By Armand Manoukian
Bridge is a program at La Cañada High School that is meant to be a place for students to feel comfortable talking about their issues, insecurities, and problems. Students can apply as sophomores and juniors to be part of the program for their next school year. Each student is evaluated by the current members of Bridge and their administrator, Gavin Williams, at the required interview.
The most important thing about Bridge in times of tragedy is awareness. Junior Bridge member Summer Lichtenberg said that the first thing she does in times of a tragedy is ¨inform the members of Bridge just so that they are aware.”
She went on to say, “ I would be sensitive to people that may be going through that tragedy and being aware of people who may be in pain or are suffering, and refer them to a counselor or someone.¨
Bridge members have a reputation for being the nicest and most approachable people on campus because they are trained to be this way.
Mr. Williams explained, “They go through training to know what are state mandated reporting issues like abuse, physical abuse, or wanting to harm others. In Bridge, we do training on listening, sensitivity. Their job is to learn how to read people, ask questions, and help the people make their own decisions in solving their problems. It’s not their place to give advice.”
Rather, it seems, Bridge is a place for people to feel safe. Summer believes that she has a duty to the students as a member of Bridge.
¨We just want to reiterate the fact that there’s a support system and nobody’s alone. We’re here for student support in general,¨ she said.
They don’t disclose their known information to anybody, and as students, they’re meant to be approachable.
Mr. Williams explained, “Kids don’t always want to talk to an adult. An adult is a representation of the right and wrong with no empathy as to what’s going on.”
This is one reason as to why a student might go to a member of Bridge rather than one of the seven counselors at our school. While discussing with another teenager, a student might feel safe and free from judgement, and more comfortable opening up. This helps students receive the help they need and the comfort of being able to relate to whoever they’re talking to.
Mr. Williams believes in the importance and necessity of Bridge. He thinks that “Bridge is necessary to every school.”
“At a school where test scores matter more than life itself and stress levels are higher than anything else, you need to have the opportunity to just vent for 15 minutes. Bridge serves a purpose,” he said.
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