The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2015, May 2-3

Bridging Hearts

Imagine being 25 years-old, unable to drive, without friends, living at home with parents or semi-independently, and underemployed. This is the typical life of a Bridging Hearts' member. Our members have lived lonely and isolated lives; experiencing shame, depression and anxiety over their learning disability.



Bridging Hearts was founded in 2006 by a Twin Cities mother who was seeking a way for her daughter with learning disabilities to safely connect with others. Bridging Hearts is a low cost membership organization that provides social opportunities as well as access to a secure online social network for members only.



There is no organization similar to Bridging Hearts that provides this service to this overlooked population that falls between the cracks. We hope to improve our website, which is the connection, lifeline, and community for our members and reach more young adults who are living a life of isolation and loneliness.

What new functionality we are looking for

Mobile Compatibility - Many of the Bridging Hearts members use their phones or tablets to access the internet, however, the current website doesn't allow them to easily utilize the site and it's functions to connect with others. It's important Bridging Hearts members can access their profiles, chat with friends, and check out the event calendar, all from their phones or tablets.



Website Makeover - The current website is outdated and needs a refresh. A website makeover is needed to add user friendliness, be responsive for viewing on mobile devices, update fonts and pictures, and add a sense of cool.



Search Engine Optimization - We want other people to learn about and become part of the Bridging Hearts community. For young adults with learning disabilities, family members, or professionals in the field seeking a secure online social network that's safe - we're out there! Come find us!

How the new functionality will help

Connect is the first word of the Bridging Hearts mission statement and with an updated website this will, without a doubt, aid in the connection of young adults with learning disabilities. Bridging Hearts members will be able to connect and communicate with others from mobile devices; more people will find out about us; they'll be excited about the updated site; stimulate more traffic; and get a chance to feel a greater sense of belonging within the community.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

56 Messages from Supporters

2015-03-19 04:03:01 UTC
Susan Walsh

We found Bridging Hearts several years ago. Bridging Hearts is a wonderful social group for young adults who struggle with learning difficulties. Even though my daughter lives in a neighboring state and cannot attend all events that she would like, she feels a strong connection with other members through the website. Like most young adults, her electronic devices are valuable tools for staying in touch with friends and family. The Bridging Hearts group is a very inclusive and welcoming group which provides a community of friendship for those that are often on the outside. A mobile app would allow members to have easier access to their friends. I know the group leaders work really hard to keep the costs to members low. To have a website 'makeover', complete with mobile capabilities, would make a huge difference for so many in this unique organization.

2015-03-19 03:51:10 UTC
Jessica Knutson

We need an app so it's easier to use the site. I almost always use my phone to go on the site and it's difficult to see everything because it doesn't fit the screen. I will probably use it more than Facebook if we get an app. This group is a major part of my life. Before I joined, I had only a few friends and I barely saw them. Now I have dozens! All because of Bridging Hearts. I am 22 and I have Asperger's.

2015-03-19 02:58:25 UTC
Conrad Nauman

I have seen my daughter's life transformed by Bridging Hearts. She now has friends and a community where she matters. I would like other parents who have young adult children like mine to be able to find the website through a search. Members also use their phones or tablets but struggle with some of the website functions without a mobile app. Mobile compatibility would mean everything to this group.

Hope they have the opportunity to work with The Nerdery.

2015-03-19 04:10:03 UTC
Beth Crandall

I am a member of Bridging Hearts. We need mobile site that easier to send messages on tablet or phone. It easier to get connected to the website when out and about. I am thankful for Bridging Hearts how its impacted my life, by meeting and making new friends,without Bridging Hearts I would haven't met New people and became friends. I am 29 years old.

2015-03-19 14:16:44 UTC
Rosie Brown

I am the parent of a member of Bridging Hearts. This group has done so much for my son! He used to be home and isolated all the time. He felt he didn't fit in anywhere. Then his counselor recommended the Bridging Hearts group to us and he signed up. In this group, Brian finally felt he belonged somewhere. He attended events, made friends and eventually met the love of his life. Brian is now married to Nicole and they have a great life together. Their social calendar centers around the friends they have made in Bridging Hearts. It is so wonderful that this group is available to them and all the other members.
They could use a website update to enhance their ability to communicate with their members and make it easier to connect with other organizations. I hope you can help this group because it has changed my son's life!

