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  • Carrie Silver

Saturday College: A Monthly Family Reunion

Bridges students come together one Saturday a month for Saturday College, a program that includes workshops, college planning, a good meal, and cultural experiences. And while each day is thoughtfully planned and organized to provide students with academic and personal support, it also allows time for kids to be kids.

“We realized a long time ago that if we didn’t build in time at the beginning of each Saturday College for students to chat and catch-up, we’d never keep their attention,” said director Carrie Silver. “I love watching them come in and act like they haven’t seen each other in ages. They are so excited to see each other. It’s like a family reunion, every month.”

The family reunion vibe fits with the ethos of Bridges: in order to help young people succeed in life, we need to listen to them, understand them, and be there for them—like family.

“We have students balancing challenging high school classes, jobs, family responsibilities, extra-curriculars. One thing we always aim to include in everything we do is some opportunity to just be a teenager,” Silver added.

One example of “teenager time” was the fist Saturday College of the year in September, which included a Bridges field day to let students play games on the fields of Furman’s campus and enjoy ice cream together. Another example was December’s Saturday College, during which a local piano and voice teacher lead a holiday sing-along over lunch.

The Saturday College schedule begins with an assembly where students share good news and staff share updates. Then, a local expert presents an interactive workshop that teaches the soft skills students will need to be successful, followed by grade-specific college planning classes taught by Bridges staff. Lunch has a lunch-and-learn component, followed by afternoon activities.

So far this year, we’ve welcomed experts in time management, critical thinking, study skills, mindfulness, goal-setting, and civic engagement. Topics set for spring 2022 include self-confidence, diversity and inclusion, creative expression, mindset, and career planning.

Know an expert who can lead a workshop for our students? Contact Carrie Silver at Bridges is always looking for caring adults willing to share their experience with students. Have an idea for providing “teenager time” opportunities? Contact Silver with those ideas, too.


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