In just one year since its founding, Sylvania’s neighborhood bridges has made an impact on 1,874 local students and families. The anniversary was celebrated with a ribbon cutting at the Fire Station 64 on Sylvania Avenue Jan. 6.
The mission of the 501(c)(3) organization is to bridge members of the community with schools to provide basic needs and remove barriers for students so they can engage and succeed in school and life.
This was launched in Sylvania last January after one of the local organizers, Karen Smith, by chance learned of the neighborhood bridges program. She knew it could be a useful tool for the Sylvania area. She enlisted the help of Dolli Darah and the two were off and running.
“On almost day two we established drop-off locations at Fire Station 4, now 64, on Sylvania’s west side and Fire Station 3, now 63, on the east side of town,” Smith said. “That was thanks to our partnership with the Sylvania Township Fire Department.”
Smith and Darah continue to raise awareness of neighborhood bridges throughout the community and establish partnerships with other organizations. They are involved with the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce and participate in many community events showcasing how neighborhood bridges brings the needs of children and their families to the attention of those in the community who want to help.
“This organization is well-named as it really does offer a ‘bridge’ to children and their families who need help with those who are willing to help,” said Sylvania Area Family Services Executive Director Dottie Segur. “Karen reached out to us early and we were most eager to partner with neighborhood bridges.”
“This is so beneficial to so many and is helping so many people,” Segur added. “We saw first-hand the impact neighborhood bridges makes when it puts out its call for items and the community answers.”
“Our paramedicine group learned about neighborhood bridges and reached out to them offering our stations as drop-off sites,” noted Sylvania Township Fire Chief Mike Ramm. “We do more than just put out fires. We are here to help people in the community. The department is very happy to be associated with a group whose mission is also to help people.”