The Bridge Teen Center and The Bridge Thrift Store in Orland Park hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Project on January 15. (Photos by Kelly White)

The Bridge Teen Center and The Bridge Thrift Store in Orland Park hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Project on January 15. (Photos by Kelly White)

Bridge Teen Center honors Dr. King with day of service

Spread the love

By Kelly White

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., a group of teens gathered together for a day of giving back to the local community.

Together, the Bridge Teen Center and The Bridge Thrift Store in Orland Park hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Project on Monday, January 15. The event helped to honor Dr. King’s legacy of coming together to support each other helping to make the world a better place for future generations.

“For me, it is exciting to see the business community rally around Dr. King’s vision for service to others,” Aaron Heldt, The Bridge’s Director of Marketing and Partnerships, said. “We are honored to have a pretty amazing lineup of businesses who send volunteer groups over throughout the year, but to see groups from Starbucks and Crate & Barrel brave the cold to serve this community was a powerful thing to be part of.”

Despite the dangerously cold temperatures, in total we had over 65 volunteers at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Project.

1 1

Luz Yudt, of Orland Park, and her son, Brody, 13, volunteered on Monday at the Bridge Teen Center’s Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Project.

During the two-hour event, teens, family members and volunteers from the community formed a number of teams. The largest team helped sort and organize clothing donations. Another team helped stock clothing and other merchandise on the sales floor. Other smaller teams washed and processed glassware and dishware donations and sorted jewelry donations. This inventory will generate thousands of dollars in support of The Bridge’s mission.

“It’s really nice to be able to give back,” Brody McLaughlin, 13, of Orland Park, said.

Brody worked alongside his mom, Luz.

“The best part about this is being here with him,” Luz said.

The Bridge Teen Center is a nonprofit community center that was designed around the interests and needs of teens in the suburbs, serving students in seventh- to 12th-grade and also provide ongoing programs and resources to help parents navigate through the teenage years.

The center opened in 2010 at 15555 S. 71st Court, Orland Park, and has served over 12,000 different teens and families from 128 Chicago Southland and Northwest Indiana communities.

“The Bridge always strives to encourage students to not just be consumers, but also to be contributors through community service events like this one,” Priscilla Steinmetz, Founder and Executive Director of The Bridge, said.  “We have always been committed to making sure our students don’t just exist within a community, but understand how to be an active, contributing part of the community.”

The Bridge Thrift Store is the sister organization of The Bridge Teen Center and its mission is to provide ongoing community service and job readiness opportunities for suburban teens as well as ongoing financial support for The Bridge Teen Center’s free teen programs.

In addition, The Bridge Thrift Store provides ongoing community service and job readiness opportunities to suburban teens. In 2024, The Bridge Thrift Store will be expanding with the opening of a new store in Frankfort, creating a second sustainable revenue source and expanding on the job readiness programming for students.

Tying the organizations together through service, the center hosted the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Project open to all area community teens and their families and to local businesses as well within the Orland Park vicinity.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, being the official birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., and often referred to shorthand as MLK Day, is a federal holiday in the United States marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Born in 1929, King’s actual birthday is January 15; however, it is observed on the third Monday of January each year.

The motto behind the day is a ‘a day on, not a day off’. Organizations throughout the country, like the Teen Bridge Center, participate by creating volunteer opportunities to better their community.

On Monday morning, a number of volunteers from Wilton Brands, Crate & Barrel, Starbucks, and University of Chicago Alumni meet at the Teen Bridge Center and The Bridge Thrift Store to sort donations of clothing and items to be sold at The Bridge Thrift Store.

In the afternoon, Bridge Teen Center members and their family members volunteered together, serving side-by-side, creating memories and growing closer through an afternoon of service and intentional conversations while also helping to organizing and sort items for the thrift store.

“My favorite thing about the MLK Community Service Project is that individuals and families from all walks of life are able to come together to honor Dr. King’s legacy of service on a local level,” Steinmetz said. “If we all carried that spirit of service right here in our backyard year-round, I can only imagine the profound impact it would have on our community.”

Assisting among many others were Angela Yudt and her son, Shawn.

“I love this event,” Yudt, of Orland Park, said. “I would volunteer here regularly for years with my older son, who is now 20-years-old. Now, it’s Shawn’s turn.”

The community service project continued to pave success for the Teen Bridge Center because The Bridge Thrift Store provides over 31% of funding to the teen center, helping to keep all after-school programs and services free to suburban teens and their families and providing teens with a place to find hope, purpose and direction. Examples of our free programs at the Bridge Teen Center include culinary demonstrations, music lessons, art programs, trades-focused programs, STEM programs and Friday night social events.

