Bridges Program builds relationships between students and seniors


MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – A partnership between Great Lakes Recovery Centers and Pathways Community Mental Health brings together people of different generations to form meaningful relationships.

It’s called the Bridges Program. Residents at Great Lakes Recovery Center’s Adolescent Services Center meet with seniors from Pathways Community Mental Health once a week.

“A lot of the activities we do in the Bridges Program involve arts and crafts or some team building activities,” said Paul Trdan, classroom teacher, Great Lakes Recovery Centers. “Oftentimes the kids will design games for the Pathways clients and it’s just basically about enhancing and building relationships with one another.”

Trdan says when these kids come to their center, most of their life is consumed by substance abuse and alcohol addiction that they close off relationships with family, friends and community members.

“The Bridges Program kind of helps close that gap to parts of the student from their current imperfections to nurturing their best quality,” said Trdan.

Trdan shared one relationship through this program that has made a lasting impact.

“For instance I think of a time where Pathways client recently lost a parent,” said Trdan. “And one of our clients can relate on that level and they bonded from the moment they arrived and were able to work together. They share remembrance of their family members and it just kind of enhanced their friendship to another level and they still call and ask me how each other are doing from both sides. I have the Pathways client ask me how that former Great Lakes student is doing and I have students calling back to inquiry how’s my senior doing? Are they still coming? Do they still enjoy doing this? So there is something special about that specific partnership and relationship.”

For more information on the Adolescent Services Center and their programs, click here.

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