We are an organization of former teachers, tutors and volunteers who are intent on doing good things. We saw a need being unfulfilled and realized that we could make a difference in the Charlotte area refugee and immigrant community.
We bring communities together to learn from each other and ensure that every newly arrived and first-generation American child has the same opportunities to live a happy, fulfilling childhood. We believe that teaching children to be kind and respectful will make a difference in the way they behave as adults.
We are not faith-based, or geared towards soccer or a particular sport. We also have a student-led educational component. We follow what the schools are teaching but create units that interest and apply to our kids.
We take pride in listening to the children. We believe that supporting their socio-emotional development is as important as helping their academic achievement.
Their fears, their questions and their interests shape our curriculum. We put them before numbers and data, which unfortunately, is not a common approach.
And because ourBRIDGE kids and families are for the most part long-term participants of our program, we develop strong bonds and relationships with the children and their parents, watching the children grow and celebrating the milestones of their lives.
Over the years we witness their transformation from not speaking English to becoming outspoken, confident and proud students.
We get referrals from area schools; recommendations from current families that we serve; and in the summer we go out to the community to advertise our services.
Because new immigrants are usually located in the same geographic areas, we discovered that word of mouth is the best way to share our message and touch as many lives as possible.
Our staff have taught ESL for many years and have found that a hands-on approach to language acquisition is the most effective method – children learn by being involved.
Our language program is based on real-life applications – such as field trips to area restaurants and stores where our kids use their language skills to order food or purchase items.
ourBRIDGE offers a place where children from many different countries can feel free to express themselves; celebrate who they are and their unique culture; and learn the value of respect and understanding of other cultures. ourBRIDGE is also a great resource for parents.
In addition to ESL classes, we have family nights where everyone comes together to share a meal.
Parents get a chance to meet each other and share their common experience of being immigrants.
Research shows that this growing segment of the population is highly entrepreneurial and provides critical economic support to the Charlotte area.
A report by the Americas Society and Council for the Americas and the Fiscal Policy Institute states that “there are 5,393 business owners who are foreign-born representing 16.3 percent of all businesses…and 32.6 percent (1,986) of all Main Street businesses are immigrant owned.”
These new arrivals to Charlotte bring a strong work ethic, impressive educational background and innovative approaches.
We do not ask the family’s legal status when a child is enrolling.
We believe that every child who is learning to speak English or speaks another language at home, needs love and support to understand that speaking two or more languages is a skill that will help them greatly in the future.