PRESS RELEASE– Thirty years ago BRiDGES was founded to give a voice to people with disabilities living in Rockland County. BRiDGES, which stands for Building Relationships – Investing in Diversity – Genuinely Empowering Self, provides extensive services based upon a philosophy of Independent Living that respects each person’s right to make autonomous decisions regarding every aspect of life.
On March 9, the agency celebrated 30 years of advocacy and leadership on behalf of people with disabilities. One of the original founders, Charles Davis, Esq, was on hand for the event and continues to advocate for people with disabilities. Thanks to the generosity of several local business sponsors, the event was open to all stakeholders to attend free of charge.
The featured speakers at the event are each persons served by the agency, who shared their own stories, and how BRiDGES helped them be more independent:
William Smith – Veteran, Certified Public Accountant, voiced issues related to military service including PTSD, Recovery and how the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Program has both helped him adjust to civilian life while also affording him the opportunity to help others.
Edwin Raoul – shared his story of participating with the Rockland County Re-Entry Task Force, for which BRiDGES implements Case Management and offers evidence-based services of Thinking for Change and Ready, Set, Work!
Yolette Vilsaint – shared her story from seeking assistance to securing benefits to gaining meaningful employment through BRiDGES.
Sophia Lamy – gave her voice to her family’s experience of emigrating from Haiti in 2008 to seeking assistance with benefits and now working at BRiDGES.
Milton Koja – gave voice through his musical talent, playing the piano throughout the event, and through his personal story.
Patrick Hennessy – voiced his story of living with cerebral palsy to find purpose through meaningful employment at BRiDGES, where he helps others by working with Managed Care Organizations to ensure authorization for services.
BRiDGES, formerly known as the Rockland Independent Living Center, partners with more than 30 Rockland County agencies and organizations to ensure that every person with a disability receives quality services that help Rockland County be a fully accessible, integrated community, promoting health and autonomy for people with disabilities.