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Dan Rather reports on The Bridge for Youth

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"The Ides Of March" New York Premiere - Arrivals

Dan Rather chronicles failed international adoptions across the United States.

In his two hour documentary, Unwanted in America, the Shameful Side of International Adoption, Dan Rather explores what happens when international adoptions fail.  And, when they do fail, what happens to unwanted to unwanted children?  Some get placed with new families, others are abandoned and become homeless.


Touring Ethiopia, Mexico, and the United States chronicling the stories of several families, the team from Dan Rather Reports landed at The Bridge for Youth in Minneapolis.  There they followed the story of a young man, adopted from India, who became homeless when family conflict could not be resolved.


Dan Rather Reports: Unwanted in America, The Shameful Side of International Adoption, can be seen on AXS TV on Friday, December 5th – Sunday, December 7th.  Local cable channel listings and transcripts of the program available for download.  Click here.

Congressman Ellison Drops in for a Visit

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How old is Congressman Keith Ellison? Ask teens at The Bridge for Youth.

After learning that the Congressman would be touring the Transitions Program at The Bridge, teens in the program did some research. They learned that Ellison had celebrated his 51st birthday the day before. 

So, they did what any good host or hostess would do.  They baked him a cake.

When the 5th Congressional leader arrived, he was greeted by a group of 16 and 17 year olds, singing “Happy Birthday” and presenting him with a chocolate-frosted cake, topped with an American flag. 

After touring The Transitions Program, a recent recipient of a 5-year Federal Grant totaling almost $1 million, Representative Ellison joined the teens for a discussion.    

“Never let your life circumstances dictate your future,” advised Minnesota’s 5th District Congressional leader. “There are 7 billion people on this earth and every one is unique, with a unique gift. Find out what yours is.” 

Ellison did more than talk.  He was a keen listener, probing each youth about their hopes and dreams for the future.  He encouraged teens to be active citizens, stay in school, and explore financial aid opportunities to attend college. 

Keith YTCP

At The Bridge for Youth, Congressman Ellison reviews a prototype of a new mobile app designed to help homeless youth.

The new technology will improve how youth in crisis are connected with services. 

The launch for both services is targeted for early 2015. 


Chemical Health Support Group for Teens

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CHEERS, The Bridge for Youth’s chemical health support group for teens now takes place every Monday from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. at The Bridge for Youth.

The group is open to any youth ages 13-17.

Facilitated by Bobby Frost, a chemical health  counselor with over 30 years experience in the field, the group offers a safe, confidential place to talk about chemical health, drug and alcohol use, family substance abuse, and related issues.

Teens are encouraged to make their own decisions and learn from others in the group.

Questions?  Call 612-377-8800 and ask to speak to the Counseling Services Team.


LGBT Teen Support Group featured in Lavender Magazine

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Kristan in Safe Space 2014

Kristan Clow facilitates a weekly GLBT support group.
Photo by Brett Dorian Artistry Studios.

The Bridge for Youth’s LGBT teen support group, “So What if I Am?” is featured in this month’s Lavender Magazine in the 2014 Pride Edition.

Read the article here.

So What if I Am?, started in the 1990s, is the longest, continous running support group for LGBT teens in the Twin Cities metro area.  The group meets every Tuesday at The Bridge for Youth.  Any GLBT teen is welcome.  The group’s structure includes a drop-in and social time from 4:30-5:00 p.m. and a facilitated group, led by Outreach Manager Kristan Clow, from 5:00 – 6:3o p.m.

“There aren’t a lot of safe, gathering places for LGBT teens in the Twin Cities or in Minnesota,” said So What If I Am? group facilitator Kristan Clow.  “This group is a place where teens can meet other teens like them, talk about issues, be open, make new friends, and find support”.

The group draws from all over the Twin Cities Metro area.  Parents drop teens off and other teens arrive on their own.  Participants are middle school and high school age youth between the ages of 13 and 17.

The Bridge for Youth, located at 1111 West 22nd Street in Minneapolis, helps youth in crisis.  Services include a 24-hour crisis hotline for teens and their families,  an emergency shelter for youth 10-17, on-site long term housing for 16 and 17 year olds, and free counseling.  All services are free and confidential.

For information about programs and services at The Bridge for Youth, call (612) 377-8800.


Health and Human Services awards nearly $1 million to Transitions program

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – (April 7, 2014)

The Bridge for Youth, a Minneapolis-based non-profit serving runaway, homeless, and abandoned youth, is pleased to announce its Transitions program has been awarded a five-year $930,000 grant by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

“This is a huge win for the youth in our community and it allows The Bridge to continue to positively impact the lives of youth and families in crisis,” said Dan Pfarr, Executive Director at The Bridge for Youth.

The five-year grant provides $186,000 each year for up to five years for the program, which provides shelter for up to 18 months, counseling and case management, life skills education and support for youth ages 16 and 17 who are unable or not ready to return home due to family conflict, homelessness, abandonment, or other circumstances.

“Extended-stay shelter and services have been part of our programming  since 1997,” continued Pfarr. “However, in 2013, we saw a change in societal needs and re-engineered Transitions to better meet the needs of our youth. We believe this grant award signals a vote of confidence in The Bridge’s new Transitions program model.”

