The Bridging the Gap Program (The Bridge) was designed by a group of collaborators to provide supervision and assistance in an effort to keep more East Chicago students in school. They received funding through a grant from the Foundations of East Chicago. While the program provides different things for students of all ages, one of the original goals was to impact ‘at risk’ teens and help them to turn themselves around. This has primarily been enacted through Tau Alpha Gamma, Inc, or TAG.
TAG works with The Bridge to offer middle and high school students involved in the program six workshops a year. These workshops cover the topics of anger management, healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, problem solving, job applications and interviewing, applying for college and scholarships, healthy dating and relationships, alcohol and other drug issues and gangs and the streets.
The students involved in TAG also subscribe to a point system. They can earn points by doing things like helping the younger students in The Bridge, volunteering, getting HIV tested, putting in job applications, taking GED courses, joining school clubs, improving grades and attendance and many other things. The participants then exchange their points for snacks, extra privileges and other rewards.
TAG also offers a work-study component where students may receive stipends for doing work in the program’s garden or completing janitorial tasks at the center.
All of the aspects of the TAG program address the issues of falling grades, poor attendance, lack of academic support and low self-esteem that students who are at risk of dropping out experience. For more information on The Bridge’s TAG program and other programs, visit foundationsec.org.