Empowered Since '79
In 1979, Sister Helen Owens, OSF, and Monsignor Michael Mannion had a shared vision of creating a safe space where young people in Camden and the surrounding areas could gather, learn, and grow by accepting each other, sharing and listening to each other’s stories, and learning about the impact of their actions. They wanted to create a supportive, nurturing environment that would empower young people to thrive.
After finding the initial group of young people and launching the program as “The Bridge”, one of those original members/creators, Renée Pinardo, was asked by Sr. Helen and Fr. Mike to take on the leadership of the program. Under Renée’s direction, and with her passionate dedication to supporting young people, The Bridge blossomed into fruition, uplifting Camden’s youth and young adults as they began to succeed within their families, community, and local schools. It’s been over 40 years since those early days of The Bridge, and Renée has been there for every one, still with the same driving passion to see all young people have the opportunity to succeed and make a positive impact in their community.
Today, Maria, (Renée’s daughter) continues the leadership that she grew up with at the Bridge. Together, they have been fortunate to witness generations of young people come through the doors – learn new skills, interact with diverse groups, and make genuine connections. At The Bridge, we envision a world where every interaction “Bridges” people to resources, community, and ultimately, becoming their very best authentic self.