Brothers and Bridge students, Harry and Max Gilbert, have attended a number of culinary and automotive programs at The Bridge Teen Center. On Monday, they gave back to The Bridge serving together by the clothing donation storage area keeping our volunteer sorters stocked with bags to process.

“My favorite thing about volunteering today was seeing the amount of people that came to serve to make a difference,” Harry Gilbert, of Homer Glen, said. “The Bridge does great work and I have learned a lot in the programs I have done.”

“The Bridge offers a lot for students, and I especially like the culinary programs,” his brother, Max, added. “I enjoyed volunteering on this special day because I feel like I was helping the community.”

3

The Bridge Teen Center and The Bridge Thrift Store in Orland Park hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Project on January 15.

Local News

Joey’s Red Hots will open its seventh location on Monday at 9135 W. 159th St. in Orland Hills. (Photo by Steve Neuhaus)

Comings & Goings: Joey’s Red Hots to open Monday in Orland Hills

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Co-owner Anthony Nardo is not one to miss an opportunity to expand the reach of the Joey’s Red Hots empire. The Orland Park-based chain of restaurants has set Monday, February 26, as the opening date for its newest Joey’s location, in Orland Hills. Nardo and his partner Nick Iozzo jumped…

Orland Park's Fawzy Hassan speaks to the Orland Park Village Board on Monday in front of a backdrop of posters of members of his family who served the United States in wartime. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

No ruckus this time between Orland board, protesters

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva More than 80 people crowded Orland Park’s Village Hall Monday night with many there to protest the village board’s decision not to draw up a resolution asking for a ceasefire in Gaza. Unlike a Feb. 5 meeting, in which there was yelling and chants and Mayor Keith Pekau having police…

Investigator Joel Frias holds the plaque that he just received from Police Chief Tim Denton (left) for being selected as "Officer of the Year." (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Worth approves new parking, traffic regulations

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle Two ordinances were passed at the Worth Village Board meeting Tuesday night requiring changes for pedestrian crossings and vehicular traffic. Police Chief Tim Denton said one ordinance needed to be amended regarding pedestrian and vehicular traffic. It needed to be made clear that individuals should not be walking along main…

regional palos heights logo

Palos Heights City Council rejects City Hall renovation

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Palos Heights aldermen rejected a $1.7 million renovation project for its aging City Hall building at a sometimes testy City Council meeting Tuesday night. Aldermen voted 5-3 to shoot down a plan that would have made some bathrooms compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, moved the Building Department back…

Flames lick the night sky Tuesday morning after a fire was reported at a home in the 14700 block of Holly Court in Orland Park. (Photos courtesy of Orland Fire Protection District)

Firefighter injured fighting Orland Park fire Tuesday morning

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong  One firefighter suffered minor injuries while battling a fire at a home in Orland Park early Tuesday morning. Orland Fire Protection District officials said the fire was reported at 3:35 a.m. on Feb. 20 in the 14700 block of Holly Court in Orland Park. The fire was brought under control…

Sandburg players celebrate their Class 4A regional championship after defeating Romeoville in overtime on Feb. 15. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Girls Basketball | Sandburg outlasts Romeoville for first regional crown since 2016

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent It was the Eagles’ game to win and no one was going to change the outcome. On its home floor against a Romeoville team that had not lost this year, Sandburg used overtime to defeat the Spartans, 62-58, on Feb. 15 for the Class 4A Sandburg Regional title. It…

Evergreen Park guard Taylor Yeaman drives past Hinsdale South's Amelia Lavorato during the Hornets' regional final victory on Feb. 16. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Girls Basketball | Evergreen Park’s Scaduto signs off after career spanning four decades

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent The box score does not always give the full story of a game. Evergreen Park visited Hinsdale South on Feb. 16 with the hope of winning a regional championship.  Unfortunately for the Mustangs, the game did not go their way. The Hornets jumped to an 18-3 lead in the…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Girls Basketball | LW Central scrapes by Stagg for Andrew Regional crown

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Randy Whalen Correspondent Stagg was hoping the third time was the charm. For three quarters, it was. But the Chargers couldn’t convert in crunch time and saw Lincoln-Way Central rally for a 36-33 victory in the Class 4A Andrew Regional title game Feb. 16. It was Stagg’s third loss — by a…

Stagg senior Arianna Araujo, who did not qualify as an individual for the IHSA state tournament, nonetheless won the state title on Feb. 17. Photo by Randy Whalen