2015-03-19 19:25:07 UTC
Pat Gray

Bridging Hearts has transformed the personal and recreational lives of many young adults with learning challenges, who up until Bridging Hearts, were sitting bored at home with little to no friends. I am a county case manager in helath and human services and I have heard time and time again, how this social group has made such a difference in the lives of its members. There are so many heart warming stories told by a parent or sibling, of how their family member finally has friends. What a statement; something most of us take for granted.
Keeping current with technology is a must! The memembers of Bridging Hearts are wanting a user friendly app for their smart phones and or tablets, so they don't have to be tied to their computers. For those who do not own a computer, but do have a smart phone, it is essential that they can easily access the Bridging Hearts website and get the full view and ease of use, so they can maintain thier new found friendships.

2015-03-19 21:38:19 UTC
Elizabeth Reeve

Bridging Hearts has added a new dimension to my son's life. The transtion out of school and into young adulthood can be extrememly lonely for adults with developmental differences. My son Sam is very socially motivated but did not have a niche that fit him socially. He loves Bridging Hearts! His father recently died and Bridging Hearts members were able to reach out and offer support and kindness when he needed it the most. Anything that can be done to increase the "connectivity" of this wonderful group would be greatly appreciated.

2015-03-19 19:08:18 UTC
marti auringer

My daughter Holly has been a member for at least 3 years. She has met so many other nice adults with abilities similar to hers. It has given her confidence to realize she is special and not different.
She has gone on so many cool activities that we as parents have not even done...boat cruises, cooking classes, golfing at a course with abstract art at every hole, etc.
Denise, Natalie and family have done an amazing job from screening new applicants (which made me feel better as a mom) to organizing the activities. I cant say enough about the positive impact this organization has had not only for our daughter but for our family as a whole.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell you how wonderful Bridging Hearts is.

2015-03-20 13:57:56 UTC
Anonymous

My son has found a social group and a whole bunch of wonderful new friends because of Bridging Hearts. It has allowed him to travel independently of us (his parents) and this has meant the world to him. I used to worry what he was doing with his free time and now I know he is probably doing one of the many and varied Bridging Hearts activities. This group is golden.

2015-03-21 15:49:59 UTC
Kathy Schmiedeskamp

My friend's daughter is a member of BH. Because they travel to attend events, it becomes an opportunity for mom-Sue to include her friends for our own event, while her daughter attends the BH event.

We have seen the change it has made for her daughter. I recently remarked how mom-Sue had given life to her daughter... but that she really had given her A life by finding BH for daughter.

And though it may not always be easy to attend every event in person, the relationships her daughter has made and maintained using technology has really helped to "bridge the hearts" over the MILES.

Bridging Hearts mission is Connect. Belong. Matter. The social media is a strong element in a way for them to connect and feel they belong.

Helping to update the website and technology will also bridge those tech experts to these young adults, while doing something for them that really matters.

2015-03-21 16:30:54 UTC
Eldean and Nita Enderson

We had looked for a long time trying to find the right fit for our son's social life. He was very fortunate to have had some friends from his home town area, but we were looking for new friendships and new experiences. After a while , we found Bridging Hearts. This has really changed his life. He not only has the events that are sponsored by Bridging Hearts to attend, but he has friends to do things with the other weekends when events are not scheduled. He has found more confidence in himself and knows that he can help his friends when they need a driver or someone to hang-out with. Because this organization has enriched his life and made us as parents so grateful for the opportunities that he has had, we would be so happy if this organization was given the chance to make their website better. Communication is the key to any organization, and by making this easier for the members it will not only help the them, but make it an organization that others will learn about and provide a safe environment for their young adults. What can be better than that!

2015-03-22 12:52:33 UTC
Steve & Andi Million

This month we are celebrating 7 years of membership for our daughter, Kelly, with Bridging Hearts. It has been a truly life-changing opportunity for her! Kelly was an isolated, depressed and anxious young adult with nowhere to turn for friendship and a social life...until we found Bridging Hearts. She now has friends that she connects with on-line and personally every day. She lives independently near her friends and her life is full of social and emotional connections. She depends on her ipad and cell phone to enhance her relationships. We need your help. Thank you for considering this organization for your Nerdery Challenge!!

