Specials available for those who register early
The mission is clear:
“We want to give every child in foster care a chance,” said Lynn Miller, chair of Bridge the Gap, a nonprofit organization in Clark County that provides opportunities and fulfills the needs of children.
“We pay for enrichment activities,” she said.
That could be horse therapy. Or music therapy. Tutoring. Maybe an ASB card at school. Or prom dresses.
A request from the child goes to the foster parents, then the parents get a hold of the social worker. If the request is approved, Bridge The Gap enters into the equation, paying directly to the business, ensuring the child receives the services.
The organization, which started in 1999, just wanted to “give every child a childhood,” according to its website. Bridge the Gap helps children in Clark, Cowlitz and Skamania counties.
On its website now is also a link to its new fundraiser. Normally, the group has a champagne brunch in the spring. That was called off, so organizers are going online this year. The virtual auction is set for Dec. 5-9. Miller said people are encouraged to register early for special deals.
Bridge the Gap began as a way to give Christmas gifts to children in foster care, noting that they were often lost in the shuffle, especially those who had moved during the holiday season.
In the organization’s growth, it became clear that the children could use more than gifts during the holidays. If children wanted extra help in their studies, Bridge the Gap could find a way.
Years ago, a teen had an interest in photography. Bridge the Gap paid for a photography class. That teen, now an adult, is a professional photographer.
“We have worked tirelessly since the inception of Bridge the Gap,” Miller said. “We believe it is an integral part of the success of children in foster care.”
These days, the emphasis is on education.
“We really push tutoring,” Miller said. “We want the graduate rate to keep climbing amongst foster children.”
Miller noted that when a foster child changes locations, it can be the equivalent of losing three months of education.
“Every time they move, they have to start again,” Miller said.
Bridge the Gap looks for ways for those children to have a smoother transition.
Of course, providing more than gifts meant the organization needed more funds. When Miller learned of Bridge the Gap, she volunteered to help it grow.
“It makes me very sad when children are not loved. That has always bothered me. It just breaks my heart when I know children are not being treated well. It spoke to me,” Miller said.
“I had a very clear vision where I felt we could take this organization and the good we could do.”
The champagne brunch event has been so successful through the years, it kept outgrowing its locations. In 2019, more than 400 people were at the event held at ilani.
Now, the goal is that those people will attend virtually at the online fundraiser.
There are auction items, gift trees, and mystery boxes. Can’t say what’s in the mystery boxes — naturally — but buyers will be impressed, Miller said.
For more on Bridge the Gap, go to its website: https://bridgethegapforkidscc.org/index.php
And for a look at some of the auction items for the online fundraiser, go to: https://btg2020.ggo.bid/bidding/package-browse
“I’d like to thank our sponsors for the event, and we so appreciate all the community does for Bridge The Gap,” Miller said.