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We Help Youth in Crisis.

Volunteer Kickoff: Jan 20

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Join our group of volunteers to help organize our annual fundraising dinner. We will be meeting at The Bridge for Youth’s Community Room (1111 West 22nd Street, Minneapolis) from 5pm – 6:30pm.

This is a fun way to network with other professionals and help homeless youth.

For more information, email Mark.


Mental Health Assessments for Teens

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No child should suffer from untreated mental health issues.  No parent should have to live in fear about the emotional well-being of their child.

Free mental health assessments are available to any child between the ages of 10-17 at The Bridge for Youth.  If a mental health diagnosis is made, parents can then advocate for services from health care providers.  The counseling team at The Bridge for Youth can assist parents in navigating the health care system to ensure that each child receives the care they need.

Call 612-377-8800 to make an appointment.

PRIDE at The Bridge for Youth: Booth BO37

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so what if i am flagJune is a time to celebrate diversity at The Bridge for  Youth.  The Twin Cities PRIDE festival is a call to action for all people gay, straight, and in between to appreciate how rich our world is with an array of talents, skills, perspectives, and experiences.

Long before it was popular, The Bridge stood by LGBT youth.  In the early 1970’s when The Bridge was founded, staff welcomed lesbian,  bi-sexual, transgender, and gay teens, recognizing that these children needed love, acceptance, and guidance.   That work continues today at The Bridge and our counselors play a role in bridging the gap between LGBT youth and parents when conflict arises about identity, gender, and lifestyle.

There continues to be a disproportionate number of homeless youth who identify as LGBT.  These young people struggle with  parent, family, and community acceptance and depression, mental health and chemical addiction issues are higher than in the general youth population.

The Bridge for Youth offers core services that support straight and LGBT teens.  LGBT specific services include commitment to a facility that is designated a safe place (visible signs in the building), all staff trained in best practices for working with GLBT youth, intentional use of diverse populations in marketing materials, private room for transgender youth in our Emergency Shelter, hosting a weekly support group for GLBT teens, and supporting youth in the community with specific outreach strategies.

Here’s how you can support our mission:

3 Ways to Support The Bridge for Youth and LGBT Teens:

  1. Visit The Bridge for Youth’s Booth BO37 at Twin Cities PRIDE.

  2. “Like” our new facebook page So What if I Am?

  3. Read the recent article in Lavender Magazine about our weekly LGBT teen support group, So What if I Am?  (see page 160) and share it with teens

In the Fall, The Bridge for Youth will host an event for parents of LGBT Teens.  With 40+ years of expertise working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning teens and their parents, we can provide helpful information that will support and sustain family relationships.

Youth Sex Trafficking in Minnesota: How does it start?

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sey_youthIt’s hard not to notice 14-year old,  Jasmine.  With a winning smile and a personality to match,  she lights up a room.

Like other girls her age, Jasmine enjoys clothes, boys, and adventure.  She loves hanging out with friends and dislikes the restrictions her Mother tries to impose upon her.

Jasmine works at keeping things fun.  In a group of friends, she doesn’t have to think about what’s happening at home.

For the past three years, Jasmine’s Mom has struggled with addiction.  In and out of treatment, her Mom has been unable to stay employed.  Jasmine and her two siblings have bounced around from apartment to apartment, and now are doubled up with relatives.

No one’s paying much attention to Jasmine.  Hurt, lonely, and longing for stability, Jasmine runs away, taking refuge at a “friend’s” apartment.  The “friend” is charismatic, good-looking 19 year-old Jay.  Jasmine always felt important when Jay complimented  her on her good looks.   Jay treated Jasmine like an adult and she felt a thrill when she was able to command his attention.

Jasmine stayed for a few days at Jay’s, where she was treated royally.  She returned home but continued to seek Jay out.  Soon, she was bragging to her friends that she had a new boyfriend.  She belonged to someone important.

A few months into their relationship, Jay began testing Jasmine. First, she asked her to dance at a private party.  Jasmine was a good dancer and she didn’t want to disappoint Jay.  She convinced herself that the dancing was no big deal.

The dancing was a big deal.  It marked a change in Jasmine and Jay’s relationship.  Jay began to demand more of Jasmine.  When she tried to refuse, Jay countered with violence and threats.

How many girls like Jasmine seek attention and love while underestimating risks to their personal safety and well-being?  When does a bad situation become life-altering?

