Model Program

Bridges to a Brighter Future

Furman University
3300 Poinsett Highway
Greenville, SC 29613

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Contact Information:
Ms. Pam Davis

Program Specification:






Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness

Age/Grade Level:

Target Settings:

Target Groups:

High School




Other Participation Criteria:

All Ethnicities

Eligibility for free/reduced lunch; 3.0 grade point average; need for support


Bridges to a Brighter Future is a nationally recognized college access and pre-college academic enrichment program. The mission is to equip low-income students with the tools and support needed to overcome barriers, graduate from high school and enroll in post-secondary education. Bridges accomplishes its mission by engaging students with life-changing experiences that build academic success, self-confidence, resiliency, leadership, life skills, coping skills, college admissions skills, and character. Students participate in an intensive four-year program that includes a four week, three-summer residential experience; formal year-round academic support through Bridges Saturday College; and upon graduation from high school and enrollment in college, Bridges students receive continued support and services during the freshman year of college through Bridges Crossing the Bridge. As a result of the program quality and outcomes, in 2009 Bridges was awarded the prestigious Summer Excellence Award from the National Summer Learning Association.

Program Descriptors Include:
Academic Improvement, Counseling/Advisories/Coaches, Extended-School/Summer Program, Study Skills, Life Skills Training

Starting Date: 1997
Students Served Per Year: 50-250
Last Verified: 2010

Risk Factors:

Protective Factors:

Program addresses the following:

Individual factors

  • High number of work hours
  • High-risk peer group
  • High-risk social behavior
  • Highly socially active outside of school
  • Low achievement
  • Low educational expectations
  • Lack of effort
  • Low commitment to school
  • No extracurricular participation

Family factors

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • High family mobility
  • Low education level of parents
  • Large number of siblings
  • Not living with both natural parents
  • Family disruption
  • Low educational expectations
  • Sibling(s) has dropped out
  • Low contact with school
  • Lack of conversations about school

School factors

  • Limited resources: expenditures per student/ teacher salaries/ student-teacher ratios
  • School size: too small/too large
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Student engagement

Community factors

  • Family composition/socioeconomic status
  • Local labor market/neighborhood stability
  • Youth social attitudes

Program promotes the following:


  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Opportunities and rewards for pro-social involvement
  • Clear social norms
  • Good relationships with parents, peers, and teachers
  • Involvement with positive peer activities
  • Perception of support from adults and peers


  • Healthy/conventional beliefs and standards
  • Positive/resilient temperament


  • Social competencies
  • Self efficacy


  • Problem-solving skills
  • Flexibility


  • High expectations by community, family, school, and self
  • Optimistic


  • Academic support
  • Help students to address problems that interfere with learning

Program Resources:

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is $200,000 - $500,000 or over $2000 per student.

Funding Sources Include:

Program Staff Includes:


Graduation Coaches

Materials Used:

Supporting / Partner Organizations:


Greenville County School District

Evaluation Information:

Since the inception of the program, 100% of program graduates have earned a diploma or GED; and 93% have enrolled in college.

How evaluation data was collected:
Data collected and analyzed at school/district level
Data collected and analyzed at state or organizational level