An Update from Maddison Bruer

written by naehblog
June 25, 2012

Today’s guest blog is from Maddison Bruer, who we will be hearing from periodically on our blog this summer as she updates us on her work with Bridges of Norman.

Howdy folks! Well, we’re inching further and further into summer, and we sure can feel the heat here in Oklahoma. Our summers can be filled with long days of 100-degree weather and outrageous storms.

Anyway, let’s get to what’s going on at Bridges. When I left you all I had explained that I would be working with Bridges of Norman, a nonprofit geared toward supporting homeless youth in the local community. I, myself, am a graduate of the program having been there for about three years.  I completed my first year at The George Washington University but feel as though I’ve been gone ten years! Bridges is constantly changing, adding new methods of reaching out to homeless youth and working to support their current students.

Some New Things @ Bridges: The most notable change in the Bridges’ scene is their new method of helping kids get around town. For as along I can remember being there (and after experiencing the problem myself), Bridges has encountered trouble with solutions to getting students to school, work, appointments, etc. At first staff were simply giving the students rides themselves, but then that cut a lot into staff time. Then, Bridges implemented a ‘volunteer carpool’, which consisted of volunteers across our community giving up time to drive students to where they needed to go. Said volunteers would have their names put on a list, and when a student needed to go somewhere, that student would give a staff member an advanced warning and that staff member would go to the volunteer carpool list and call somebody up to see if he or she was available. Nowadays, Bridges has a whole new method of breaking through the transportation obstacle, and it’s called the motorbike. After months of research, Bridges has begun a partnership with a local motorbike dealer who sells the two-wheeled rascals to Bridges who then loans them to students. That student then signs a contract with Bridges that includes that student having to take a safety driving course before riding (among many other things).  It’s a sort of complex system, based a lot on trust, but so far, so good.

My time at Bridges has been great, and it’s quite interesting being able to see the whole system from this side. Sometimes I look at these young adults going it alone as just high school students and wonder, ‘How did I do it? How are these students doing it?’ Then I remember that our circumstances made us stronger than we will ever imagine. Bridges, and other programs like it, makes the difference between living in poverty and going to college, but if a person doesn’t want to be better, they will never get better.

Until next time,