To the editor:
Bridgewell celebrated its first Day of Giving this week, and I wanted to take this moment to thank and recognize the community and businesses in the greater North Shore-area for their more than 60 years of continued support. With that support, Bridgewell have been able to give back to the community by providing an unmatched range of social and human services that empower people with disabilities and other life challenges to live safe, self-directed and productive lives.
Over the past six decades, Bridgewell has grown from its humble beginning as the Child Guidance Center in Lynn — a small storefront at the corner of Broad and Chestnut streets — into a nationally recognized organization. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our employees, many of whom call the North Shore home, the generosity of volunteers and donors, and support from our community partners, our vision to empower people has become a reality. Collectively, you’ve helped provide thousands of people in our care — many of whom we call friends, neighbors and family — with critical support.
The inspiring, humbling stories of the strength and growth of people in Bridgewell’s care are too numerous to count, though I’d like to touch on a few. There’s the story of Bill, homeless for six years, who was able to recover from surgery at Bridgewell’s Recuperative Care Center and move into his own apartment with Bridgewell’s Affordable Housing program. There are young women like Jessica and Trisha, who while struggling with substance use disorder, learned about motherhood and recovery at Bridgewell’s Johnson Street, Women’s Program. I’m pleased to say they’ve both reclaimed their lives and been able to maintain their sobriety. I must also mention Tina, who received treatment at one of Bridgewell’s clinics, is now happy, healthy and working full time. Through Bridgewell’s services, people like Bill, Jessica, Trisha and Tina have been able to set out on a new path on life. Their progress wouldn’t have been possible without the continued support from the local community, whose generosity have made an immeasurable, positive impact, on the lives of the people we serve.
I’d also like to recognize the North Shore Navigators, North Shore Community College and other local companies that, over the years, have provided people participating in our Employment Support Program access to meaningful work. The program relies on small-business owners and larger organizations alike, who are committed to making a difference by employing people with developmental disabilities, physical limitations, and/or medical or behavioral challenges. Despite progress, people with developmental disabilities are 80 percent unemployed and are more likely to have a harder time finding employment. Though together with the North Shore community, we’re transforming lives and opening doors and opportunities not just for the people in our services, but for area businesses. One recent example of successful implementation is that of Pride’s Deli and Pizzeria in Beverly. Through our Employment Support Program, owner and general manager Victoria Baker, the most recent recipient of Bridgewell’s Champion Award, employs several people in our services to work in her business and make nearby deliveries.
As we at Bridgewell reflect on decades of kindness and generosity exhibited by so many, I challenge members of the community to think about how you can continue to make a positive impact and help improve the lives of people in our services. The hard work and dedication exhibited by our staff will always be critical to the success of our mission, but we can’t do it alone. We need you — our friends, neighbors, local businesses and area residents — to help ensure that Bridgewell continues to empower people with disabilities and other life challenges to live full, independent lives.
President and CEO