Residential Treatment Program

The Bridge provides up to 27 adolescent males and females with a residential treatment program that addresses substance abuse disorders or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse problems. Our Hands-On Learning Initiatives give clients the opportunity to explore career options through local businesses and technical schools. Training programs include carpentry, plumbing, video production, automotive repair and much more. Our residential treatment program incorporates an on-site school as well as weekly counseling sessions that include individual and group therapy. As part of their treatment, boys at The Bridge attend weekly therapy sessions with their families.



  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Health & psychiatric services
  • Behavior modification
  • Anger management/conflict resolution
  • Animal assisted therapy
  • After-case case management
  • Family psych-education
  • Family nights
  • Outpatient counseling

Educational and Skills Building

  • On-site licensed private school with certified teachers
  • College preparation and enrollment services
  • Computer classes
  • Art and music classes
  • Health and nutrition education
  • Life skills classes
  • Balanced and Restorative Justice victim awareness curriculum
  • Gardening club
  • Dive training

Hands-on Learning Initiatives

  • Job readiness instruction and résumé writing
  • Carpentry, electrical plumbing classes
  • Culinary classes
  • Engine building classes
  • Music and video production
  • Paid work experience
  • Restitution payment assistance
  • Vocational Training

The goal of The Bridge Hands-on Learning initiative is to help youth acquire concrete job skills, gain a better understanding of their own capabilities and develop a realistic sense of possible career options. To reach that goal, The Bridge developed an innovative program with various Philadelphia job training and educational enrichment agencies. The Bridge clients take part in one of several training programs that cover a range of fields, including carpentry, electricity, pluming, automotive repair and video production. The Bridge also offers an on-site paid work experience program.

The Bridge’s partners over the past five years have included:

Basic Carpentry and Furniture Making

Bucks County Technical Institute

Approximately seven Bridge residents participate in a 12-week basic carpentry program, in which they learn: types of construction lumber, installation of studding and joists, construction and repair of drywall, installation of interior doors and replacement of ceiling tiles. During the 10-week furniture-making module, participants learn the basics of furniture making and they complete a sample piece of furniture for their dorm rooms, such as a chair or a bench. This allows them to experience first-hand the lasting value of their labor. Students also receive instruction in proper safety precautions and fire prevention methods. The program incorporates job readiness and personal grooming skills training as well as physical activity and team building.

Small Engine Repair

Bucks County Technical Institute

Approximately seven residents of The Bridge participate in a 12-week small engine repair course, during which they receive an introduction to electrical theory and fundamentals of engine repairs. Each participant takes charge of his own lawn mower engine, which he completely disassembles and then successfully re-assembles independently by the completion of the last class. For many Bridge residents, the sense of accomplishment associated with putting together such a complex piece of equipment and then hearing the hum of the motor when they finally turn the ignition key is incredibly rewarding.

Culinary Arts

Bucks County Technical Institute

During this 10-week program, seven Bridge residents learn basic cooking and kitchen safety principles, equipment use and care, sanitation, reading a recipe, menu planning and various cooking techniques. The course also focuses on introducing cuisines and techniques from a variety of cultures. At the end of the 10-week session, residents prepare and serve a four-course meal for The Bridge residents and staff.

Metal Fabrication

Bucks County Technical Institute

Bridge participants in this program learn basic metalwork and welding techniques, the different types of metal, the proper use of hand and power tools and equipment, health and safety considerations, sheet metal stampings and rolls, and possible careers in welding and metal fabrication. At the end of the 12-week course, students complete an individual metalwork project such as a metal toolbox or decorative piece.

Boat Building

Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory

Approximately seven Bridge residents participate in a four-month basic canoe building program during the winter months. Students learn critical thinking, teamwork and reasoning skills through the challenging process of building a boat. Not your typical classroom, Wooden Boat Factory provides a very practical learning environment that lets students succeed using skills they develop individually. These skills include those necessary for lifelong success: personal responsibility, communication, diligence, abstract thinking, constructive group dynamics and self-confidence. At the end of the course, students launch the 15-foot canoe that they created and paddle it on the water.


Philadelphia City Sail

Seven Bridge students participate in a weeklong instructional sailing program developed for inner-city youth. It introduces students to a variety of maritime topics including ecosystems such as plankton and ecosystem health, environments such as the water cycle, sound and light - for example wave motion and the relationship between wavelengths and frequency - and force, motion and energy including sailing principles and Newton’s law. Students learn the basics of sailing and teamwork by working as part of a crew on a schooner located on the Delaware River. This experiential learning environment puts classroom concepts into an exciting, real-world framework and helps to expand students’ world view.

The Art of Filmmaking

The Big Picture Alliance

Bridge clients, participate in a structured, 10-week curriculum that introduces them to all aspects of movie production and post-production. Key concepts include: development of a story and translating it into a script; acting and public speaking; camera operation; production design; lighting design; acting; rehearsing; story boarding; location scouting; set and wardrobe design; make-up; filming; computer editing; sound editing; shot selection; title creation; music; artwork design; and dubbing. By the end of the program, participants complete a 10-minute video that they have conceived, written and produced. The film is shown at a Hollywood-style screening followed by a question and answer session that gives participants a chance to discuss their experiences with the audience.