Youth Development

Bridges of Light Foundation Inc.

  • Orlando, FL
  • http://www.bridgesoflightfoundation.org

Mission Statement

To build bridges to a brighter future by nurturing, mentoring, and educating at-risk Central Florida youth.

Main Programs

  1. Educational Tutoring Program
Service Areas

Self-reported

Florida

Throughout its history, Bridges of Light Foundation's purpose has been to provide specialized tutorial programs, recreational activities and life skills training to children residing in-group foster care facilities in Orange and Osceola Counties. The goal of the BOL Educational Tutoring Program, a current program, is to help give youth the ability to reach their academic potential. To meet this goal, we currently provide after-school tutoring and educational support for the children (ages 6 - 18) at Great Oaks Village (Orlando), and 6th-8th grade students at Carver Middle School (Orlando). In previous years, Bridges of Light Foundation also focused efforts on SunnySide Village (St. Cloud).

ruling year

2005

Principal Officer

Self-reported

Stacey Papp

Keywords

Self-reported

Educational Tutoring Program Underprivileged Children

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EIN

34-2000924

 Number

1272041075

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Foster Care (P32)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Bridges of Light provides much-needed assistance to at-risk youth in Central Florida. We work primarily with children and teens in the foster care system at Great Oaks Village (GOV) and students at Carver Middle School (CMS) in a partnership with Orange County schools. At both Carver, 100% of student's families are at or below poverty level. Some of the successes of the past year include: Educating: 90% of students in our program at CMS increased their GPA over course of the year. Based on year-end assessments an overall improvement in life-skills and decrease in behavioral incidents was also reported. Mentoring: Through our life-long mentoring strategy, we have helped two of our students from GOV earn full-tuition scholarships to college this year. They join the 38 others who have gone on to college over the life of our program. Nuturing: This year we have expanded our ""Closets of Care"" program, which provides donated clothing and toiletries, to Eccleston Elementary. Goals: we are a growing organization with great demand for our programs. In the coming year we will be working toward following priorities: * Bringing our services to children and young adults at the foster facilities of Edgewood Children's Ranch in Orange County and The Village in Seminole County. * Expanding the Educational Tutoring Program to Eccleston elementary, giving younger students the chance to get on the path to success. * Increasing our staff to include a case-worker to serve the residents of Great Oaks Village. This position would ensure a successful transition from child to adulthood and help the client maintain the level of success we have helped them achieve. * Exploring the development of a standard curriculum for the ETP that could be implemented at school districts in our city, state, and beyond. This curriculum would increase our impact far beyond what our small staff can do.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Educational Tutoring Program

The Educational Tutoring Program offers educational support for young people in foster care facilities and children in families living below the poverty level. Focus is placed on developing a strong academic foundation that aids the children in creating and achieving their goals. The Educational Tutoring Program enables these children to achieve a level of academic success that qualifies them for college scholarships and ensures they enter adulthood with the life skills and self-confidence needed to become productive members of society.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

