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About the Photo: One of the many gathering spaces at Bridge Meadows, where children, foster and adoptive families and elders meet to build a sense of permancy and a thriving community.
Bridge Meadows (originally called Portland Hope Meadows) felt like a pipe dream several years ago—a planned intergenerational community where hard-to-adopt foster children would be placed with caring, adoptive families, and a cadre of elder resident volunteers would serve as mentors, providing natural supports for the families. One such development had been operating successfully in rural Illinois, but could this really happen in Portland? Enter a few charismatic, committed fundraisers with vision and an executive director with unlimited energy, infectious enthusiasm, the professional credibility to know what she was getting into and, most importantly, a deep understanding of what these kids would need to thrive. That strong leadership along with City of Portland commitment and detailed planning convinced MMT to invest $350,000 to help make Bridge Meadows a reality. But still, our fingers remained crossed.
Flash forward to Spring 2011 and Bridge Meadows is indeed a physical reality. Nine sparkling new homes for adoptive families and 27 affordable housing apartment units for elders sit on a two-acre complex on the site of the former John Ball Elementary School in the North Portland.
Now the interesting part begins. Executive Director Derenda Schubert and Program Director Renee Moseley are recruiting elders and working with DHS to recruit adoptive families through an intentional process to ensure just the right mix of residents to make, well, something radical happen—a sustaining intergenerational neighborhood for adoptive families of foster children that promotes permanency, community and caring relationships, while offering safety and meaningful purpose in the daily lives of older adults. And all this community won’t happen in isolation. Involving the broader neighborhood will be a key ingredient in this recipe for success. Surrounding neighbors, nonprofit partners such as Morrison Child and Family Services and Impact Northwest, community gardens—for wherever assets can be connected and nurtured–Bridge Meadows will set out the welcome mat, because it’s really about the kids and their hopes for the future restored in the permanency of family surrounded by a thriving, interactive neighborhood. Stay tuned….