In September 1989, a group of deeply-committed local community leaders shared a vision of equal educational access for all children who are motivated and want to succeed in school. This initial dream was the catalyst for founding Peninsula Bridge.
In June 1990, we offered our first intensive academic five-week summer program at the Sacred Heart School for 26 middle school students from the Ravenswood School District. Sacred Heart provided access to their campus for free, and we in turn provided a tuition-free program for our students.
Over the years, Peninsula Bridge established partnerships with other independent schools including Castilleja School, Crystal Springs Uplands, Menlo School, St. Matthew’s Episcopal and Woodside Priory who each offers their facilities during the summer while we raise funds to pay operating costs such as site directors, teachers, transportation, curriculum development, food and supplies.
In 1993, we formed the first board of directors with Fran Arrillaga, Margaret Beltramo, Leslie DeWitt, Mary Floyd, Rosemary Hewlett, Penny Howell and Penny Meier. One year later, Peninsula Bridge was incorporated. Enrollment has increased from 26 students in 1990 to 400 committed and motivated students today. Principals and teachers recommend students as rising 5th graders. To qualify, students must have a 3.0 GPA and maintain it while they participate in our program.
Since its inception, Peninsula Bridge has made a difference in the lives of thousands of youth and families from low-income communities in East Palo Alto, Eastern Menlo Park, Redwood City, Mountain View, San Mateo and Foster City. Many Bridge students eventually serve as role models by becoming student mentors in the summer program, continuing the cycle of success in their families and communities.