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"What I learned from Bridges for Learning is that I can do anything" - Student 2010

Our Facilities: Bridges for Learning

Donate NowThe main goal of the Bridges for Learning (BFL) program is to successfully assist in transitioning youth in care back into the mainstream school system, or if appropriate, a recognized alternative school setting that identifies and addresses their unique learning needs.

Bridges for Learning offers placements to a maximum of 12 students at a time. Students focus on work packages or correspondence materials, as well as therapeutic programming including:

  • Personal Development and Relationships (PDR),
  • Physical Education (basketball, swimming, bowling, etc)
  • The Expressions Program of the Arts (Art classes and Music Therapy)
  • Social-Emotional Learning (including Aggression Replacement Training and VOICES)

Bridges for Learning Classroom

Bridges for Learning Artwork Table

Admission Criteria

·  Youth must be between the ages of 12 to 18 years, and in the care of the Minister of Community Services.
·  Youth must be living in a residential facility or foster care within the Halifax Regional Municipality, and temporarily or permanently unable to attend a regular school placement.

The BFL classroom employs two full-time positions including a licensed teacher and trained youth care worker. In addition, the HomeBridge psychologist provides psychological services, including psycho-educational assessments and therapeutic group work to all students in the program.

Donors and Supporters

Bridges for Learning is funded through a partnership between the Nova Scotia Departments of Education and Community Services.

NovaScotiaCommunity College has also recently partnered with Bridges for Learning (BFL) to offer all studentsan opportunity to take part in a “Mini College” in the spring of 2010 to give them a taste of what career opportunities their future could hold. Representatives from NSCC will do sessions in BFL to begin the process with the students and discover their individual interests and aptitude for different professions and trades.  The Mini College will then be designed to cater to each student’s individual needs and offer them a glimpse into several professions and trades of their choice.  This program will be piloted over three years.

We would like to also thank the following donors and supporters of the program:

  • Edwards Family Charitable Foundation
  • F.K. Morrow Foundation
  • Harold Crabtree Foundation
  • Canada Nova Scotia Skills and Learning Framework
  • Department of Education
  • Halifax Regional School Board (HRSB)
  • Department of Community Services
  • Junior Achievement
  • Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
  • Youth Employability Project
  • Halifax Children's Aid Foundation
  • Kiwanis Club of Cole Harbour/Wesphal

Thank you for recognizing the value of education for youth at-risk in your community.

Youth Testimonials

" Bridges for Learning is the best school ever! " - Student 2011

 

 

This is my fourth year in the Bridges For Learning program. As you know, BFL is a transitional program so you are probably wondering why I am still here. Well four years ago, I was admitted to the Reigh Allen Center. I was attending my community school, but about a week later I got expelled.

I was admitted into the Bridges For Learning program, so I could continue on with my schooling. This placement was short because I moved to Yarmouth, where I stayed for the rest of the school year.

For the next two years, I had a lot of disruption in my life. Although I was in the city for the most part, I had approximately 25 placements in different programs. This made it very difficult for me to attend any community school regularly, so I remained in the BFL program and completed my Junior High.

This year I am in grade 10, and I am glad to say that I have finally started a transition into a community school setting. In October, I was registered at Dartmouth High School and attended my first semester there on a part-time basis. I was attending DHS in the mornings taking Mi’kmaw Studies and BFL in the afternoons working on Math Essentials 10. The teachers at Dartmouth High were very supportive and with their help I got my Mi’kmaw Studies credit and did very well in this course. I’m also doing excellent with my math. For the next term I’m hoping to increase my time in high school.

My experience in the BFL program has been very positive. I like the program for many reasons. First of all the teachers are great. Shane is a nice guy. He’s funny and humorous. Alison is always laughing and outgoing. I know they both care about me; they see my potential and encourage me to do well. I don’t think I could have made it this far without their support.

I also like the fact that BFL has smaller classes and more one-on-one support. I like that you can meet and socialize with youth from other homes because we all share similar stories.

I like the schedules they have and the different programs they offer. For example, the phys.ed programs like basketball, bowling, swimming and bulldogs gym. I enjoy the art program (Expressions) and learning new ways of doing creative things. I’ve even had opportunities to sell crafts that I have made.

I also enjoy the music class. I have learned how to play the piano and learned a lot about music in general. I know if I was going to a community school I probably would not have gone to music or art, because it didn’t interest me.  I am so glad I’ve had an opportunity to participate here, because now not only do I like playing the piano, but I’m doing very well with it.

Finally what I like about the BFL program is that it has always been a consistent place for me. Over the past four years, there has been so much change in my life. I’ve had different social workers, different schools, and different homes, but BFL has not changed. It is the one place that I can always depend upon and the one place I do very well. Also, BFL has never kicked me out of the program, which I can’t say about other placements I’ve had. I know that when it’s my time to leave the program, it will be because I’m ready to go.

As a youth in care, school can be very difficult because of other things going on in our lives. So we need programs like BFL who understands that, who can support us, who will hang in with us during the rough times and help us focus with what’s important. I know how important my education is now, so I will work hard to get my high school diploma. 

 

Contact Information

Shane Theunissen, Teacher
(902) 466-1439 ext. 241
Email: stheunissen@homebridgeyouth.ca

Melanie Frost-Goyetche, Youth Care Worker
Phone: (902) 466-1439 ext: 248
Email: mfrost@homebridgeyouth.ca

To download an application for Bridges for Learning click here.