Project Bridge leaders celebrated for persistence, grace at quarterly luncheon

A year ago, you might not have called Angel Salazer-Hernandez determined.  With an arrest record that never quite matched his quiet and gentle demeanor, he was on a road to nowhere – fast.

But on Friday, June 23, almost one hundred people gathered at Keiser University in Sarasota, Florida to celebrate a group of young men and women – Angel included – for being leaders in Eckerd Connects’ Project Bridge program.

Through Project Bridge, participants are given a unique opportunity to grab a hold of their second chance.

“At first I denied the services through this program,” said Angel. “I didn’t think I needed help. I wanted to do this on my own, but that pretty much brought me back to my old and original habits. That was going to lead to me back in handcuffs. So, I decided to go ahead and see what could happen. I called Project Bridge up. They helped me get to where I am today.”

Angel’s is a story mentors at Project Bridge have heard repeatedly. Still, they never tire of it.

“This is why we’re here,” said Hope Cross, career service coordinator. “These kids have poured their hearts out. It took grace and hard work, but they’ve come a long way. We’re looking forward to seeing what their future has in store.”

From GED prep courses and mock interviews, to job placement, music lessons and family-style barbecues, program employees like Hope and many others make in their mission to mold their services to the students they serve.

A special thanks to Keiser University, guest speaker Jason Caras, and Koryo Photography.