How was your Bridge?

Thank you for joining us at this year’s Bridge Conference: Forging Brighter Futures. We would love to hear about your experience. What were the highlights? How was the venue? How can we improve?  Please complete this evaluation form by November 20th. It only takes 5 minutes! Share your feedback STARS credit Workshop certificates have been added to all applicable workshop sessions and STARS credit has been updated for attendees. If you do not see credit in your MERIT account, reach out to us at Accessing materials Materials from your sessions are still available in Sched. Please follow the directions below to access session materials, … [ ]

Bridge Conference 2023 Highlights—Forging Brighter Futures

What an event! Together, we set out to Reflect, Connect, and Reimagine our work to advocate and uplift the young people around the state of Washington. With our collective wisdom and knowledge, we achieved our goal. Now, we have a rejuvenated pathway to Forging Brighter Futures.  Where are you rooted?  On Bridge day one, we opened the conference with a powerful message from our keynote speaker, Melannie Denise Cunningham. Her talk centered on our foundation and how we show up for ourselves and others. Ms. Melannie challenged us to reflect on our upbringing and on the cycles of socialization that … [ ]

Bridge 2023 closing plenary: Mobilizing for a Brighter Future

What role do we play in forging brighter futures for young people? Through youth and community voice, collective action and advocacy, and the resourcing and development of our rich tapestry of providers and programs, we create the conditions for all young people to be healthy, thriving, and reach the future they envision. In this closing session, we will hear from a panel of national and local leaders about how the youth development sector can be mobilized to move us toward our goal of building sustainable systems that elevate and empower young people and their communities.  Come ready to be inspired and called to … [ ]

2022 Bridge Conference Reflections

Conferences are a time to learn, reconnect, and dream a little bigger. At this year’s Bridge Conference, there was an undeniable hum of excitement in the air. We were back together, in-person, after two years of connecting virtually. Youth development leaders, community workers and organizers traveled from across the state and beyond to hear from one another. Lines formed at registration as early as 7:30 AM and groups gathered with their pastries and coffee waiting for the first plenary to begin. Tanaya Winder grounded the crowd of over 530 in intentionality and the hard work of the “heartwork.” From there … [ ]

Celebrating queer youth leadership, every day.

An oasis is defined as a, “peaceful area in the midst of a difficult or hectic place.” For LGBTQ youth in Tacoma,  Oasis Youth Center  is just that.  For more than 36 years it has been a place of joy, community, and understanding. Their mission is to, “transforms the lives of queer youth by creating a safe place to learn, connect, and thrive.”  “Oasis believes that queer youth are amazing leaders that have the ability to change the world,” said Siggy Frank, Program Manager at Oasis Youth Center. Frank was introduced to Oasis at 14 years old  and participated in … [ ]

Graduate Tacoma and the spirit of collaboration.

Graduate Tacoma is a community-wide movement of more than 350 cross-sector partners across the full education ecosystem. The Foundation for Tacoma Students (FFTS) plays a unique role in building and strengthening the community-wide movement to help every child achieve success from cradle to college and career. “The most unique thing we see [in Tacoma] is the spirit of collaboration. How do we make sure that students have access to all of our programs or how do we make sure folks know what kinds of programs we have and fill gaps where we know there aren’t enough programs? That spirit of … [ ]