Over a decade ago our family moved up to the Portland area to begin a journey that would take us really to the end of ourselves, we never imagined we would be doing what we are doing today at BridgeTown Inc.
It has been a continued joyful adventure as we have watched this organization grow and impact thousands of lives.
My role as the Executive Director is such an extension of my personal mission which is to “Encourage, equip and inspire people and organizations to greatness.” This is what I get to do everyday. I have the pleasure to be the lead our team, encouraging us all to stay close to the vision of BridgeTown Inc, which is to “Love People Because People Matter”. I can’t imagine doing anything else!
I have worked in the non profit sector for over two decades and have been married to the lovely Lesley for 20 years. We are raising two young men Samuel and Noah, who we fully anticipate, will be world changers.
My favorite value has to be “Adventure and Creativity”. I believe we are all creative and that just being human puts us on the crazy adventure we call life. Creativity is a must to live an amazing adventure-filled life. I love to see groups and individuals come into BridgeTown and watch their perspective change, to see them do something they never thought they would do.
It is really an amazing process to watch and to be a part of. It never gets old and really drives us at BridgeTown as we continue to ask the question, “How can we continue to love people because people matter.”
My personal mission statement is to journey with others towards wholeness, but jumping on board with BridgeTown did not come easily to me. I was often appalled by the circumstances those we were serving were enduring. I didn’t think there was any way to really make a difference, and I often felt overwhelmed by the thought of loving everyone because they matter.
How could I do that in an authentic way? But, I felt determined to learn how to love all people. I was transformed even in my efforts to love others! Since my decision to simply love those placed in my path, I have not looked back.
Currently, I serve as the Administrator for BridgeTown. I also help oversee the Lift One environment – part of the Transformation piece of BridgeTown’s purpose. As I have seen my involvement in BridgeTown become shaped and developed over the years, it is evident to me that the value that resonates most with me is the Relational Approach. If I can not forge authentic relationships, I will not be fulfilled in any of my roles. I love that even though my strengths are being utilized in Administration, I get to love people where they are, and build friendships that challenge and transform my own life.
My mission in life is to be determined to encourage people through a passionate love that reflects integrity, faith, and trust. I think encouragement is so valuable in our lives, and I don’t think people today get enough of it. In our American culture, it is much easier to say cutting, sarcastic remarks than to tell someone that you believe in them and actually mean it.
Here at Bridgetown we have many core values, and although one of my personal ones is encouragement, I would say that my favorite one is how we have a Relational Approach. I love the fact that everything that we do is on purpose so we can build relationships with others. To the level we build relationships, we value people. It means we are willing to go through highs and lows with people, all people. Not just the poor or the rich, but all people. Everyone deserve quality relationships, and they can find that here at BridgeTown Inc.
The journey that has brought me to BridgeTown Inc. is one of many blessings, and has been very unexpected. My heart was transformed when I left the country for the first time at the age of 18 to travel to South Africa. It was that trip that sparked in my heart a passion to help others, and bring about systemic change in our society. From there, I received a BA in Global Development, with hopes in working with people in a nonprofit setting.
I wanted a job with a nonprofit, but did not know in what capacity that looked like. After attending one of BridgeTown’s programs, Night Strike, I was swept away by the love and generosity surrounding the staff and volunteers. I was hooked.
As the Development and Administrative Associate, I get to step behind the scenes to help support what this marvelous staff does on a weekly basis: serving and building relationships with the broken and marginalized.
I feel I relate most to the service/action/generosity core value. I believe that by loving others we can serve those that need support and who need someone to stand up for them. We need to show compassion and justice for those suffering in society; a calling I feel strongly to live out daily.
My childhood was broken due to a dysfunctional family which led me to believe I wasn’t worthy to be loved. My concept of love was destroyed and it carried on, as I grew older.
But, I experienced what I desperately was searching for so long: I started to see what was underneath all of what I had believed and the result was that I really was loved!
Thanks to a simple search through Google, I have now been serving since he summer of 2011 with BridgeTown, first and intern, and now as the BTown kKds Director. My heart is overwhelmed with joy that I get to be a part of BridgeTown Inc. and the BTown Kids program. As I serve along our BTown Kids children and their families, my story has developed into a mission— to guide those who are broken into a direction that will give them the hope. This plays out in one of our core values, the Relational Approach. This value has made me to continue to find opportunities to submerge and involve myself within the lives of inner city children and families so that I can give them hope.
My name is Justin. I grew up in a small town outside Eugene Oregon called Cottage Grove.
In 2009, I was introduced to BridgeTown Inc., an organization that actively loves the broken and marginalized by meeting basic needs as well building lasting relationships. The Night Strike event is what drew me in. My connections with the guests under the Burnside bridge were unexpected as my preconceptions were broken down. Weekly, this continues to happen as I grow in relationship with the guests we work with.
I am now the director of Night Strike. I have the opportunity to train new leadership, and oversee our many activities under the bridge as they are lead by our staff. The most attractive trait of BridgeTown for me is the Relational Approach, the fact that we care far more about our relationships with people than any problem we need to solve. I’m am constantly humbled and blessed to work with volunteers and see them learn and grow I as have.
Director of Environments
It was at that moment I decided that it wasn’t ok for me to be coasting through my life, not helping others. I wasn’t satisfied any longer in ignoring those who were hurting around me.
Over the next few months, I was stretched, and learned a lot about what it means to mobilize others into showing compassion to people, and in January of 2012, I began coordinating the Night Strike environment. By October of 2012 I had the privilege of overseeing all of the environments that Bridgetown Inc. offers: Night Strike, Btown Kids and Transformation Trips. Each hold a golden opportunity to love people and to teach those people to love others.
The Bridgetown core value that I most identify with is “People”. I highly value the importance of every person. Rather than categorizing people, (Homeless, Privileged, Young, Old….) I value their unique story and the humanity we share in common. I strive to bring out the beauty in every person.
It is my joy to serve the Bridgetown volunteers and guests as the Director of Environments.
@zclark86 | 503-683-1025