The Bridges Project was founded in 1997 by Lois Breedlove, the Chair of the Communications Department at Central Washington University, to serve the tribal schools on the Yakima Reservation.
The goals were simple: to encourage underrepresented middle and high students to succeed in school, and to offer an opportunity for college students to gain leadership skills and contribute to the community. The students targeted are those that are at risk of dropping out of school, not graduating, not meeting grade level, or simply need extra help. In the beginning, Bridges had five volunteer students that served local areas.
However, thanks to the Gear-Up Grant, the Bridges Project was given the means to expand. The College Sparks Grant, the Services and Activities Grant, the Math and Science Grant, and the CACG have also contributed to our expansion.
Past mentors have served all over the state, Othello, Royal City, Mattawa, Prosser, Highland, Brewster, Bridgeport, Manson, Chelan, Omak, Oroville, Tonasket, and Tacoma.
In the future, Bridges hopes to expand farther, recruit more mentors, and serve more school districts. We also hope to return to the original Yakima Reservation schools. As the organization grows, so will the ability to help more children stay in school, and see what opportunities education will afford them.