2015-03-22 21:01:23 UTC
Ann Meehan

I am a member of Bridging Hearts. I use my iPhone and iPad to go on Bridging Hearts all the time. I would like to play games with my friends on Bridging Hearts but I can't cause you can only play them if you're on a computer. I think Bridging Hearts needs a mobile app cause then it will be easier for people like me to go on the website. Bridging Hearts is much more safer and secure then Facebook.

2015-03-22 23:51:17 UTC
Ron Walsh

Our daughter is a member of Bridging Hearts. I have seen it enrich her life and soften her heart. She has built relationships with peers that helps her feel more mainstream and independent. From a parent's perspective; the thought of my child being lonely and detached worries me more than any other aspect of her disability. Bridging Hearts has lifted that dark cloud and offers the hope of a future with friends and meaningful relationships. Living about 100 miles from the Twin Cities makes the Bridging Hearts webpage vital in keeping her up-to-date with schedules and friends. Thanks for you help!

2015-03-23 00:27:32 UTC
Laura

I have been a member of Bridging Hearts for almost 3 years now. I live in a neighboring state so I'm not able to get together as often as I would like with Bridging Hearts members. It would be more convenient to use my phone to connect with my friends. I hope you will choose Bridging Hearts for the new website makeover.

2015-03-23 17:39:39 UTC
Marsha Martin

My niece is a member of Bridging Hearts, and I have become acquainted with many of them through volunteering at social events. I have observed that there are members who struggle with articulating their thoughts and expressing themselves. However, online they have a venue where they seem to communicate more openly and easier. An upgraded website would be a huge asset to Bridging Hearts. The members are so grateful for anything positive that contributes to their organization.Thank you for your consideration.

2015-03-24 02:21:16 UTC
Natalie Nauman

I used to not have many friends before Bridging Hearts. I am 32 years old and I tried other groups. I did not feel like I fit anywhere. Then came Bridging Hearts and I love it! We have such nice members. We do have some problems with the website. Sometimes when I try to pull up the website on my iPad I get all "smiley faces". We could use some improvements so it is easier to connect with an iPad and iPhone. It would be nice to have easier access to friends. I am ready for the update!!! "Rock on to the new Bridging Hearts site!!"

2015-03-24 19:45:15 UTC
Bobbi and Harvey Radin

We are so grateful for Bridging Hearts! This wonderful organization has helped our son in so many ways.

For young adults with an autism spectrum condition, loneliness can be devastating and sad. When you simply want to be accepted, when you simply want to be someone among your peers, autism spectrum issues can make social interaction particularly challenging and daunting. And you experience a crushing sense of loneliness.

Bridging Hearts is making a world of difference for our son. He is now accepted, and is fully engaging in social activities, great conversations and, most important, genuine, warm friendships with good friends. Bridging Hearts has changed his life.

We wish for all the very best for Bridging Hearts.

2015-03-25 22:39:26 UTC
Jill Lighty

Bridging Hearts is a wonderful organization filled with young people who have a lot to offer society. Through this website and their social get togethers, they find others who experience the world in similar ways. The website helps them to connect. Having a phone app would be so wonderful and allow them to always be in contact when they want to be/need to be. Our son has been a member for many years and really enjoys the friendships he has made. Bridging Hearts gives these young people an opportunity for a full and fulfilled life.

2015-03-27 20:05:52 UTC
Sherri West

Bridging hearts brings together a community of young people that need social interaction but don't have an easy way to find each other. This is a nearly invisible under served community that would surely have their needs fall through the cracks without the unsung efforts and supportive community of Bridging Hearts. In addition to monthly planned outings, the Bridging Heart website is the member's primary gathering place.

This non-profit organization is building relationships and providing the friendships that give life purpose and a reason for looking forward. From learning to cook together to trying out ice skating or bowling, to getting to dress up for a special occasion, to traveling or volunteering together, or working with a counselor to learn how to talk about grief, Bridging Hearts members get experiences in life skills. These experiences build confidence and can be life changing for them as well as for their families.

This is an opportunity to do something that makes a difference in the lives of these young people. Thank you for your help!

