Bridge Ministry Introduction
The Bridge Ministry, Inc. was founded informally in the home of William Washington more than twenty five years ago and began operating as a 501(c)(3) organization in December 1996. The Bridge works in Central Virginia to transform the lives of troubled men and their families by providing mentoring, vocational skills, education, and the relationships they need to bridge the gap from addiction to productive community and family life. The Bridge currently has an overall success rate of more than 85% and a 100% job placement rate.
At this residential treatment program, 100% of the men are fighting to overcome addiction and combat recidivism. The majority of those served are determined to have a high risk of recidivism, nearly 90% are homeless, 95% are unemployed, 20% are veterans, and 50% did not graduate from high school.
The budget is funded by a wide variety of community and civic organizations, including churches, foundations, businesses, and hundreds of individuals. The Bridge Ministry charges no program fees and does not receive any government funding.
The Bridge Ministry has a two-phase program which 1) receives men into an eighteen-month residential program in Buckingham County; and 2) allows certain men the opportunity to complete the last six months of the program in the Intern House in Charlottesville, Virginia.
While the students are in the program, they are able to participate in a variety of vocational training opportunities. These opportunities include training in auto mechanic work, body shop work, manufacturing and assembly, landscaping, gardening, onsite construction, heating and air conditioning, electrical work, and heavy machinery operation. The Bridge Ministry also partners with Piedmont Virginia Community College to provide classes in career readiness, resume writing, and computer skills as well as professional certification courses in small engine repair, diesel engine repair, construction, welding, CDL class B, culinary arts, and many more.
Students also participate in classes five days per week where they learn how to communicate in a positive way, work with others, lead their families, manage their finances, and become a productive member of their communities. The Bridge is a certified GED testing location, so students are also able to earn their GED while in the program.