BY KAREN BLISS Neil and Pegi Young’s Bridge School in Hillsborough, California, was a much-needed, one-of-a-kind school for children with severe speech and physical impairments when it opened in 1987. Now it is a model for other schools and uses communication technology to teach its methods to other teachers around the world.
“Bridge School is a model,” Neil Young told Samaritanmag.com backstage at the Juno Awards in Toronto where he accepted the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award in late March.
“We have a teachers-in-residence program, where teachers come from all around the world and every year we have a visiting teacher from a different part of the world. Then they go back to their countries and we support [them]. And now, more with Cisco Systems and Tele-Presence, we communicate directly with all these schools throughout the world using the Bridge School model.”
The Youngs started the school after they were unable to find a suitable learning environment for their son, Ben, who was born with cerebral palsy. Teaming up with Jim Forderer, another parent of a special needs child, and Dr. Marilyn Buzolich, a speech and language pathologist, they envisioned a school in which each child was given individual attention, based on their skills and abilities, and encouraged to grow and develop into adulthood.
* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.