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About Us

OUR MISSION
The Bridge Center specializes in affordable, year-round therapeutic recreation and equine-assisted therapy programs for individuals with disabilities. All programs are instructed by skilled staff and are designed to meet the social, emotional, and physical goals of participants, regardless of the nature and severity of their disabilities. Through innovative programming, The Bridge Center encourages independence and seeks to improve participants’ quality of life.

OUR VISION
By offering comprehensive and varied programs and camps, The Bridge Center strives to be a leader within the therapeutic recreation and equine-assisted therapy community serving as a resource for community members with disabilities and their families alike.

OUR VALUES
The Bridge Center’s core values lie in the belief that all participants can play, learn, and grow. Through our provision of goal-oriented, year-round therapeutic recreation and equine-assisted programs, The Bridge Center serves as a bridge that allows participants to:

1. Build Bridges to Play
The Bridge Center works to ensure that all participants have the support necessary to be physically active and engage in play within a safe and supportive environment.
2. Build Bridges to Learn
A teacher of independence, self-advocacy, and self-confidence, The Bridge Center coaches participants in achieving personal and group goals within a variety of non-traditional classroom settings including nature, art, music, culinary arts, animals, and collaborative play experiences.
3. Build Bridges to Grow
The Bridge Center arms participants with tools and strategies that cultivate and renew personal growth in the classroom, on the playground, and within the community.

WHO WE ARE
Rich in history, The Bridge Center was founded in 1963 by the Knights of Pythias under the name Handi-Kids. A non-profit, tax-exempt organization, The Bridge Center and its founders have a collective vision to be a leader within the recreation community serving as a resource for community members with disabilities and their families alike. The Bridge Center has achieved many exciting milestones over the course of the last 50 years:

1975 - Procured 20 acres of land and began a summer day camp for children with disabilities.

1982 - Built a wheelchair-accessible swimming pool and bath house that is now home to our adaptive swimming lesson and seasonal water play.

1985 - Started a therapeutic horseback riding program. Today, The Bridge Center offers Therapeutic Riding, Carriage Driving, Hippotherapy, veterans programs, and unmounted horsemanship programs.

1995 - Constructed a second building on the property to house an open recreation space, dance room, and sensory spaces. This space is now home to our indoor sports programs, karate, sensory area, and basketball court.

2002 - Opened a state-of-the-art indoor riding arena, The Polishook Riding Center, expanding the therapeutic riding program to year-round operation. The Polishook Riding Center is a PATH Certified Riding Center, one of the only barns with this certification on the South Shore.

2007 - Hosted the grand opening of the Leonard Rudofsky Center, a multi-purpose building designed to provide art classes, music classes, performance space, and vocational training opportunities. “Lenny’s” is home to many weekend programs, our nurses’ station, and The Great Space, a multi-purpose room used for professional development opportunities, special events, and staff trainings.

2009 - The Bridge Center name was born to symbolize a place that Builds Resilience and Independence for people with Disabilities through Growth and Empowerment. For many, The Bridge Center successfully bridges the gap between disability, recreation, and animals.

2014 - Installed a fully accessible playground for kids young and old to enjoy while on campus!
The Bridge Center was the perfect fit for Nick and the work you all do is just amazing. A big thank you to everyone for all their efforts, warmth, kindness and genuine caring. Find the perfect fit for Nick was so important for me and I knew we made the right choice from very early on. We look forward to seeing everyone in the coming months for a Saturday program.
- Nick's Mom