The Norman Transcript

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October 10, 2013

Program provides assistance, home to area teens in need

(Continued)

NORMAN —

“I am asking for an 8-foot-by-10-foot structure that can accommodate up to 20 and be located on the north wall of the student center, accessible through a door in an office,” Krittenbrink said. “This would be an EF-5-rated steel structure clad in brick to match the student center and attached to the existing building, so that it would blend in.”

Bridges has 20 apartments with one teenager living in each.

“They have to be going to high school in Norman. Most of our kids are between 16 and 18,” Krittenbrink said.

Most of the teens at Bridges are there because their parents are deceased, incarcerated, homeless or are unable to provide a safe environment.

Krittenbrink said it is virtually impossible to find foster care for teens. As an alternative to foster care, Bridges provides comprehensive case management and independent living skills in a safe environment.

“Just because a student is on their own, they do not get into our program,” Krittenbrink said.

Prospective clients are screened for need and their ability to live independently.

“When a student gets into our program, we focus on education, but we also get medical, dental and psychological care and cover school needs, including tutoring,” Krittenbrink said. “We work with the overall student, not just with their educational needs or financial needs.”

With storms over for a time, Sidney is working hard to have the future her parents never had. She said she witnessed their difficult lives, and now that she has a way out, she wants to grab on to the opportunity Bridges is providing.

Meanwhile, she’s hoping Bridges will have a tornado shelter before spring comes around.

Anyone wishing to donate to the safe room project can visit bridgesnorman.org and click the donate button to contribute via credit card.

Checks can be mailed to Bridges at 1670 Stubbeman Ave., Norman, OK 73069. Donors are asked to put “safe room” in the memo line.

Joy Hampton

366-3544

jhampton@

normantranscript.com

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