2015-03-28 15:35:15 UTC
Jill Randall

Bridging Hearts has greatly enriched my son's life. Living with a learning disability is a very lonely life challenge. Bridging Hearts has been a positive influence both socially and emotionally. The activities offered provide fun and support not only for the young adult members, but also for their parents. It provides an essential service that has been missing for many years in our communities. Bridging Hearts is a wonderful organization! This makes it even more important that more families become aware of Bridging Hearts and all that it has to offer our young adults. Updating its website is a MUST to remain current with technology and allow easy access to this outstanding organization. THANK YOU, Bridging Hearts!

2015-03-28 18:05:18 UTC
Elaine Duffy

Bridging Hearts is a lifeline for our son that connects him to acceptance from peers in a fun and social way that he has not had in his adult life. Until Bridging Hearts, my son had no social activity outside of family events. He enjoys the activities so much but he also has difficulty navigating the website to find events. It would be so great if someone could make the website more user friendly. Like others have mentioned, the cost of membership is low and inline with what it's members can afford. Please strongly consider helping Bridging Hearts and it's amazing founder rework the website so that these individuals who need a social connection in their lives can do so more easily.

2015-03-28 22:51:37 UTC
Paul and Shirley Smith

Our daughter, Jennifer, has been a member of Bridging Hearts for 2 years. In that short time she has connected with some wonderful young adults at events, overnights and get-togethers, and on-line. We are so grateful that Jennifer found Bridging Hearts. It has provided her with a new social outlet, in a safe, caring environment. In particular, BH utilizes all the good things associated with social media and on-line tools to keep its members connected daily. BH is a unique organization, and its founders are to be commended for what they've created.

2015-03-29 02:29:29 UTC
Alec

I found out about bridging hearts from the transition school I was going to and from work from 3 other members have been a member for few years and I like it great social group ! And I use the website on my phone and hardest part about using the website is uploading videos someday I would like to upload the videos of concerts I go to and so uploading the website . And also there are some fun and enjoyable events or trips .

2015-03-29 02:34:01 UTC
Martin Odian

Since I have joined Bridging Hearts I have made a lot of New Friends and i have enjoyed all the events I have gone to My favorite event was the Boat Cruise on Lake Minnotanka. I use my iphone and Ipad to access the bridging hearts website I am really Glad I joined bridging hearts because I was able to make a lot of new Friends.

2015-03-29 05:12:46 UTC
John Sugimura

There is nothing more motivating for young people with intellectual disabilities than developing new relationships leading to lifelong friendships. You care more about yourself when people care about you! Members learn more about themself and develop their passions.

I refer my clients on the autism spectrum to participate in Bridging Hearts to expand their world to find friends. Lots of small developmental and social successes lead to big life changes including employment and creating a life for the future. Bridging Hearts delivers awesome quality experiences ensuring the health, welfare and safety of vulnerable adults. Meeting the technology needs of its members is critical to ensure engagement long-term.

2015-03-29 18:22:31 UTC
Sam Hanlon

My mom (Elizabeth Reeve) introduced me to Bridging Hearts because she wanted me to have more friends. I am a member now. I am very glad to have met more people like me. As others have mentioned, people with learning disabilities often find social situations daunting and challenging. Updating the website would not just make things easier for them, it would also help the people who live farther away because they can't go to as many events. Please take a good hard look at Bridging Hearts. You would have such a positive impact on people that need an organization like this to make connections and find a place where they fit in.

2015-03-29 22:43:28 UTC
Ellen and Gary Larson

Bridging Hearts fills such a gap in the lives of its members! Everyone of us needs to feel accepted and understood among peers and to have meaningful friendships, but before Briding Hearts finding that was impossible for our daughter. Through and with this group she has opportunities to attend her own social events, and stay connected with her friends. The website improvements would be a great help to continue and grow this much needed organization and would be so greatly appreciated by its members!

2015-03-30 02:38:26 UTC
Judy & Jeff Gauvin

“Friends are like stars. They take you places that you can’t even imagine. They take you on adventures. They lighten up your day and you know they will be with you forever..”

Friends...it’s all about sharing the good and sometimes not too good times.  Someone to listen, and to share your laughter and tears … resulting in a positive effect on health and well-being! This is what Bridging Hearts is all about!

