Bridge Program Expands to Third Location
AULA’s Bridge program, which offers free college courses in the humanities to adult students living on a low income, is now offering classes at a third location in Long Beach. The Bridge program, which currently hosts cohorts on the AULA campus and in Boyle Heights, will now serve up to 90 students per year.
While there are programs that offer job-skills training for low-income adults, core curriculum college programs, especially for adults, are scarce. Students come to Bridge through community organizations from around Los Angeles including, transitional residencies, adult day schools, community centers, and shelters.
All the necessary expenses are included – Bridge pays their tuition, books, supplies, even bus tokens and refreshments the nights of classes. Unlike many programs that offer skills training for low-level jobs, Bridge was designed to impart academic skills.
Classes include philosophy, literature, art history, and writing, as well as a course in which students study Los Angeles neighborhoods before working with community members to design and implement a service learning project. Bridge also offers GED support and ongoing post-program support.
Bridge students earn up to 15 college credits, which can be applied toward an undergraduate program. Many go on to complete their degrees, some even on to graduate degrees.
Beyond the opportunity to attain college credits, the Bridge Program provides a support structure that gives students the opportunity to achieve their dreams and make a greater contribution to society.
“Bridge is about so much more than free college classes,” said program coordinator Misty Spicer. “It’s about a non-traditional community of support for intergenerational students, from ages 18 to 65, who come from very diverse backgrounds. We try to the eradicate injustice for people who go against the odds to have a seat at the educational table.”
Bridge is led by program director Kathryn Pope. Site directors include Tim Malone – AULA campus, Cindy Short – Boyle Heights, and Russell Thornhill – Long Beach. Since its inception in 1999, more than 500 students have completed the program.
Manuel Mora from the Bridge program speaks at AULA’s 2014 Commencement