In Minnesota, the average age at which a girl commercially trafficked for sex al sex is thirteen.  The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota reports that each month in Minnesota 214 girls are trafficked several times a day through the internet and

Identifying children on the cusp of commercial exploitation is critical to prevention, yet it’s difficult.

“There are a lot of stories that kids want to keep  hidden,”  said David Mathews, Director of Clinical Programs at The Bridge for Youth.  ” Creating a safe environment for kids and building trust are essential to helping young victims.”

In January 2014,  a new Minnesota law, decriminalizing prostitution for children 16 and under, went into effect.  Instead of treating these minors as criminals and taking them to jail, law enforcement now sees these youth as victims.  They are more likely to be returned home or brought to a place like The Bridge for Youth,  a therapeutic shelter just for children ages 10-17.

With the onset of the Safe Harbors Act, David Mathews and his team at The Bridge for Youth developed a new intake procedures to help identify youth at-risk for or engaged in commercial exploitation.  Teams have also developed  new counseling approaches to help with intervention and healing for this target population.

One such approach, Restorative Parenting, aims to re-engage parents with their children despite the presence of significant emotional trauma. “It’s never too late for a parent to re-build a connection with their child, even in the face of something like violence, sexual abuse, or sex trafficking.

For additional information, attend The Bridge for Youth’s educational forum, “Youth Sex Trafficking: Who is at risk? Where does it start?” on Tuesday, March 18 from 2:00 -4:00 p.m. at Temple Israel.



Sounds of Giving Musicians Perform Live!

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In the true spirit of giving, local musicians contributed time and talent to create, Sounds of Giving, a CD of holiday classics, with proceeds benefitting The Bridge for Youth.  The CD features an eclectic mix of holiday classics plus three original tunes.  From smooth r&b, to rich gospel and be-boppin’ jazz, Sounds of Giving delivers an assortment of rich sound just in time for the holidays!

Donate $25 to The Bridge for Youth and Sounds of Giving can be yours.  Donate online  here and choose to have Sounds of Giving mailed to your home or have a digital download emailed to you.

Or, get Sounds of Giving at these upcoming music performances.  Join keyboardist Tommy Barbarella, Sarah Morris, Davina and the Vagabonds and other Sounds of Giving artists at these live performances.

Sarah Morris

(Left) Davina at her piano. (Right) Vocalist Sarah Morris.

Sarah Morris Holiday Show,  Wednesday, December 18, Dakota Jazz Club

Davina and The Vagabonds, Friday, December 20, Dakota Jazz Club

Alison Scott, Dec 27 and Dec 28, Chanhassen Dinner Theater

Upcoming Events

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Information Sessions and Tours: December 11, 3:00 p.m.  and January 23, noon.

Want to learn more about The Bridge and its mission?  Interested in understanding issues surrounding  youth homelessness?  Or, curious about services and programs The Bridge offers families or kids?  Join us for a monthly information session and tour.

Discussion about Youth Homelessness.  Guthrie Theater,  post-play discussion following A Christmas Carol.  (tickets required).  December 8 and December 20.

Sounds of Giving Holiday CD.   Live music performances.  Enjoy live music by musicians who contributed to the holiday CD.  CDs available at these shows, with your $30 donation.  Tickets to shows may be required.

Award-winning local musicians give back to benefit The Bridge.  Their collaboration on Sounds of Giving, a holiday CD featuring 10 tracks of classic holiday favorites, will support operations at The Bridge.   With a $30 donation, order your  CDs  – or pick up Sounds of Giving at these performances.   Get ‘em while they last!


Tommy Barbarella & Sounds of Giving musicians, Thursday, December 12 , Ice House.  9:30 p.m.


Sarah Morris Holiday Show, Wednesday, December 18, Dakota Jazz Club.  No cover.  Enjoy award-winning cuisine, great music, and $10 bottle of wine.

Davina and the Vagabonds, Friday, December 20, Dakota Jazz Club.  8:00 p.m.  $15 cover.  “Easily among the breakout stars at this year’s Monterey Jazz Fest.”


LGBT Round-table Discussion with Congressman Keith Ellison

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The Bridge for Youth hosted a round-table discussion with Congressman Keith Ellison on youth homelessness on Wednesday, June 13 from 10 a.m. to noon.  Non profit and civic leaders from across the metro area attended the event to learn how homelessness effects the LGBTQ community.