THE L.I.F.T. BRIDGES
CONNECTING, SKILL BUILDING, SUPPORT
Beginning in the summer of 2014 all L.I.F.T. Scholars have participated in the L.I.F.T. Bridge Programs where our newest L.I.F.T. Scholarship recipients have a chance to meet everyone in the L.I.F.T. family. L.I.F.T. Scholars have a space to share college and life experiences while growing from the knowledge their peers have gained along the college experiences. It is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the academic year, challenges along the way, provide a space for skill building, learn from career and health professionals, and have graduate L.I.F.T. Scholars share the next phase of their life’s journey.
Our L.I.F.T. Bridges have become a highlight of the year where we gather to enjoy a meal (during the Pandemic meeting on zoom, but still time cherished). The agenda may be to enhance study skills or work on interview and resume writing. We sometimes have guest speakers in career areas of interest from law, to medicine, to the entertainment industry, to entrepreneurship, to business, and careers of the norm like architecture or oceanography. Often L.I.F.T. Scholars have been the facilitators of the agenda sharing study abroad experiences, how to best network while at college in preparation for internships and jobs, the how-to of maneuvering the various support programs on college campuses, and tools they have found successful to keep a strong balance of wellness including discussions of seeking mental health support at college. The L.I.F.T. Bridges are a safe place to share all without judgment.
It is so important to remember every L.I.F.T. Scholar comes from underserved communities, where they are the first in their family to attend college. Statistics show that 20% of students from these families never show up the first day of college. Equally dire are the statistics that nationally 89% of low-income first-generation students leave college within six years without a degree. More than a quarter of first in their family college students leave college after their first year. L.I.F.T. Bridges provide a space for mentorship and support that continue throughout the L.I.F.T. Scholars’ college experience.