Lori Costantino-Brown received the Healthy Start Coalition of Orange County Family Advocate Award in May 2016. It was given in recognition and appreciation of the care and support that Lori Costantino-Brown and Bridges International has always given to Families in the Orange County community.
The Auburndale Bridge was recognized as the December 2015 “Business of the Month”. The City of Auburndale would like to recognize The Auburndale Bridge for their longevity, their investment in the community, and the support they provide for the citizenry of Auburndale.
In September 2014 our President Lori Costantino-Brown received the Women of Achievement Nonprofit Award from the Women’s Executive Council. Lori accepted the award on behalf of BOA for our work in transition and re-entry services with criminal justice populations.
In July 2014 Fort Pierce Work Release Counselor Katherina Van Matre was selected as the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FADAA) Clinician of the Year. This award, which was presented at the 2014 FADAA conference in August, honors agency staff who provide direct care services and demonstrate superlative ability in the field of substance abuse treatment, mental health, co-occurring or prevention services. In 2002 Vice President Charles Brown was selected as FADAA’s Person of the Year.
In April 2014 Bridges International President Lori Costantino-Brown was nominated by the Florida Parole Commission as a White House Champion of Change for Re-Entry. The White House honors local Champions of Change who are doing extraordinary work to facilitate the re-entry and employment of the formerly incarcerated.
In July 2013 Bridges International received the Distinguished Re-Entry Service Award from Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency Chapter VII. The award recognizes outstanding contributions indicative of the leadership, commitment, hard work and professionalism required to successfully implement Florida’s Re-Entry initiatives towards public safety, reducing recidivism and providing services to assist inmates in a smooth transition back to their community.
In June 2013 Bridges International was awarded a Global Partnership Award from the National Partnership for Community Leadership. Since 2012 we have been in partnership with the Washington, D.C. organization led by Dr. Jeffrey Johnson, President/CEO, and his Program Manager Jack Johnson. Dr. Johnson is focused on obtaining funding for community-based responsible fatherhood programs and funding to assist with permanent employment, prisoner re-entry and criminal justice reform.
Bridges International has participated in the Annual International Fatherhood Conference for the last two years, and in 2012 five of our inmates were featured as “Favorite Fathers” for maintaining an active role in their children’s lives despite their incarceration. The partnership with NPCL has enabled us to expand the Nurturing Parenting Program from the Broward Transition Center to the Orlando Transition Center.
In May 2013 Bridges International was selected to pilot Sesame Street in Communities’ newest toolkit initiative, Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration, to the caregivers for children of incarcerated parents. In August 2013 the Orlando Bridge Transition Center launched the official partnership with Sesame Street in Communities by hosting a Back to School Family Fun Day with over 500 attendees. Each child received a brand new back pack full of school supplies and a Sesame Street incarceration toolkit complete with a DVD, booklet and online resources.
In March 2013 The Broward County Bridge was awarded a $10,000 grant in conjunction with Nova Southeastern University and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office to supplement the “Nurturing Parenting Program” provided by Family Central of Broward. The program teaches fathers how to engage their children in healthy ways.
In 2012 The National Fatherhood Initiative awarded Bridges International a capacity-building grant in the amount of $25,000. We were honored to have been selected from the 406 applications submitted by organizations throughout the country. The capacity-building funds are used to advance adult literacy and foster a better relationship between our inmates and their children. The Fatherhood Initiative’s mission is to improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible and committed fathers.
The Quality of Life Grant was awarded to The Broward County Bridge in 2012 through the continued collaboration and evaluation efforts of Dr. Lindsey Vigesaa, Nova Southeastern University Assistant Professor, Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Vigesaa’s areas of academic focus are institutional and community corrections, prisoner reentry, gender, race, and criminal justice, and criminological theory. The grant funds are being used improve the quality of life for Broward County residents by increasing public safety, reducing recidivism among paternal inmates and decreasing the likelihood that children of incarcerated fathers will engage in delinquent/criminal behavior.
In January 2011 Bridges International partnered with Broward SCORE (Senior Core of Retired Entrepreneurs) to run a 10-week Small Business/Entrepreneurship Training Program. SCORE instructors teach Bridges International inmates the basics of small business start-up and operations (e.g. developing business plans, marketing, customer relations, how the stock market works, etc.). SCORE also assigns mentors to each of the business students. At the end of the course inmates compete for the Best Business Plan and all course completers earn a SCORE Small Business Training Certificate.
In 2010 Bridges International partnered with the Dave Thomas Education Center in Broward County to create a unique program for English Speakers of Other Languages. This was in response to the need for programs for the growing number of non-English speaking inmates. The ESOL program is the first of its kind among Florida state transitional work release facilities. Using innovative computer software ESOL students practice their English speaking and listening skills for up to two hours a day.
Bridges International is the only substance abuse treatment provider that is a Florida Ready to Work Assessment Center and currently provides the opportunity for inmates to earn a Florida Ready to Work Employment Credential. BI continues to rank among the top performers for inmates receiving Florida Ready to Work certificates. In 2009 the Broward County Bridge was chosen by Florida Ready to Work/ACT WorkKeys to pilot the newly developed WorkHabits computer courseware which is being utilized in all of our work release facilities.
In 2007 The Bradenton Bridge received the distinction of International Presidential Distinguished Chapter from Toastmasters International for their “Toastmasters N Transition” chapter.
The Exemplary Inmate Program Award is presented annually to an outstanding correctional program by the American Correctional Association. In 2001, when the Florida Department of Corrections was honored with the prestigious Exemplary Inmate Program Award for the Non-Secure Drug treatment Program, Bridges International had been the largest provider of services for that branch of the Department for the past 16 years.