SARASOTA, FL — Bridge a Life, a leading, local non-profit that shares Christ-centered hope with children who have been abused, abandoned, orphaned, or neglected and supports foster and adoptive families through awareness, training, outreach, and partnerships, will host its Second Annual Fundraiser on Thursday, April 20th, at the Polo Grill in Lakewood Ranch beginning at 6pm.
The evening will include speakers who will highlight Bridge a Life’s local initiatives. The Founder/President, Danny Jones, will be speaking along with families and volunteers who have been positively impacted by Bridge a Life. Raffle and silent auction items will be available during the event and dinner will also be served. The event will be sponsored by local businesses, individuals, foundations, and churches such as Commercial Refrigerator Door Company, Trinity Custom Construction, Shoreline Church, Armentrout, Chau and Associates, Steve Hall with AllTrust Insurance, and the Ralph and Eileen Swett Foundation.
Currently, in the 12th judicial circuit (Sarasota, Manatee, and DeSoto counties), there are more than 1100 children in foster care. In order to provide adequate beds for displaced children, our community needs to recruit 100 additional licensed foster homes. Record numbers of children are entering foster care, with Manatee County recently experiencing more removals in one month than any other county in Florida. Additionally, there are approximately 54 local children available for adoption through the foster care system who have not yet been matched with a forever family. Bridge a Life is passionate in their mission of helping recruit loving foster and adoptive homes to care for kids, and rallying volunteers who can support these families so they can be successful in raising kids who come back tough backgrounds.
“The 12th Circuit currently has 100 kids coming into care each month, and Manatee County has more intakes than any other county in Florida,” said Jody Jester, Executive Assistant of Bridge a Life. “The need is tremendous, but this is not just a local issue. Child abuse, neglect, and abandonment are major issues that need to be addressed locally and globally.”
Locally, in 2016, Bridge a Life launched The Gathering, a monthly support group for foster/adoptive families that serves around 35 families a month. Along with providing support to families in 2016, there were a record number of participants at the 6th annual Superhero 5k, an event that raises awareness for the children in our local foster care system. Bridge a Life has continued to provide ongoing support for families with program such as Stew Crew, Free Childcare Events, Ladies’ Night Out, and Hammer Time, along with several donation drives. “There are so many kids in need and it’s so easy to make a difference. We know not everyone is called to foster or adopt, but we believe that everyone can play a part. That’s why we are so passionate about raising awareness, because we feel that so many more people would be compelled to help if they just knew the staggering need that lies in our own community and beyond,” says Kaitlyn Leake, Bridge a Life Board Member.
Bridge a Life salutes its more than 100 local volunteers who serve passionately to minister to foster and adoptive families. “We are excited to celebrate the volunteers who make Bridge a Life possible. With only two part-time staff people, it is obvious that we have an amazing team of volunteers that make all of Bridge a Life’s programs achievable. Without them, our reach into the community would not be what it is,” said Danny Jones, Founder and President.
To purchase tickets or become a sponsor for the April 20th at 6PM dinner benefitting Bridge a Life and the Ayinza Project, call Jody Jester at 941.306.8628 or go to https://www.bridgealife.com/events/2016-fundraiser.html