Bridging Hearts has given our daughter (and so many other young adults with disabilities) the opportunity to develop positive social relationships, to have friends who understand her and accept her for who she is! Participation in monthly events, planned activities and annual trips sponsored by Bridging Hearts has indeed played a huge role in her becoming a happier and healthier young woman.

Also, and just as important, the safe & secure on-line social network developed by Bridging Hearts allows our daughter and the other members to stay connected wherever they are and whenever they want. Upgrading the website, and access to it, would make it easier and more affordable for the members of this very special group (our “kids”) keep in touch and strengthen the relationships they already have...and develop new ones.

2015-03-30 04:08:50 UTC
Laurie Knutson

My daughter has been a member now for almost 3 years. She has a greater social life than my children with out disabilities. This non-profit organization has been a blessing. With a new website it could even be even greater. These wonderful young adults have all been thru struggles their entire life, it's about time they get something very rewarding and well deserved.

2015-03-30 07:22:45 UTC
Sarah Lowrey

I have been a member of Bridging hearts since December of 2011. I did a lot of sports all throughout my life and had friends through sports but had nothing else in common besides swimming.I did not have alot of outside friends. When I found Bridging hearts I found out that all the other members were in the same situation as me. My sister and my parents are really happy that I'making more friends. I love the BH online chat and keeping in touch with my friends, but the website cuts off when I try to use my phone for the BH website especially talking to my friends. Now that I have found bridging hearts I have more friends than ever and its important to be able to keep in touch. Using the BH website is very important to us and it needs a makeover to make it work better on our phones, so please consider helping us make the website better

2015-03-30 15:47:25 UTC
Anonymous

Jean Dickson

I am Jessica Knutson's grandma and have seen her change from a somewhat lonely young woman into a "social butterfly". She absolutely loves Bridging Hearts and all the friends she has made and the activities she attends!! Her social life is more active than any of her family members!

I wish Bridging Hearts could get "get the word out" about their wonderful organization. I happened to see Denise and Natalie on the news one night over three years ago and am so happy I did.

2015-03-30 21:17:57 UTC
Lora Poulos

My niece has been involved with Bridging Hearts from the beginning of the organization. I have seen her transform into such a happy and social person through connecting with friends on-line in Bridging Hearts. Technology has allowed my niece and her friends to communicate more easily as in-person communication is often difficult for them. This organization has made such a difference in the lives of the participants and I am very grateful that my niece has the opportunity to be a part of it.

2015-03-31 01:05:16 UTC
Audrey C.

To say that Bridging Hearts has been a lifesaver for our son would be an
understatement. Before finding BH, our son was so lonely and feeling so isolated that he told us he would rather be dead than continue on as is. The thing about Bridging Hearts is that it is for young adults who are too high functioning for traditional special services, yet
do not fit the mold of the mainstream either. In other words, they are in a rare lonely middle. Bridging Hearts has filled a void for so many
wonderful, deserving young adults...enriching their lives with activities,connection and most importantly, meaningful friendships.
It is a small group...relatively speaking...say, as compared to PACER or
other non-profits for young adults with learning and/or physical disabilities...because as mentioned above, the members fall into a small,
lonely category. This is all the more reason why I believe BH would be a wonderful candidate for the Nerdery Free Website. They do not receive
huge donation dollars, nor the huge volunteer support or recognition of other, more-recognized non-profits. PLEASE consider Bridging Hearts. What a thrill it would be...for the organizers and the members! Thank you so much!

2015-03-31 01:05:34 UTC
Mary Morehouise

My son (35yrs) has been a part of this amazing group for about 2 years. What a god-send it was the day we first heard of it. We had tried other social groups for persons with cognitive disabilities. All of them were focused on a very broad range of the disability and my son who is at the upper end of the disability curve did not fit in and he refused to go.

Bridging Hearts has fit him very well. He finally now has a group of friends he feels he "fits in" with. The members do much of the activity planning themselves which helps promote independent living. Families are involved as needed which also promotes a nice support piece for all.

As with other young adults most of the contacts take place using the web on their phones or computers. Having the website refreshed will bring new options to all. Bridging Hearts is a really unique program fulfilling a need that is not attended to by other groups. I know this as a fact as I worked in the disability field for many years.

