Building Bridges: Transform brings together diverse young people from Metro Denver high schools for a year-long, life-changing experience. Together they develop communication, relationship-building, and leadership skills like self-awareness, confidence, and empathy.

Transform leaders deeply explore who they are, get real and connect with each other, and grow together by working through conflict and differences. Through change projects, youth then engage their communities to apply what they’ve learned.

Applications for 2021-2022 program year are now OPEN!

Program Components

Building Bridges: Transform 2021-2022 lasts from June to April and includes:

Hybrid Summer Intensive Sessions

Structure TBD based on public health guidance

Monthly Home Group Meetings

August through April

Weekend Retreat*

Spring Retreat = March

*Subject to change due to COVID-19 safety precautions

Community Change Project

Planning and implementation November through March

Year-End Presentations and Celebration in April

Program Eligibility

We ask that applicants meet the following characteristics:

  • Be entering the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade (or equivalent) for the 2021-2022 school-year
  • Live in Metro Denver (includes Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties)
  • Be excited to connect with other young people from diverse backgrounds
  • Be willing to explore and talk about issues of identity, community, and conflict, including topics like race, class, gender, religion, and politics

How to Apply

Option 1 | APPLY ONLINE

Complete the application online using Google Forms.

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Option 2 | DOWNLOAD APPLICATION

Download a fillable PDF or Word document version of the application. Once you fill out the application, save it a then email it to raegan@buildingbridgesshift.org.

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Option 3 | FILL OUT BY HAND

Request a hard copy of the application to fill out by contacting Raegan.

You can call her at 303-691-2393 ext 2, email her at raegan@buildingbridgesshift.org, or send a text to 303-691-2393.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Building Bridges all about?

We are a community-driven nonprofit that equips people with communication and leadership skills to transform divides. Youth participants learn to listen, connect, and confidently lead to make positive change in their communities. We have been doing this work for 25 years, and have more than 2000 alumni living around the world.

Participants in our programs gain awareness about themselves, form relationships across various identities, and build skills to talk about conflict and differences. In particular, we address issues such as power and privilege along lines of race, class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, culture, and other identities.

How is COVID-19 going to affect Transform programming?

Although we are excited that the COVID -19 positivity rate is decreasing in Metro Denver, we recognize that there is still a public health crisis and vaccines aren’t fully accessible. Due to this we have decided to hold the 2021 summer intensive in a hybrid format. This will include programming being held both in-person in small groups and virtually.

What should I expect from the Summer Intensive?

Through interactive workshops, experiential learning activities, creative projects, and dialogue, participants learn new communication techniques and develop leadership skills. Activities promote critical thinking about the ways divisions, stereotypes, and discrimination influence us. Participants have the opportunity to confront and deeply examine difficult issues from a variety of perspectives. And we also include plenty of fun and free time!

What will the school year be like?

Throughout the school-year, youth come together each month for Home Group to deepen their learning, continue dialogues, and strengthen their new relationships. In addition, we will have a Spring retreat as well as many optional gatherings for continued learning and connection. A final component is to design and implement an individual or group Change Project with specific goals as the program year comes to an end.

What skills should I expect to gain from Building Bridges?

  • Authentic relationship-building skills within and across identities
  • Communication skills that improve their ability to self-express, listen, and empathize
  • Critical thinking and leadership to address issues through goal-oriented projects
  • Coping skills and self-efficacy for stressful situations including conflict

Can you accommodate language and other requests?

We recognize the many different learning styles, gifts, and needs of participants and strive to deliver workshops and activities to meet this diversity.

Please note that all program components are conducted in English. Translation/interpretation may be provided based on need and available resources, including for family meetings and orientation.

Additionally, Building Bridges recognizes participants’ diversity as related to disability, medical need, gender identity, dietary needs, and religious practices. During the application process or upon acceptance, please discuss specific requests with program staff. We are committed to inclusive programming and will work to make accommodations wherever possible.

What are the costs associated with this program?

All Building Bridges participants are offered a full scholarship to cover the program expense of $5,500 per participant. This means that your family does NOT pay a program fee in order for you to participate. During the program year, participants may have the opportunity to support Building Bridges’ fundraising efforts. Also, individuals and families are encouraged to make a contribution to the program that is meaningful to them. This may be a financial donation. Or families maybe choose to contribute in different ways, like helping out with meals, supplies, volunteering, or transportation.

I have submitted my application. What happens next?

You will be contacted by phone or email to let you know we’ve received your application. Also, your parent/guardian is welcome to schedule a separate in-person or phone appointment with Building Bridges’ Program Manager to discuss the program further if needed.

As part of your application, you will schedule an interview with the Recruitment Team as the final step of the application process. After your interview, you will receive notice of whether or not you have been accepted into the program within 2 weeks.

If you are selected, you will receive an acceptance packet with additional information, forms, and the date options for an orientation session to prepare you and your parent/guardian (or other supportive adult) for the summer intensive and your program participation.

Download FAQ document

If you would like an accommodation to submit your application in a different way, or if you need help completing the application, please contact raegan@buildingbridgesshift.org or call 303-691-2393 ext 2 for assistance.

All applications are due no later than 8 PM on Saturday, May 15, 2021.