The Bridge for Youth is one of 24 non-profits across the country to receive this funding from the Health and Human Services department.

About The Bridge for Youth

The Bridge for Youth, a 43-year old organization, serves homeless, runaway, and abandoned youth. Core services include a 24-hour crisis hotline for youth and families and 24-hour emergency and extended-stay shelter for youth ages 10-17.  The newly expanded Counseling Services Program provides free walk-in and by-appointment counseling and support groups for kids, parents, and families.

WCCO Reports on Crisis Line Shut Down at The Bridge

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Due to a phone scam, The Bridge for Youth’s regular crisis line phone number 612-377-8800 is not operable today.

Youth or parents in need of assistances should call The Bridge for Youth’s business line:   612- 230-6601.  Counselors will answer this phone to assist with any crisis.

WCCO News reported how the phone scam and extortion unfolded at The Bridge.

Read WCCOs News Report here.  The story introduces a new term to describe this type of phone scam, TDOS (telephony denial of service).

Crisis line technical difficulties – call 612.230.6601 instead

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We are experiencing technical difficulties with our crisis call line.

For help, please call 612.230.6601 or email

We will post when the regular crisis line is back up.

Thanks for sharing the word.

Interns: The Backbone of The Bridge

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interns jan 2014

Interns begin their 9-month program at The Bridge for Youth with an in-depth training program led by Supervisor Shirley Carter.

On a cold Saturday in January, Shirley Carter appeared front and center at The Bridge to welcome her 47th class of interns to The Bridge.

As Education and Training Supervisor, Carter plays a critical role role at The Bridge recruiting, screening, training, and managing over 100 undergraduate and graduate level interns each year.

Schooled in psychology, marriage and family therapy, and social work, these students learn on the job, working alongside The Bridge’s professional staff.

Staffing a 24-hour operation like The Bridge can be difficult and expensive. In 2013, Carter’s interns contributed over 17,000 of labor saving The Bridge $155,000 in labor costs. That goes a long way in the non profit world.

Carter is skilled in recruiting interns who can withstand a rigorous program, committing to 400 hours of service over a 9-month period including a 6-week training program.

There’s not much room for error. If interns don’t work out, that can leave The Bridge short-handed on the staffing side and can result in an intern without a placement.

Professors, deans, and college administrators around the state trust Carter and her exceptional program. After interning at The Bridge, their students at Augsburg College, St. Kate’s, University of St. Thomas, Bethel College, and St. Mary’s have moved on to rewarding careers in counseling, social work, and non profit management.

As for Carter, her contact list of professionals in the field continues to grow

Find Counseling for Teens and Parents at The Bridge

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Does your teen have trouble controlling anger of aggression?   Are you worried about harmful behavior like cutting, substance abuse, or hanging with the wrong crowd?  Are mood swings becoming too much to handle?

Every teen deserves opportunity to succeed in life.    When things start to spiral out of control, getting help from a professional may make a big difference for your child’s future.

Uninsured, under-insured, and insured families can access a variety of free mental health and counseling services at The Bridge for Youth.  Located just a block off of Hennepin Avenue in Uptown, The Bridge has been helping teens and families for over 40 years.

Trained counselors staff the Bridge’s 24-hour crisis hotline.  Teens and parents phone when they need  to blow off steam about a family crisis or when they need help for a more serious family crisis.

If  you suspect your child has mental health issues stemming from trauma, physical or sexual abuse,  depression, or peer issues,  you may want to get a diagnostic assessment for your teen.   Assessments provide new information on how to address difficult behavioral issues.

15-year-old Antoine was a frequent runaway.   His Mom was angry and frustrated that Antoine wouldn’t follow rules.  After Antoine was charged with a petty theft, she was ready to give up.

Antoine’s Mom dropped him off  at The Bridge for Youth’s Emergency Shelter.  She needed to cool down.  After spending a few days getting to know Antoine, a counselor at The Bridge suggested Antoine undergo a diagnostic assessment.     The results of the assessment have dramatically altered Antoine’s relationship with his Mom.

“I had overlooked some issues that Antoine was dealing with.   He had experienced a lot of trauma at a young age.   And, he had some physical limitations.  The assessment indicated that Antoine’s decision-making skills and cognitive abilities were like those of  a 10-year-old.”

This information felt right to Antoine’s Mom.   But, now what?

Working with new information, Antoine’s Mom and her counselor identified ways to modify parenting expectations and techniques.    “I couldn’t expect Antoine to act like other kids his age.   I needed to be more patient, give him easier instructions, and write things down.”

The parenting tips helped.  Antoine sensed a difference in his Mom and he too worked to change his behavior.

Each month, the family meets with a counselor at The Bridge to stay on track.   Insurance pays their cab fare to their therapy appointment.

Walk-in and appointment-based counseling services are available Monday through Saturday at The Bridge.   Teens are also encouraged to drop in, particularly during after school hours from 3-5 p.m.

Call 612-377-8800 for information or to schedule an appointment.   Additional information can be found at