Developing Confident Leaders at the Bridge of Light Club


Imagine that you’re an elementary school student. Your mom works hard to take care of you and your siblings, but there’s not always enough money to pay the bills and buy groceries. The neighborhood you live in is affected by gangs and drugs. On top of everything else you’re behind in school, and although you’re trying hard to bring your grades up, you’re worried that you won’t pass this year. These are just some of the many challenges that the kids who attend the Bridge of Light Club may face.

This club supports children and families as they navigate these challenges. In that regard, it is more than an after-school program. It is a close-knit community where kids feel safe and experience God’s love in tangible ways. Joe Yagelski, our Community Engagement Manager, oversees the club. His goal is to help the students who attend discover the strengths God has given them and to give them a strong sense of purpose. He says, “I love seeing the transformation that occurs in a person when they start realizing that they are special and important. Most of us are acutely aware of our flaws, but many of us don’t know how we are uniquely gifted. Bridge of Light is a constant reminder to the children that they matter in this world.” 

The Bridge of Light Club serves elementary and middle school students. It meets twice a week during the school year for tutoring, character development, and fun activities that engage the students. The most important part of this club is the relationships being built among the families who attend and the volunteers who show up each week to support and encourage them. By helping these students see their value and realize their strengths, we can develop confident young leaders who will make a difference in their community.

Bridge of Light is important for so many reasons. Two of the strongest indicators of success for students are literacy and the knowledge that they are part of a community with adults who care for them and support them. We have the opportunity to invest in these wonderful young people, giving them tools that will help them succeed and assuring them that they have a community that loves and supports them.
— Rev. David Chambers, Hope Community ECC