2015-03-31 01:25:19 UTC
Johnny Colangelo

Bridging Hearts is a wonderful organization. They provide a valuable opportunity for young adults with social, learning and health challenges to be part of a supportive community and enjoy independent experiences together. Without Bridging Hearts, many of these individuals would be void of a social circle and miss out on fun, rewarding group opportunities that everyone deserves. The Bridging Hearts website is a critical part of the organization's mission. It's the ultimate place for people to find out about all of the gatherings and events the organization offers and a critical place for people to connect with each other. I can't imagine a group that would benefit more from The Nerdery's amazing website design skills than Bridging Hearts.

2015-03-31 01:46:17 UTC
Dom Colasanti

I think that Bridging Hearts needs to win the nerdy contest because a simpler website would be easier if you could just scroll automatically. technology keeps getting updated each year and too much information becomes stored in the cloud that becomes wasted if people cant be able to access the site easier. If your account could be deleted manually by yourself would nice. Uploading profile photos should be just like Instagram. In the profile section I would suggest typing our own options on describing who we are.

2015-03-31 02:57:50 UTC
Tom Meehan

My daughter Ann has lived in the Minneapolis area for several years. During that time, she has grown into a young, independent woman. She has made countless new friends and gained wonderful memories. When Ann and I get together in Minnesota or Milwaukee, she is constantly in touch with her friends. I've really been impressed with all the service activities Bridging Hearts performs, and I always love to look in Facebook and see the smiling faces of Ann, Natalie and all of their cohorts having a good time doing great things. Go, Bridging Hearts!

2015-03-31 05:51:09 UTC
Andrew "The Hammerhead" Roy

Hello My name is Andrew and I have been a member of Bridging Hearts since May 11 2011. I first found out about Bridging Hearts when I went to the Gala for MLC and I wasn't expecting nothing much but then I met Natalie Joe and John at the event and Natalie showed me this brochure and I was looking at it off and on for a few days and I decided I want in on this, I mean with all the cool events that they had that I have to join and I remember when Denise interview me that she mentioned that I might not like everyone and they might not like me but you know what that's ok as long as we respect one another. It has done some much for me and I know that the trips New York in 2012 and the cruise just this last dec 2014. I think that denise is like a mom to us and I know she is busy sometimes but I know that she does the best she can for certain solutions to the problem or just to make sure that we have a good day and that were happy. I do look forward to events and hopefully maybe open something someday. Denise I could never thank you enough for encouraging me and you cheer us on and that you want us to succeed and try our best. And one more thing YOU ARE AWESOME AND YOU ARE THE BEST. GO TEAM BRIDGING HEARTS

2015-03-31 14:42:12 UTC
Scott Madson

My son is a new member of Bridging Hearts and, despite the fact he has only been to two events so far, I immediately observed him connecting with the other members in a way that I had not seen before. As a parent, that was really wonderful to watch!

Bridging Hearts provides a means of providing social interaction, social education and confidence-building for a group of young adults that typically struggle mightily--an area that most of us take for granted. It is a great organization that is really effective in its work!

The Bridging Hearts website provides a means for my son to share with other members on a regular basis and keep informed of upcoming events. Making the website technology more current and the design more intuitive is critical to the Bridging Hearts mission.

2015-03-31 16:11:19 UTC
Cheryl Trapp

I have been aware of Bridging Hearts since its humble beginnings and can't believe how it has grown into this wonderful community of friends and family supporting each other through social networking. It has taken time, perseverance, and dedication.

I receive the Bridging Hearts newsletters and look forward to reading about their members recent activities and seeing the pictures with all their smiling faces. They make ME smile!

I am amazed how smart the members are using all the recent technology in so many areas; in fact, I'm jealous of their expertise. The Nerdery is to be commended for providing this opportunity for Bridging Hearts to have a new website. Thank you for considering this important non-profit organization in your selection.

2015-03-31 21:12:43 UTC
Bruce Warner

I've been aware of Bridging Hearts since its beginning and now volunteer. Bridging Hearts is changing lives.

The member instance that always hits me first when considering the value of Bridging Hearts is of a mid-twenties member hosting a party where about 20 other Bridging Hearts members showed up. The party was at his home where he lived with his parents. His parents were quite emotional--it was the first time in his life he had had friends over to the house.

The members only area of the Bridging Hearts website is a social media website where the vulnerable membership can safely interact and do so without judgement because only Bridging Hearts members and staff can access that part of the website.

