The Bridge Academy is a replication of the Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program out of New York, NY. The program uses a long term, holistic approach to empower youth, to help them develop personal goals and the desire for a productive future, in addition to developing their sexual literacy, educating them about abstinence, and the consequences of sexual activity. Guided by a philosophy that sees youth as “at promise” instead of “at risk,” The Bridge Academy works to develop a participant’s capacity and desire to avoid pregnancy. The program model also provides opportunities for young people to discover interests and develop talents. The program is a traditional after-school program that meets Monday through Friday during the school year. In addition, a six week summer program is offered.
The model includes seven fundamental components:
1. Education: Daily homework help, remediation, and enrichment with trained
teachers and tutors driven by Individual Academic Plans (IAP) for each participant;
2. Employment: Weekly exposure to the “world of work,” including earning stipends, opening
bank accounts, exploring career choices, and participating in entrepreneurial projects;
3. Mental Health Services: Weekly discussion groups led by social workers, individual
counseling, case management, and crisis intervention as needed;
4. Family Life and Sexuality Education (FLSE): Weekly comprehensive, scientifically accurate
sexuality education sessions taught in an age-appropriate fashion by a trained professional;
5. Self-Expression: Weekly music, dance, writing and drama workshops led by theater and art
professionals, where youth can discover talents and build self-esteem;
6. Lifetime Individual Sports: A fitness program emphasizing sports that build self-discipline and
can be played throughout life, including golf, bowling, squash, swimming, and others;
7. Assistance in obtaining access to health care inclusive of medical, dental and vision services.
The program was developed by Dr. Michael Carrera in 1984 and is the only fully evaluated teenage pregnancy prevention program with statistically proven effectiveness in the country. The Carrera program has yielded a 50% reduction in birth rates in communities served in New York and a multitude of other positive youth development outcomes, including: increased likelihood of high-school graduation and college admission; increased employment experience; more bank accounts; and increased use of private physicians instead of emergency rooms.
Some of Our Core Beliefs
Young people are priceless – they are not disposable, and they have no expiration date.
Young people are filled with gifts and talent. Our work is called “Treasure Hunting “.
We do not prevent teen pregnancy – young people do.
A pre-condition for learning and change is frequent and close contact with caring adults.
The most powerful practitioner tool is caring.
There is not genius to parenting or working with young people – simply outlast them.
Young people must see their worth in our eyes.
If we do not care, we do not count.
The difference between good and great is large in effect, but small in effort.
The deep emotional truth of our work is that young people are more important than we are.
Ongoing work with young people is urgent. We need to be desperate to help.
Dr. Michael A. Carrera
© 2006 Carrera