Bridget is an amazing woman who has been helping out at a Juvenile detention camp. Read her intervewi with us to learn more about her positve influences on our community!
Tell us about yourself.
I am a wife, mom of three and raised to know that every day, everybody is capable of making some effect in this world - it doesn't always have to be big if you don't have the bandwidth that day; a smile to somebody who seems they need it, letting that person who seems stressed cut in line at the elevator. Some days, that is what you can do, but every day, you should do one thing. If you can do the bigger, long term stuff, definitely do it, but some days, the small things count. I was raised to believe every day is an opportunity to make one change, big or small. It all adds up.
Who is your idol?
Good question! Often, they are people I meet every day that seem to have inexhaustible energy who work without acknowledgement but do so because they have a need to make the world a better place for others at risk. I also think creative people deserve considerable praise as their type of thinking can inspire us to think beyond the usual parameters and solve the biggest points of crisis. My ideal hero would be a hybrid of Roald Dahl and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Both use their eloquence to challenge our reality, in my opinion, for the better; no bullying or violence necessary. A much more lasting legacy to humankind.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Of course, as a mom, I have to acknowledge my three wonderful children who are contributing citizens of the world. With little prodding, they have taken ideals of this world, some prompted by those given to me from my parents, and run with them. They are much smarter and more productive than I ever hoped to be. It is a wonderful ripple effect and I hope they continue the ripple with people they touch. Personally, I am working towards my proudest achievement still. Age lets you sift out the junk. I feel I might be cooking a good plan that I will look back on with pride.
What is a conflict you overcame in your journey?
I have been gifted many privileges, so it’s is hard for me to get too wrapped up thinking I have overcome anything huge. Having said that, my greatest conflict I am just coming around to dealing with more productively is self-doubt with my personal pursuits. I have wasted a lot of time wondering if little things are worthy or good enough. They are and I am ready for a more global effect as a human being with the abilities I can hone. It's a good epiphany and better late than never.
How do you represent women locally and globally?
Wow! What a question and wouldn't dare to presume! I do, however, feel the everyday woman gets the shaft. Life isn't a continuous pursuit of headline making tasks. I love getting older because I look around at my female friends that seemed like they were just kind of plugging along and now, after 20 years, their work is having a huge impact! There is much to be said for building a slow, patient, body of work and then using that wisdom, skill base and networking to have a HUGE impact. I see it every day now that I have older friends and I know it happens all over the world. There is something to be said for a slow and steady quest.
What inspired you to take up the role/position you are in today and what continues to inspire your work?
I was raised Catholic in a very positive environment of living your beliefs everyday - you shouldn't have to say you're Catholic (or whatever belief system you follow), it should be evident through your actions. Social justice was part of the deal and if you didn't have money, you always had time to give. I was inspired by the men and women who show up at the juvenile detention center every day for the long hours on behalf of at risk youth. I am but a small part, but their dedication helped me make connections with these young men. Some days, a positive conversation with an adult can make a difference for these guys. Other days, I may have more time and am gifted the patience to work through a skill with a young man who is ready and willing to emphasize their constructive side and just need somebody to witness and encourage this step. I would never take credit for the long hours the therapists and administrative staff put in long after I have left, but am thankful to be part of the process and do know, big or small, it can further a positive trajectory.
Tell us about some of your memorable experiences with the men and women at the Juvenile detention center.
Every single one of my memorable experiences occurred when time was taken to invest in me on a personal basis which allowed me to understand those investing in me as an individual. Most of the young men I work with have not been given the attention needed which has prevented them from understanding how and why they found themselves on a path that leads to poor choices. Even more so, most do not want to be on that bad path and one person taking the time to help them talk through and discuss what they need to change is absolutely pivotal to their future success. They are ultimately responsible for their past and future choices, but often positive choices come about when another human can take the time to hear their story and help them decide how they want their future to look. Of course, it is much more complicated than that, however it all starts with a team of professionals to affect global change in a person as well as changes in their environment, allowing people to connect and understand one another.
Tell us about an experience where you have seen kindness, hope, or perseverance overcome hardships.
I witness hope overcoming destruction almost every time I am at Echo Glenn. I sit in awe after observing a staff committed to helping these young men choose to rehabilitate their lives. When a destructive impulse takes place, reflection and therapy is required as well as follow through to the person(s) harmed. Often it is not immediate, but most times, the staff is well trained and able to anticipate the potential for violence allowing them to prevent it in the future. If this staff did not believe there is a sense of goodness in every child, no matter their past, they would not be able to dedicate themselves as deeply as they do. Personally, I have had the luxury of spending one on one time with many of these young men and my choice to see their loving side provides them with the opportunity to show it to both myself and others. There is always hope that an individual, when given the proper medical care and safe place to be healthy, will exercise their deepest sense of goodness to others.
Women in difficult situations are often dealing with a host of issues not only from their environment, but from those around them. This leads to determination in many, but can also lead to a sense of a solitary pursuit of success. Imagine if that strength was acknowledged and harnessed to support each other rather than feeling threatened? It is a powerful tool when a woman can be determined and bring her sister along with her.
What are three words you would use to describe your journey so far?
Hope, hope and hope. The everlasting hope humans are capable of much more positive than destructive actions.
As a woman, what would you like to say to other women around the world?
No matter where we are from, not much separates us - we share a lot as a gender culturally. It has been my observations over the years that women, more than men, tend to judge and question their actions whereas men do and move on. Not all, but this is an overriding pattern I have witnessed. Just stop and do - and remember to be kind to others even when it's tough. We don't know what that person is dealing with and a bit of grace for just a moment may have positive ripple effects.