Jillian Randolph, a 2015 alumna of St. Paul’s School for Girls who now attends the University of Virginia, said her career focus on global community development was shaped by her experience volunteering with Bridges over four years.
“I would not be where I am today without Bridges,” she said. “It’s easy to not think about the world around you, but Bridges serves as a reminder that there is a greater world outside of your private school bubble, and here’s your connection to it.”
Jillian decided to major in global development studies and joined a research project in Cape Town, South Africa. Although the research was not initially focused on youth, she proposed a new project on youth engagement and received grants to support it.
“My career path is in global development and community development. And this path started with Bridges,” she said. Without Bridges, “I wouldn’t have been able to understand the importance of working with youth, especially teenagers.”
Collin first started volunteering with Bridges as a sophomore at St. Paul’s School, beginning an 11 year long commitment to the program.
In high school, Collin continually volunteered with students in our school year and summer programs. During college, Collin came back each summer to work as a head counselor. After school, he spent 2 years as a full-time Bridges employee.
Now, at 27 years old, he volunteers his time with Bridges high school students, some of the same students he supported in his early years at the program.
“Recently, a student who I tutored in math when he was a sophomore shared with me that he has grown into a math peer tutor during his senior year. Playing a small part in his development is a special experience I would not have received through another volunteer role.”
Spencer volunteered and worked at Bridges for 7 years from 9th grade at St. Paul’s School through his junior year at Denison University.
“My experience with Bridges continues to shape me as a person to this day,” Spencer remarked when we caught up with him in Harlem, where he works to provide student athletes with academic support, leadership training, and more.
At Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership, he has found a way to combine his love of lacrosse with his passion for working with children, which he says was first realized at Bridges.
As his college graduation approached, Jesse was thinking a lot about what he wanted to do with his life.
His mind kept turning back to a pivotal experience from his past: the years he spent volunteering at Bridges.
Jesse volunteered in Bridges from the summer after his freshman year at St. Paul’s to the summer after his freshman year in college, by which point he was the head counselor. Upon graduation from Vanderbilt, he taught physics at Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School through Teach For America.