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Bridges Program
"Connecting urban youth with educational and economic opportunity"

A program provided by
The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges

brochure pdf version

The Goal

The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC) Bridges Program connects urban youth in the major cities of Ohio with the higher education community by collaborating with churches, faith-based networks, local school systems and OFIC member institutions to assist students in forming and realizing their dreams of college attendance.  The Bridges Program strives to change the view that many urban students have of college – an unrealistic and unattainable goal that is available only to students from privileged backgrounds.


Ohio loses too much of the human capital of talented urban youth to this mindset.  This erodes the economic base of our state and, more importantly, prevents individuals from attaining their full potential.


Bridges works with youth within the environment of their local school systems and faith communities –  “safe havens” from urban pressures.  Using the supportive and affirming environment of the students’ teachers, pastors, and other adults of influence in their lives, the Bridges Program seeks to establish for these students a vision of higher education that is desirable and attainable.


The Bridges Program will continue to engage students after the initial seminars by providing further sessions that help them transition into higher education.  All sessions provide presenters who serve as successful role models and who can help the students create a vision for their futures.

John F. Kennedy Students of Promise ninth grade young men and women have successfully participated and completed OFIC Bridges Session One: Creative Problem Solving; primarily addressing the value of higher education, its application in the real world and the different pathways one can opt in order to achieve particular life goals. In addition to the interactive and experimental learning seminar, students' questions were addressed and financial options were discussed as it relates to post-secondary education.



Colleges Supporting Our Students

OFIC is also currently collaborating with thirteen of its member colleges and universities located in northeastern Ohio and beyond and is leveraging the strong and long-standing campus connections that exist between OFIC member institutions and faith networks as well as high schools. Participating colleges and universities are:

Baldwin-Wallace College

Heidelberg University

Hiram College

John Carroll University

Kenyon College

Notre Dame College

Oberlin College

Ohio Northern University

Ohio Wesleyan University

Ursuline College

Walsh University



Students who complete the Bridges Program are eligible for significant scholarships at select OFIC member colleges.  Depending upon the number of Bridges program sessions completed by the students and other specific criteria, annual scholarships will range from $1,000 to $10,000.



Did You Know? – The lifetime earning of a four-year

college graduate is approximately five times

 that of a high school drop-out?

--US Census Data

Bridges Program: College Readiness Curriculum

The Bridges Program curriculum is a four-year program that begins in the freshman year of high school.  Eight (8) seminars are offered to students within that four-year cycle.  The purpose of the seminars is to help students gain personal awareness and understanding of the need for higher education in modern society.  Students will be actively engaged in experiential learning activities that challenge them to blend academic, social and interpersonal skills that are so important in working and living in a multi-cultural and urban environment.  These seminars are combined with college “readiness” workshops.  The curriculum sequence for the Bridges Program is:

Session #1 Fall – Year I

  Seminar:  Creative Problem-Solving           

Session # 2 Spring -- Year I

   Seminar:  Interpersonal Communication Skills


Session #3 Fall -- Year II

   Seminar:  Effective Questioning                  

Session #4 Spring -- Year II

   Seminar:  Planning Your Financial Future 


Session #5 Fall – Year III

   Seminar:   Arranged College Visit               

Session #6 Spring – Year III

   Seminar:  Effective Leadership and Mentoring


Session #7 Fall – Year IV

   Seminar:  Decision-making               

Session #8 Spring – Year IV

   Seminar:  Time Management and Goals




Funded in part by



AT&T Foundation

FIHE/CIC First Opportunity Partner Venture Fund

GAR Foundation

The Martha Holden Jennings Foundation

JPMorgan Chase

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Nord Family Foundation

Reinberger Foundation

Third Federal Foundation

FIHE UPS Venture Fund

Wal-Mart First Opportunity Partners Fund




For more information on the

Bridges Program or to register, contact:


Brandon Scarborough

Bridges Program Manager

P. O. Box 28364

Cleveland, Ohio  44128



logoBridges is a program offered by

The Ohio Foundation of

Independent Colleges

250 East Broad Street, Suite 1700

Columbus, Ohio 43215



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250 East Broad Street
Suite 1700
Columbus, OH 43215
Ph: (614) 469-1950
Fax: (614) 469-4733

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