Members communicate on the website, access official event information and sign up for those events. Additionally for the first time in their lives, many even initiate by creating their own events--which outnumber the official events.

The world is going mobile so the Bridging Hearts website needs to be mobile-friendly for the members. This Nerdery effort would be a big boost for a small but profoundly impactful organization.

2015-03-31 22:16:01 UTC
Denise Martin

The Bridging Hearts website is everything; our connector, information hub, the place we meet-up and how others find us. I am the director and have had the privilege of personally meeting all the wonderful members of Bridging Hearts. I have witnessed the transformation in their lives when you add genuine friendship. We are growing quickly and have outgrown a volunteer organization. We operate on a very limited budget. Some of our members are not allowed to use Facebook because they are vulnerable. Please help us with our improvements especially in making accessibility easier for all of our members. We also want to help other families find us. Thanks so much for your consideration.

2015-03-31 22:40:51 UTC
anonymous

My son joined Bridging Hearts a couple of years ago. Bridging Hearts has brought the much needed social interaction he needed. He has so much more confidence and so many wonderful new friends. He is living independently for the first time and the activities he participates gets him out of the house and enriches his life! We love this group!

2015-04-01 00:09:46 UTC
Kelsey Nauman

My mom, Denise, is the founder of Bridging Hearts. She started the organization after I had gone off to college and met friends through different campus activities. My sister, on the other hand, didn't have these same opportunities. That's when my mom saw a need for a service and went for it -- made with love, from scratch. She has spent hours and hours (and hours) developing this nonprofit, which has become the lifeline for so many individuals. But not only does it benefit members, their families are impacted too. It is such a relief to know my sister has friends she texts, goes to the movies, and eats dinner with on a regular basis. These are all people she met through Bridging Hearts. Without this organization, I know her life would be very different...and mine too.

Bridging Hearts is so deserving of this challenge as their budget is small, but their impact is huge. This organization has touched the lives of many, but it would be great to reach more. Go Bridging Hearts!

2015-03-31 22:39:07 UTC
Neil Dressel

I have volunteered at Bridging Hearts events like horseback riding, camping, bowling, and summer picnics. The quality of service Bridging Hearts provides and members they attract is truly incredible. I've met so many wonderful individuals who are kind, funny, and socially thrive in this safe community where they can meet others. I want more people to know about this wonderful organization as I've, firsthand, seen lifelong friendships formed because of Bridging Hearts.

2015-04-01 03:32:44 UTC
Kylee

Bridging Hearts is a wonderful non-profit that utilizes a thriving online community and in-person events to connect differently-abled adults within the Twin Cities area. I volunteered for Bridging Hearts last summer, and I was blown away by how kind and friendly the members were. I loved attending their member get-togethers (like a BBQ outside with games and a class with a fabulous sushi chef teaching them how to make sushi); it was evident from the interactions I saw between members and their families that this organization has really brought together a caring community that is unified in their experiences. It is rare to find an organization that addresses this specific need for supporting high-functioning adults, and the members and their families are incredibly passionate about Bridging Hearts. Bridging Hearts has given so much to its members, families, and volunteers; it is so powerful to see the members grow as they begin to engage in a social life they feel like they are comfortable and happy in. I am very thankful for the time I have spent with the Bridging Hearts community!

2015-04-01 04:25:20 UTC
evan

bridging hearts made me make new friends and made me meet new people in bh

2015-04-01 03:29:12 UTC
Anonymous

I am a member of Bridging Hearts and I must say I have tried many other social groups before I found Bridging Hearts, non of them felt like a right fit for me! I love to research online and all of the groups I have found were from my online searching including Bridging Hearts! I have been a member since 2007 and I absolutely love Bridging Hearts! I am so glad to of found Bridging Hearts. I have made friends, I go to different events, and I always have fun! I absolutely love our website a lot, love to connect with people there and it mean a lot to me and I would absolutely love to have our site be made over and more mobile friendly as I have a tablet that I use a lot.

2015-04-01 04:06:14 UTC
Claire Miller

My son joined Bridging Hearts about a year ago. Being timid at first, he was slow to get started with his involvement. Now it has become his lifeline. Because he doesn't drive, he spends hours on-line keeping in touch and visiting with the friends he has made. He also tries to attend every function--has eagerly anticipated each one and has been totally excited about the wonderful time he's had at each!

