Reviewing photos during our 2006 Face-to_face exchange
Dear Friends of Bridges,
Change is equal parts challenge and opportunity. Like all organizations, Bridges to Understanding has gone through many changes since its inception by Phil Borges more than ten years ago. Each transition has made it stronger and better. This time is no different.
I am very pleased to announce that Bridges’ board has accepted a proposal to transfer Bridges’ educational content and programs to Teachers Without Borders, a Seattle-based nonprofit with the mission of “connecting teachers to information and each other to create local change on a global scale.“ With a worldwide community of teachers, TWB’s outstanding education programs are “conceived, developed and led by teachers connected by information and each other in order to address demand-driven needs and ensure long-term impact.” By transitioning Bridges’ programs to this outstanding organization, they will be made available to many more teachers and students around the world than Bridges is able to achieve.
Founded in 2000, the same year that Bridges was launched, by Dr. Fred Mednick, a neighbor of Phil Borges, TWB provides “tools and mentorship to bring together the global teacher community.” Working “online, in schools, under trees, as booklets and on the radio,” TWB’s educators “visit fellow teachers’ classrooms, work in teams and learn interactively from colleagues.“
Bridges is being given a new home under TWB’s Peace Education program that is designed to help teachers lead the way towards peace in their classrooms and communities. Well-aligned with Bridges’ mission, it provides teachers with “a framework for peace education, contributing to the growing movement towards a global culture of peace.” The addition of Bridges will expand and enhance this initiative according to TWB Executive Director, Konrad Glogowski, giving it “a stronger focus on classrooms, youth, storytelling and 21st century literacies.” The Bridges name will continue to be used to identify the program that will include Bridges’ curriculum, online learning community, teacher training workshop and online training webcast, award-winning classroom programs and discussion forums.
TWB will be reaching out to the many teachers, principals and partners in Seattle and around the world with whom Bridges has enjoyed strong relationships over the years, welcoming them into the TWB community and providing support to ensure the ongoing delivery of Bridges programs in classrooms in Seattle and across the globe.
I also want to thank Joyce McClure, Executive Director, who has been at Bridges’ helm for the last 2½ years, working tirelessly to prepare Bridges for its future growth and expansion. Thanks to her vision of what Bridges could be, the programs will live on for many years to come. Joyce is working with the Board during the transition and will move on to her next opportunity upon its completion.
I want to give special thanks to Jennifer Geist, Bridges’ International Program Director, for bringing this extraordinary opportunity to Bridges. Jennifer has been instrumental in leading the development of Bridges’ content and programs for several years and has been invaluable in helping with the transition to TWB. She continues to work with other clients in support of greater cross-cultural understanding among students around the world.
Bridges’ board joins me in extending thanks to Tania Westby, former Program Director, and Annie Von Essen, former Communications and Marketing Director, for their dedication and hard work in getting Bridges to this stage in its development. Tania devoted many years to Bridges and is now with Seattle Public Schools as a service learning coordinator, Annie has launched her own consulting business, a dream she has had for some time. We wish them every success in their new endeavors.
Joyce, Jennifer, Tania and Annie are only a few of the hundreds of outstanding people who have helped Bridges achieve so much in its first decade – teachers, principals, students, staff members, volunteers, board members, supporters, interns, parents and many others. Thanks to Phil’s vision of “a harmonious, interconnected world in which youth are actively engaged as responsible global citizens,” each of these supporters have helped Bridges give the opportunity to thousands of students to learn about each other by sharing their stories and their hopes.
Please join me in continuing to support global education by joining the TWB community as a donor, a volunteer, an advocate or a member of this community of educators that is striving, often against great odds, to make a difference in the world through education.
For more information, please contact: Konrad Glogowski, Executive Director, Konrad@teacherswithoutborders.org
Chair, Board of Directors