Since our founding in 1969, the Bridge has been a beacon of hope for the children, adults and families in the community. Though there have been changes in our name and our services, and we have expanded and become a multi-service agency for the Greater Hartford area, we maintain our commitment to helping children, youth, adults, and families meet life's challenges and build fulfilling lives.


Executive Director Dick Jackson on the phone

Bridge founder and first Executive Director Dick Jackson, alarmed by growing drug use among teenagers, begins training volunteers and peer counselors to reach out to these alienated young people in West Hartford, CT.


Group of males sitting in circle

The Bridge opens a drop-in center in the YMCA annex on North Main Street in West Hartford to provide a social alternative to the drug culture, and a place where young people and adults could meet, talk, and solve problems. 


Group of people chatting

The Bridge moves its counseling center and offices to the basement of the First Church of Christ on the town green.


Toddlers and mothers sitting in circle

The Bridge signs a contract to provide social services to the West Hartford Public Schools. 


Ruth Freymann

Ruth Freymann becomes the second Executive Director of the Bridge and begins a four-year effort to open a regional shelter for teen runaways.


Freymann House

The Bridge counseling center moves to the First Baptist Church. The Junction 1019 shelter opens on Farmington Avenue in West Hartford. The shelter was later renamed the Bridge Youth Shelter, and in 2013, Freymann House, in honor of the woman most responsible for its beginning.


People in pool

The Bridge becomes the Youth Service Bureau for the Town of West Hartford.


Selma Lobel hosting Lookin In Teen class

Selma Lobel becomes the third Executive Director and brings Looking In Teen Theatre to the Bridge. This troupe performed skits in area schools dramatizing real-life issues facing youth. (In 2003, the theater group affiliated with the Capitol Region Education Council.)


House front poarch

Wayne Starkey becomes the fourth Executive Director.


Two males sitting together

The Independent Living Program starts to assist youth in state care to become independent adults. Tune-In to Life begins to promote healthy lifestyles in the community.


Children reading books

The Family Resource Center begins at Charter Oak School to provide support for families with children at the school. 


David Johnston

David Johnston becomes the fifth Executive Director.