The mission at The Bridge Center lies within its name. The organization recognizes the social, physical, and emotional gaps that can exist between young people with disabilities and their community, and devises methods to bridge them. For the families and loved ones of these children and young adults, that gulf can seem hopelessly wide. But the center?s staff?professionals in fields ranging from special education to speech pathology?understands their concerns, and designs programs to help them thrive. Participants might fish, play soccer, or swim at one of the center?s nine-week summer camps to work on self-esteem and friendship-building, or develop balance and communication skills through equine-therapy-based horseback-riding lessons. As subjects get older, the curriculum tackles age-appropriate topics such as vocational training and independent life skills so they can become contributing members of society.
These programs are made possible by a 20-acre campus designed specifically for the center?s programs, where youth can learn, grow, and make friends in a safe environment. Here they do everything from play in the grassy fields to ride horses in the Riding Center?s indoor arena, and it?s all accessible to every visitor. In fact one of the founding principles of The Bridge Center was that no child should be turned away due to financial impediments, and the center strives to provide scholarships whenever the need arises.
Starting Friday, October 5 at 6 p.m. and running through Monday, October 8, O Fest RI, spearheaded by Doherty's East Avenue Irish Pub, celebrates autumn with beer, live music, and general merriment. The festival features fall-themed libations from as far away as Germany itself—with Oktoberfest brews from Spaten, Hofbrau, and Paulaner—and those from closer to home from brewers such as Harpoon, Sam Adams, and Shipyard. In addition, the festival will feature a lineup of musical acts, including What Matters and Those Guys.
Doherty's East Avenue Irish Pub, whose whopping 82 taps helped earn it an award for Best Bar and Beer Selection in The Phoenix's Best of Providence 2011, will anchor the celebration from their dark-wood bar. The bar itself serves a host of culinary treats from Prince Edward Island mussels in zesty zuppa sauce to blackened jerk salmon. An outdoor patio plays host to al fresco dining and lassoing the moon to impress dates.
Drawing creative inspiration from hobbies that include crafting and cooking, photographer Jennifer Owens specializes in capturing spur-of-the-moment images of engaged couples, families, and newborns. She also shares her expertise in classes that introduce beginners to concepts such as adjusting ISO settings on a digital camera or using the right shutter speed for moving subjects. Owens is equally comfortable in outdoor settings, and can demonstrate how to take advantage of the magical "golden hour," the time around dawn or dusk when the sun adds warmth to portraits and turns photographers’ photos of raw pizza dough into fully baked pizzas.
Erin Brenton has believed in the possibility of transformation ever since she transformed her own life, marred by tragedy, into one of health and joy. When she was 9, she and her sister, Heather, were traveling door to door selling Camp Fire Girls of America items when the pair were struck by an underage drunk driver. The crash cost Heather her life and left Erin with severe head and leg trauma. Supported by her parents, friends, and eventually her own loving husband and kids, Erin learned to deal with the physical repercussions of that accident. To honor her sister’s memory, she decided to help others find their own health and happiness through exercise and support. To that end, she started Girls on the Go to make a place where people of all ability levels can enjoy physical activity and strive for healthier bodies.
She and her team of instructors now fill each week with a variety of original fitness classes, from women’s boxing to men’s speed and agility training. Erin also leads one-on-one personal-training sessions and the Driveway Divas fitness program, for which an instructor comes to clients’ homes for small-group training.
Books Through Bars, Inc. provides free reading materials for prisoners across the country. Every month, it receives more than 120 letters from prisoners requesting books. The organization responds by sending donated volumes from individuals, libraries, and community organizations, making selections based on the stated preferences of the inmate. Reading the books provides a productive activity for the inmates and can help them develop politically, spiritually, and academically during their time in prison.
The Magical Moon Foundation helps children with cancer find the warrior within by knighting them into the fellowship of Rainbow Warriors on a mission to change the world in honor of their disease. Magical Moon outfits the children in knight's garb, including a tunic and headpiece, dubs them with a knightly name, and equips them with a sword for the knighting ceremony. After, they can seek out and fulfill personal quests to help improve their communities and achieve personal goals. In the past, knights have raised funds to cure their diseases, designed an art-therapy room for other children with cancer, and studied pediatric oncology to help fight illness.