Summer Bridge: Charitable College Preparation

Summer Bridge students are standing proudly with their certificates of completion and celebratory cake.
Jared Libby

Education motivates us to strive for excellence and evolve into the person we’ve always wanted to become: an intellectual who gives back to our communities and whose skills are indispensable in whatever profession we pursue. Students of the Summer Bridge program put aside their plans for vacations to exotic destinations or theme parks this year to get a head start on college because they realized how valuable it truly is. We’re here to celebrate them and the generosity of the donors who make this six-week learning experience possible for new TMCC students with aspirations to uncover what they are capable of personally and academically.

Taking the Leap

High school helps you get the general basics of education, but rewarding courses will reveal themselves after transitioning to college. You are free to study what fascinates you, and your college journey begins to embody classes directly associated with your degree or certificate. The recent Summer Bridge program helped this year’s participants get started with their first college classes and provided many financial incentives, too.

Chatting with Summer Bridge participants Aaron Romero, Marlen Vazquez, Emely Contreras, and Andrea Melga, it was clear that the program impacted them. As they shared their stories, you could see how much the Summer Bridge program has helped them grow individually, with a newfound drive to persevere in the face of challenges they encountered as high school students but resolved as college participants.

“It is a great opportunity to experience college before starting. It opens your mind to being able to figure it out and not feel lost when you begin. As someone very shy, personally, it has given me a chance to adventure more and know how college life will be,” said Contreras.

A terrific aspect of TMCC community outreach is that we extend across northern Nevada and beyond. We welcome students from every walk of life imaginable, and our diverse population empowers us as a receptive institution. With that comes our phenomenal recruitment team, who happily go out of their way to share the good news at educational sites: that college preparation is right around the corner, and it is the best way to ensure that you finish what you started and with a salary reflective of your talent, no less.

“Just go for it, to be honest. I didn’t know what to expect, but the teachers guide you through everything, so it’s not like you will overthink anything. It’s a smooth program, for sure,” said Romero.

Many of the students you’ll be engaging with are either from the same high school as yourself or local like-minded peers who set their breaks aside to enroll in a valued initiative that turns those anxious about college into steadfast academic champions. Conversing with new people in and out of the classroom is a great way to fan the flames in your heart for learning by seeing how hard they work even when life throws a curveball at them in the shape of a deadly seven-letter worded projectile: tuition.

“I’ve gotten the chance to socialize a little more. It hasn’t been just 100% school. We also have that period during lunch to talk,” said Melga.

“I love lunchtime. Everybody from the program is there. You talk to everyone, and we all get along. I like the environment that we have during it,” said Romero.

In the Summer Bridge Program, you’re likely to pick up habits that fundamentally change how your mind solves problems, handles time management, studies for tests and quizzes, or appreciates being prompt when handing in assignments, finding that your commitment to college is more worthwhile than you had envisioned. If you’re interested in participating in the future, the 2024 Summer Bridge application will open on Nov. 1.

Donor Support Is About Making a Difference

Accessibility breeds opportunities, and nobody knows this more than the charitable donors who provide substantial sums of money for the next generation of inspired students seeking to produce tangible change in our communities, state, and possibly even the world.

On Aug. 3, 2023, a closing ceremony was held in Dandini Campus’ Sierra Building, honoring the Summer Bridge students with certificates of achievement, accompanied by a keynote speaker and the cheering of loved ones, instructors, and compassionate donors. For first-generation learners, this is a brand-new branch extending from their family’s history tree, made visible by a bright, sunny future. The selflessness of these benefactors makes all the difference in their lives, and though many may be rooting for their recipients from afar, the goodwill they emanate is always close enough to feel:

  • The Bretzlaff Foundation
  • Susanne and Gloria Young Foundation
  • NV Energy Foundation
  • U.S. Bank Foundation
  • NV IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE)

“Words can’t express my gratitude for their donations to this program. Without them, I don’t know where I would be this summer. My mind was all scattered before graduation,” said Vazquez.

Students wrote endearing letters to Summer Bridge supporters, grateful for their belief in them and reassuring those younger than themselves to leap into their education so they can pave the way for their happiness as tomorrow’s professionals.

“Dear Donors, I appreciate all the support and opportunities you have given to the Summer Bridge students. This program has been highly motivating, and it’s been such a great help. I feel very confident as I continue into the Fall Semester and my dream career,” wrote participant Natalie Ruiz.

“I want to encourage younger students to take this program as well because it will impact their education and lead them to success. Thank you again for everything provided for us and this amazing opportunity,” signed Ruiz.

How wonderful it is to see the transformation from high school students to self-assured college-ready individuals, lifting one another and enthusiastic about this adventure in life ahead of them! Of course, none of this would have been possible without the charity of kindhearted donors who trust in the younger generation to do good work through their professional actions. Bring it on, Fall Semester, because the Summer Bridge students are ready for you.

“I feel like the program prepares you because, after going through it, I’m ready to take on more classes. I’m more open to tackling challenging courses now,” said Contreras.

“I want to tell everyone, do not be scared! Try something new because we were all afraid to try this program, but it turned out great and has prepared us for our next steps in college,” said Romero.

For more information, please visit the Summer Bridge program website or call the Recruitment and Access Center at 775-673-8236.