$155,000.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Bridges of Light was founded in 2004 with the objective of raising money for distribution to abandoned, neglected, abused, and at-risk youth in Central Florida. From these simple beginnings we have grown into a thriving educational non-profit serving hundreds of children and teenagers throughout the Orlando area. These children through no fault of their own, often find themselves falling behind their peers in key developmental areas of educational achievement, behavioral issues, societal acceptance, and long-term life success. We believe that in each child there is the potential to lead a healthy, happy, and productive life regardless of their social, economic, or emotional challenges. By investing in these children, we can build bridges to not only a better future for them, but for our community as a whole. In our mission to help the youth we serve reach their full potential and break the cycles of poverty and abuse that have dictated their lives, we have identified three key needs that must be met: the need for education, the need for nurturing, and the need for guidance. To that end, we have adopted a three pronged approach to meeting those needs. * Nurturing: Our ""Closets of Care"" at local schools offer much needed clothing, food, and supplies for children to take home. * Mentoring: through a life-long mentorship program we help children succeed and build confidence by offering guidance, emotional support, and aiding them in the development life-skills as they grow. * Tutoring: Bridges of Light has created a unique way to increase academic success by providing a one-on-one tutoring program to our students. Over the past 12 years, our services have successfully grown from a handful of local children to a foster care facility, and most recently has been brought into the Orange County School System, starting at Carver Middle School. Our programs impact the lives of our future generations and bring hope to children who need it most. Our long-term goal is to provide our services and help to any at-risk child in our community who needs them and within the next few years we hope to expand our reach even further. Currently we have demand for our proven successful programs in foster care facilities and schools across the Central Florida area. Through the investment of monetary and personnel resources we hope to be able to meet this demand through a combination of staff growth and a scaleable curriculum. We know to combat the societal problems we face with cycles of poverty, abuse, and crime in our communities, we must help the children affected by them to imagine a better life for themselves and provide them a path to it. We must help them build a bridge of light.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    In order to expand our programs to more locations, we are seeking funding from foundations, corporations, and individual donors to provide the capital needed. We have already received requests from two foster-care facilities that they would like our help with their populations. We only need the funding to be able to implement our programs. We are actively seeking this funding through grant proposals, special fundraising events, sponsorships, and recurring gifts from the community and our supporters.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Thanks to our history in the community, and our incredible partners, such as City Year, the James R. Smith Neighborhood Center, Orange County Public Schools, Fuel my School, and the After School All-Stars nationally and in the Central Florida area, we believe we have the resources to be able to make this goal a reality. We have over a decade of working with at-risk youth in the Orlando area. In this time-frame we have developed an infrastructure and programmatic support system that is tested, effective, and replicable. These years of experience leave us well prepared to expand to new locations and help more students.Our board, staff, and supporters are passionate about our cause and highly motivated to see it succeed and grow. Our diverse board of community members each contribute his or her expertise and our staff, while small, performs their duties efficiently and to the highest standard of quality. We are grateful to be located in a community where so many corporations, foundations, and individuals see and understand the needs of these children and young adults and more importantly, understand the positive effect helping them break the cycle of poverty that has been manifest in their upbringing will have on our community. Through our outreach and specialized fundraising activities, we are able to secure from them the necessary funding to continue our important mission of building bridges to success for those in our community who most need them.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Each of our students are evaluated before beginning the program to determine strengths, areas for improvement, and overall vision for success in the short and long-term. Personalized plans are created to measure academic metrics such as GPA and bench-marking test scores. Goals are also set in regards to non-academic skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, organization, and persistence. Each month, reports are initiated by our tutors and submitted to our Program Director to communicate progress, successes, and areas of concern whether academic or personal. Each of these reports is evaluated and the pertinent next steps taken to reward and bolster success and correct missteps or declines toward goals. At the end of the year tutors create a comprehensive report on the students that allow us to track overall progress toward goals in the areas indicated and can act as a proactive measure for the next school year. In this way we can advance each child academically and personally, creating a strong bond and relationship that keeps them on track until graduation and beyond. We pay close attention to the net gains and weaknesses of all our students and track our success in terms of GPA increase, higher test scores, better attendance, and graduation rates. In a more qualitative way we also track progress toward personal goals such as improved coping skills, interpersonal communication and relationships, and decreased disciplinary issues. We aim to improve not only academic performance, but build critical life skills for our students.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    We have seen great success in working with these types of populations. With 90% of our students last year demonstrating a increased grade point average and many reporting a marked improvement in areas such as self-confidence, interpersonal relationships, and disciplinary issues. Due to the uncertain nature of the lives of some of our students, not all are able to remain with our program through high-school graduation but of those who do, 90% have gone on to pursue a college degree in either a two or four year program. In fact, in 2015, two of our students received full-tuition scholarships.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Florida

Throughout its history, Bridges of Light Foundation's purpose has been to provide specialized tutorial programs, recreational activities and life skills training to children residing in-group foster care facilities in Orange and Osceola Counties. The goal of the BOL Educational Tutoring Program, a current program, is to help give youth the ability to reach their academic potential. To meet this goal, we currently provide after-school tutoring and educational support for the children (ages 6 - 18) at Great Oaks Village (Orlando), and 6th-8th grade students at Carver Middle School (Orlando). In previous years, Bridges of Light Foundation also focused efforts on SunnySide Village (St. Cloud).

Funding Needs

With rapid growth and an increased demand for our programs and services, Bridges of Light is seeking assistance in the following areas: Monetary Donations: The continued success and growth of our organization relies solely on the generosity of corporate, foundation, and individual donors. Our top funding opportunities are: $50,000 to expand our services to Edgewood Children's Ranch and The Village, foster care facilities in Orange and Seminole Counties respectively.$50,000 to fund a Bridges of Light case-worker for the residents of Great Oaks Village, a foster care facility in Orange County.$200,000 to create a scalable, standardized curriculum for our successful Educational Tutoring Program that could be implemented at schools throughout our city, state, and beyond.$50,000 to fund a Director of Education position to oversee, implement, and manage the creation of a standardized curriculum both at launch and in an ongoing capacity.$50,000 for the expansion of our space through a new rental property as we have outgrown our former home and have a new programmatic need to store and sort in-kind donations as a part of our Closet of Care Program.These are specific projects and priorities but unrestricted gifts of any size are also greatly valued and needed. In-Kind Donations: At our Closets of Care, we provide for the physical needs of our students in addition to the cognitive and emotional. Having clean, well-fitting shoes and clothing and access to basic supplies and toiletries can make a world of difference for our clients who face poverty daily. New or gently used clothing, toiletries, school supplies and bicycles are always accepted and appreciated. Volunteers: The BoL model works so well because of the people who make it happen. Volunteers are always needed to act as mentors to our students, help with office tasks, sort and store donations, and more!

Accreditations

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External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

BRIDGES OF LIGHT FOUNDATION INC
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Bridges of Light Foundation Inc.

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2015 and 2014
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Stacey Papp

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"We cannot possibly express our gratitude for the continued generosity that we have seen over the years as the positive lifelong effects of the participants have become more and more evident. We are inspired by the potential for greatness shown by each child. The rewards are phenomenal. Speaking as someone who has worked personally with these children, the lasting impression that knowledge and exposure to life outside of the group home has on these young adults is truly priceless. Supporting future leaders and entrepreneurs who will shape our society is of the utmost importance, and it is refreshing to know people are equally as passionate about taking a stand and making a difference in the lives of underprivileged youth."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Stacey Papp

Bay Hill Jewelers

Term: Jan 2004 - Jan 2017

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?