Bridges is a nationally-recognized program serving Orange County schools for over 30 years. We work with schools to build campus environments that are respectful of diversity, where ALL students, staff and parents feel safe, welcome and respected. We offer conferences, workshops, retreats and internships to support our work in schools across the county.

“The environment on this campus is dramatically different! We see almost no conflict that has racial implications.”

Middle School Principal

About Bridges

Young people learn best in a safe, secure, inclusive environment. Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy to find for Orange County middle and high school students. Over the past twenty years, Orange County schools have experienced bias-related incidents and violence that have prompted administrators and teachers to contact Groundswell to help build inter-group communication, cohesion, and a sense of community on their campuses.
In response, Groundswell created the Bridges: School Inter-Group Relations and Violence Prevention Program. Bridges is a multi-year program with the mission of improving inter-group relations by partnering with schools and communities to create, sustain and advocate for safe, inclusive school campuses. Bridges empowers members of the campus community to identify, investigate and address the human relations needs on their campus via trainings and dialogues. They acquire the skills to work with a diversity of people while improving the human relations climate on campus and addressing student success and opportunities. Their worlds grow larger as they are exposed to different people, backgrounds, cultures and experiences.

Bridges is nationally recognized:

Bridges by the Numbers:

Since 2018, our program has delivered:

Bridges Testimonials and Success Stories:

At the start off the 20-21 school year DIRHA and Barron Bridge Builders facilitated two implicit bias trainings to 100 + school staff during their Professional Development days. The students bravely shared their personal experiences on campus regarding implicit bias to demonstrate the impact it had on their lives. They received an outpour of praises and support from the staff. Huntington Beach High School Bridges club led its first virtual campaign in November focusing on destigmatizing mental health and creating safe spaces for students to share their challenges. As well as providing concrete resources to the HBHS community during the pandemic.

The Bridges leaders spearheaded the campaign by creating infographics, facilitating workshops, and collaborating with other clubs on campus. As well as partnering with the Hoag Mental Health Center, Connect OC and OCDE to provide workshops.

The FVHS and HBHS Bridges club hosted the first joint virtual weeklong Days of Dialogue which was a huge success!! Bringing a diverse group of presenters discussing Anti-Asian racism, economic justice, mental health and much more for students to learn, engage and connect. The Daily Pilot wrote a story on DOD featuring our student leaders and advisors.

  • 43 presenters and 20 presentations
  • 40 student Volunteers, 3 Bridges/DIRHA advisors, 4 Admin, 2 OCHR Board Members and 27 teachers joined in
  • Approximately 560 students participated

To learn how to create safe schools, please contact the Director of Youth & Education Programs, April Van Ligten, at or 714.480-6589.