The Bridge has several group based programs for criminalized men, designed to meet different individual needs.
D ‘n D
Tuesday evenings 5:30 – 8:00 pm
The Dinner ‘n Discussion program involves a meal, prepared by a volunteer with the assistance of the clients, followed by a discussion designed to help the participants think about their lives differently. Topics have included anger, dealing with emotions, apologizing, power, and trust. By exploring the issues in abstract, with whatever examples come up, clients can apply the concepts to their lives without necessarily sharing a whole lot about themselves. This is important as the group, by its nature, tends to be transitory, and so does not facilitate a lot of intimacy between participants.
The Bridge Education and Social Time offers two opportunities on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. BEST serves as a drop-in so that clients can come to hang out and play board games, make art or just chat with friends. BEST also serves as an opportunity for clients to work towards achieving their educational goals. Whether one wants to finish high school as an adult, to begin or continue college or university or to talk about options and bounce ideas around, Bridge staff help to consider what kind of next steps might be possible. Staff are also available for homework or literacy help during the journey through school.
Friday mornings 10:30 – 12:00 noon
When the dishes are cleared from breakfast, the acrylic paints and canvases come out, and clients are given the opportunity to create. Most of the participants have never done this before, and for some it is intimidating. However, participants often find that they can produce work they are proud of, and subsequently hang in their homes. Twice a year, in partnership with the Helping Hands Street Mission, we host a Celebrating Creativity show where the participants can show their paintings. Some have even sold works from that show.
Friday mornings at 9:00 – 10:00 am
The Friday morning breakfast program is designed to be a light, social time that ensures that at least once a week, clients who may be struggling with depression, have a reason to get out of bed at a reasonable time. It features good food and a lot of laughter. It is also attended by a representative from Ontario Works, who is available to discuss housing and other needs with clients.
Saturday evenings 6:00 – 9:30 pm
Often people wrestling with addictions find weekends difficult, as it is a long stretch of time when there are fewer programs offered. To assist in meeting this need, The Bridge has been offering a men’s social night Saturday evenings. This night features a meal, movies, games and laughs.