Summer is a busy time at Community Bridges as we evaluate the successes of the past school year and plan for the upcoming year to ensure that the girls in our programs (from 4th grade through high school) are continuing to grow and learning the skills that will enable them to become leaders who plan for their future accomplishments.
Every week during the school year, the girls make strides and at the end of the year, our special activities demonstrate how much the girls have matured and learned to give back to the community. Highlights of our recent year-end activities include:
A Well Deserved and Successful Year End Retreat
On June 9th and 10th, 26 Community Bridges elementary, middle and high school girls attended our annual overnight retreat at the Lathrop E. Smith Center. These girls had maintained good attendance and had grades of C+ or higher. The girls spent the weekend playing games, competing in a scavenger hunt, enjoying ‘smores over a bonfire, and performing at an “Any Talent Talent Show”.
The weekend is a great opportunity for girls of different ages and from different schools to strengthen the ties they’ve built with each other at other Community Bridges events. This weekend is a highlight of the year that girls look forward to all year long.
GLOW! Girls Giving Back
On Saturday May 12, GLOW! girls (Community Bridges’ high-schoolers) dedicated their afternoon to feeding the homeless at McPherson Square in Washington, DC. GLOW! partnered with the Homeless Ministry of Sligo Adventist Church in Takoma Park . The girls made bagged lunches, including 100 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Then the girls traveled to McPherson Square to pass out the lunches. Within groups and with adults, the girls went around greeting the homeless. The girls felt very moved by the people and stories they heard. One tenth grader, expressed her despair when she realized that there were not enough lunches to feed all those in need at McPherson Square that day.
JumpStart Middle School Girls’ “Our True Colors Show”
On May 10 over 100 families and community members joined together at the Silver Spring Civic Center for Community Bridges' 2nd Annual Our True Colors Show. The idea for the annual show came from a Community Bridges’ middle schooler last year who was determined to address the amount of racism, sexism, bullying and focus on outer beauty she saw around her. For several weeks prior to the show, Community Bridges’ middle schoolers worked on various projects, including a PSA about teen pregnancy, a magazine on inner beauty, a step routine on bullying, and a play on cyber bullying. The evening culminated in a fashion show, where the girls wore clothing representative of their cultures and inner beauty. Each girl stopped at the microphone at the end of the "catwalk" to share her "I'm beautiful because" statement.
JumpStart Elementary School Girls Community Service
On May 29 Community Bridges dropped off 40 bagged breakfasts lovingly prepared for the residents of the Home Builders Care Assessment Center (HBCAC), a men’s emergency shelter managed by the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH). Twelve girls from Rolling Terrace Elementary decorated brown bags with encouraging messages and then helped to stuff them with healthy breakfast foods. The project made quite an impact on the girls, who shared their thoughts that it is "good we can help make sure they have something good to eat for breakfast" and "make them smile.”
Learning at the Smithsonian FolkLife Festival
On June 27, 20 elementary, middle and high school girls attended a field trip to DC to enjoy the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The girls visited the booths of several universities from across the country, learning about such topics as advances in disability accommodations, green living, sustainable agriculture, and tsunami-proof engineering. They also saw the AIDS quilt and watched hula and mariachi performances.
This March in honor of Women's History Month, JumpStart! Middle School focused on women's rights and women leaders. The girls watched the movie Iron Jawed Angels with Hilary Swank, a film about the women's suffrage movement in the US in the early 1900s. It tells the story of Alice Paul, a champion for women's voting rights. After seeing the movie, 30 middle school girls attended field trips to the Sewall Belmont House Museum in Washington, D.C. The house was the headquarters for the National Women’s Party. The girls learned about the female leaders and the ways they protested inequality, especially by using banners. Girls then had the opportunity to make their own banners for things they want to change in their communities now. Many girls shared that they were surprised by all that women had to go through to gain equal rights. It was a great trip!