As a parent, it is wonderful to see him finally have friends and socialize. Life can be very lonely and isolated for those with special needs, which impacts the whole family. What a burden has been removed for my husband and I, not to have to be our son's sole friends, and plan and provide his social life!! Bridging Hearts has provided a safe, caring, comfortable, FUN opportunity for my son and I can't convey how thankful we are. Any help that this fine organization can obtain, will not only affect all the young adults involved, but their entire families as well.

2015-04-01 04:42:14 UTC
Andrew Radin

Since I became a member of Bridging Hearts in 2009, I have experienced friendship with new and wonderful friends. For me, BH is a community. I value being part of BH from my home in California. Technology is especially important for me because it is my link to everyone I know in BH. Technology helps me stay in touch so that I can continue to be part of this great group of friends.

2015-04-01 15:44:37 UTC
John Sugimura

Last Friday I attended the Bridging Hearts game night with a client who is on the autism spectrum. I have been coaxing and supporting this client to participate in Bridging Hearts since spring of 2014. My client was very clear thinking and was not motivated participate in a social organization. He is 22 years old and enjoys being a loner. He never knew any thing else than being alone all the time. No friends ever. Well all that is old news…my client participated the activity and exceeded every expectation. For the record, his team won. My client went on to help every team complete their game. He enjoyed the gaming and human contact which are the two things he has worked his entire life to keep separate. I was thrilled to hear my client report that he is no longer interested in remaining a loner and will return to Bridging Hearts.

So for the record…Bridging Hearts touched another heart and soul in such a way that it changed one young mans life on Friday, March 27!

2015-04-02 14:54:46 UTC
Tyler Thoresen

This place means a lot to me, especially to the people around me. It means a lot to me to see that the Nerdery would be able to help us in our mission to support people with disabilities as well as my own. I have Asperger's Syndrome as well as several other ones. I have been a leader with BH for several years now and have loved every minute of it. I believe that the renewal of this site would truly help and guide us furthuring our mission of acceptance, belonging, and the most important one. Loving one another.

2015-04-03 02:46:00 UTC
Joe Therkildsen

I heard about this group from my therapist, i move out to Minnesota 2 years ago, when i moved out here i had no hopes of getting a job, i had no friends or anyone to talk to, to me its really hard to make new friends, i suffer from anxiety and depression and its tough to get myself out there. i joined this group 4 months ago and since then i feel apart of something and feel great meeting people i can relate and connect to.

2015-04-04 03:01:12 UTC
Nicole Brown

I have Joined Bridging Hearts in 2009, my Mom found the group for me to make new friends,cause my old friends were too busy to hang out and had kids. My mom passed away with Cancer in November of 2009 the year I joined. I am glad some of you got to meet her. Since then I have been very happy with the group and made some awesome friends. I have hosted alot of parties for everyone in the group specially my famous Halloween and Pumpkin Carving Parties.

I have found the love of my life in this group and have been happily married for almost 2 years now, couldn't be happier. I live with my dad and husband Brian and 3 cats, This is an exciting group and I love it so far. I will even be a volunteer when I turn 40. This has been a fun experience for me and I am glad to have amazing friends like all of you :).

2015-04-04 18:02:09 UTC
Sean Roy

I can speak to the great benefit of Bridging Hearts from two sides. As disability advocate I speak to many families who have young adults with disabilities. Those young adults are often isolated socially, leaving their parents seeking ways to connect them to others. The Bridging Hearts model is simple, but perfect for meeting the needs of disconnected youth.

I can also speak as a sibling of a young man who is very much involved in Bridging Hearts. I am so grateful the he now has meaningful opportunities to make friends and experience adventures he otherwise would not have. Thank you Bridging Hearts!!

I strongly support the goal of improving the BH website and making it mobile friendly. I know firsthand that the BH crew use technology to communicate when they are not together. Helping BH improve its ability to provide an online community is a very worthy cause.

Our Mission

"Connect. Belong. Matter." is our mission. Bridging Hearts provides high quality social connections, both online and in person, for an under-served population of young adults with learning disabilities, which include Autism Spectrum Disorder and mild developmental disabilities.