1. Emotional support: our staff and volunteers, who are trained to provide our services through love, empathy, trust, caring, and an open ear. W
2. Instrumental support: tangible services we provide to our youth, which includes helping them and their families understand their rights and to assist with social grants or other resources as needed. We will also advocate for our youth where possible.
3. Informational support: advice, suggestions, and factual information to our young people and their families on how to better their conditions. We have access to social workers, medical staff, police, and other professionals who can supply much needed information.
4. Appraisal: while each young person at Building Bridges is a part of our community, they also have their own dreams and talents. We use a strengths based approach to working with our youth so they have a chance to gain meaning from the healthy things they love.
1. Academic support through creative and interactive means, avoiding "school after school" programming.
2. Healthy recreation related to better learning, physical well-being, and motor development, including youth safety.
3. Mentorships and apprenticeships with local college students and professionals lending to positive attitudes towards learning, emotional regulation, and healthy
relationships with successful adults.
4. Learning practices that highlight skill advancement,
while accommodating youths' gifts and talents.
Experiential & Community Learning
1. Community public achievement projects that address environmental sustainability, social justice, and community and public health challenges, including substance abuse and gangsterism.
2. Educational and cultural excursions that excite our youth and place them in the context of history so they can better understand our multicultural
society, current challenges, and see themselves in the freedom fighters of our past.
3. Partnerships with AspireYouth, South Africa to support youths' economic freedom, sustainable business opportunities and employment, ethical practices, social investment, and skill development.
A Broken Circle
When the circle is broken, the young person experiences their self adversely, while feelings and perceptions about self then tend to result in behaviors that “shut others out” or push people away. A typical response from adults is “fear,” anger, or a need to punish or hurt; adults will also prevent the young person from the very activities needed for growth. “Moral panics” about “who young people are” can ensue detraction attention away from the real issues behind gangs, harmful behavior, substance abuse, and more (oppression, discrimination, poverty, racism, and the like). While all aspects of the circle are essential for balance, belonging and mastery are the foundation steps towards generosity and independence.
The Circle of Courage
Source: Reclaiming Youth Network. “The Circle of Courage Philosophy.” 2007.
At Building Bridges, we aim to adhere to The Circle of Courage in all that we do. In South Africa we use the Circle of Courage because it is closest to African traditions and it captures the developmental approach within an appropriate indigenous model. This is a model of positive youth development first described in the book Reclaiming Youth at Risk, co-authored by Larry Brendtro, Martin Brokenleg, and Steve Van Bockern. The Circle of Courage is based in four universal growth needs of all children: belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity.