The program, Bringing Rigorous Instruction, Determination, Guidance to Everyone, or BRIDGE, is a catalyst program for Marlboro County to reach out to at-risk students and help them develop life skills.
The BRIDGE program consists of many programs, including having students work with trainable mentally disabled students and working at the district’s alternative schools, including AMIKIDS School of Infinity and Camp Bennettsville.
MCHS Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps instructor Lt. Col. Justin Blum oversees the BRIDGE program, and said it’s important for his cadets to be leaders.
“It’s important for our cadets to get involved with individuals and groups that need a little bit of extra help. It helps them understand in life when there are people who need help, we need to perform selfless service,” Blum said.
The high school’s Cadet Major Alexis Freeman said she wanted to get involved when she heard what the BRIDGE program was all about— she now is the captain of a step team at Camp Bennettsville.
“At first, it wasn’t always easy to get in with (the students) because we weren’t used to each other. … The main thing I like about it is I’m able to communicate with other kids the same age as me and show them it’s OK do to what you like,” Alexis said.
Her sister, Captain Alexandria Freeman, is also involved, especially when it comes to working with the trainable mentally disabled students at the high school, even during her summer break.
“I like helping people, and that’s what I want to do in the future. That’s what I love to do. Of course, I could be doing something else, but to give my time and know I’m doing a good thing is just fine,” Alexandria said.
The BRIDGE program operates in conjunction with the Bennettsville Police Department’s Crossroads Program.
One more example of the great work being done by JROTC leaders in South Carolina's schools. Take a moment this week -- what an appropriate time to do it -- to send an email of thanks to the one(s) serving the high school in your area.