Girls Bowling State Finals | Stagg’s Arianna Araujo rolls to title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Randy Whalen Correspondent Prior to the start of the IHSA girls bowling postseason, Stagg senior Arianna Araujo made a statement to her coach. “She told me that she was going to win state,” Chargers coach Rich Kowalczyk said. “I was like, ‘Let’s get through the regional first.’ But she had that much confidence in…

Lyons won its third straight regional title on Feb. 15 with a 57-55 victory over Mother McAuley. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Girls Hoops Wrap | Lyons holds off McAuley rally, wins third straight regional

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The last time Lyons won three straight regionals was when it went on an 11-year run of titles from 1989 to 1999. After the Lions held off a furious Mother McAuley rally in a 57-55 win Feb. 15 in their own Class 4A regional, they celebrated their third title…

Neighbors

With budget proposal and fiery address, Pritzker paints himself as progressive pragmatist

With budget proposal and fiery address, Pritzker paints himself as progressive pragmatist

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – In delivering his annual State of the State and budget address on Wednesday, Gov. JB Pritzker cast his administration as both progressive and pragmatic – a balance he’s worked to strike as his national profile has grown. Some elements of the governor’s proposed spending plan, like…

Budget reaction: Retailers, municipalities critical of Pritzker’s proposed tax changes

Budget reaction: Retailers, municipalities critical of Pritzker’s proposed tax changes

By ALEX ABBEDUTO, COLE LONGCOR  & JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – The annual process of negotiating the state budget kicked off Wednesday with Gov. JB Pritzker proposing a $52.7 billion spending plan that includes hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending and tax increases, particularly for businesses.  The governor’s proposal to…

Pritzker proposes over $2B in spending growth, backed by tax increases for corporations, sportsbooks

Pritzker proposes over $2B in spending growth, backed by tax increases for corporations, sportsbooks

By JERRY NOWICKI  Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Editor’s note: This story will be updated with more information on the budget and reaction from lawmakers.  SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday proposed growing state spending by over $2 billion in the upcoming fiscal year while making a handful of corporate, sports wagering and other tax…

Pritzker proposes $1.8B in spending growth, backed by tax increases for corporations, sportsbooks

Pritzker proposes $1.8B in spending growth, backed by tax increases for corporations, sportsbooks

By JERRY NOWICKI  Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Editor’s note: This story will be updated with more information on the budget and reaction from lawmakers.  SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday proposed growing state spending by about $1.8 billion in the upcoming fiscal year while making a handful of corporate, sports wagering and other tax…

Customers pay for utilities' lawyers and corporate donations. Advocates want to change that.

Customers pay for utilities’ lawyers and corporate donations. Advocates want to change that.

By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com Illinoisans pay tens of millions of dollars each year to utilities to cover costs they accrue for lawyers, belonging to trade groups, making charitable contributions and purchasing advertisements meant to boost utilities’ public image.  Consumer advocates are pushing for a change to state law that would bar utilities…

Pritzker to call for health insurance reforms in State of the State address

Pritzker to call for health insurance reforms in State of the State address

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker plans to take on the state’s health insurance industry this year by calling for legislation to curb many of the standard practices they use to hold down costs and boost profits. He plans to outline those reforms in his State of the State…

Judge denies McCann’s request for home confinement, orders him held in custody

Judge denies McCann’s request for home confinement, orders him held in custody

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – After suddenly pleading guilty as his federal corruption trial was wrapping up this week, former state Sen. Sam McCann won’t be released to await sentencing, U.S. District Judge Colleen Lawless ruled Friday. McCann has been held at Macon County Jail since last Friday, when Lawless ordered…

Transmission line monopoly back on agenda at Statehouse after Pritzker’s veto

Transmission line monopoly back on agenda at Statehouse after Pritzker’s veto

By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com A controversial proposal that would grant electric utilities more control over the construction of transmission lines is being revived in Springfield.  Rep. Larry Walsh, D-Elwood, who chairs the Public Utilities Committee in the Illinois House, was behind a push last year that would have granted a temporary “right…

Ahead of Pritzker’s budget address, pressures that mounted last year intensify

Ahead of Pritzker’s budget address, pressures that mounted last year intensify

BY JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Republicans in the Illinois Senate indicated Tuesday that their sticking point for budget negotiations this year will be the same as it was last year – state spending on programs for noncitizens and recent arrivals from the country’s southern border.  In what’s been a rarity over the past…

Pritzker to mull tightening fiscal landscape in budget address this week

Pritzker to mull tightening fiscal landscape in budget address this week

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Gov. JB Pritzker will give his sixth state budget address this week, laying out his plan for a fiscal year that government forecasters in November predicted is on pace for a near-$900 million deficit unless corrective action is taken.  Those same fiscal forecasters in the Governor’s Office of…