules: Personal and Cross-cultural Awareness; Personal Well-being; Skills for Success; Goal Setting; Higher Education; Post-secondary Exploration; Employment Education; Financial Literacy
- Ancillary Services: Middle School (High School Pathways Planning), High School (Post-secondary Planning), Professional guest speakers, College tours and educational field trips, College & Career Fairs, Access to Resources
This narrative is from one of our Bridge to Success College & Career Advisor, Kassandra Sandoval, at Reid High School. It was a slow process to build a relationship with Johnny, a senior at Reid High. He has always been polite, respectful, and an active participant in class. However, I could sense that he was wise beyond his years. Through fragments in writing assignments, I knew that he had been through some tough situations. It was not until we sat down to talk about his aspirations and his life that I understood just how much he had experienced. I told him he could share with me as much as he was comfortable with. When sharing about his life, I stated to him that we could focus on academics rather than his personal life. Johnny replied he was fine being open about everything.
He has seen more than most adults will ever see or navigate in their lifetime; abandonment, being homeless and living on skid row, poverty, addiction, and trouble with the law. He has truly seen it all, and yet, he continues to push himself to be better every day by coming to school and working hard to stay on the right track. I don’t think he realizes how admirable this is, given everything he has experienced at such a tender age. Johnny wants to go to college but worries about facing academic and emotional challenges. Despite his fears, he has enrolled at LBCC, and his career interests are in business, politics, real estate, and stocks. He wants to make a difference in the community and aspires to run for political office. Johnny feels that with his life experience this would make him a good candidate that personally knows what it’s like to face many of these challenges we are facing today, like homelessness. He would like to continue to share his story, not for sympathy, but for people to have a better understanding of the plight homeless individuals face.
When asked to share his thoughts on BLAST. Johnny replied that BLAST offered him valuable information and helped him with college and financial aid enrollment. To my surprise, he added, “Besides all the college stuff, you’ve helped me in a personal way more than anything.” He valued our conversations more than what we were tangibly able to help him with. I enjoy coming to work every day, so students like Johnny, who don’t always have much of a support system at home, know that they have one with BLAST. When working with Johnny on his resume, we were thinking of words that best describe him. He stated, “I can’t think of any, Miss.” I asked, “How about ‘perseverant’?” His eyes lit up, and a big smile came over him, “Yeah, Miss, we can use that one.”
Johnny’s words: “BLAST is a class I’ve benefitted from personally and educationally. Although unfortunately, I don’t have this class all day, I’ve learned a lot about how to handle confrontations and handle any general relationship. Ms. Kassandra herself gave us a lesson on financial issues and how to handle them. She explained every step of how to introduce yourself in a job interview, how to make resumes, how to dress up, etc. I genuinely believe BLAST helps me and will help other people in the future.”
Johnny has experienced many hardships. He is a true testament of resilience and an example of how we can make a big difference in the life of our youth. I have no doubt Johnny will continue to work hard and enjoy a favorable future.