Cumberland Times-News

September 4, 2013

BRIDGE Program finds new home

Day care center now located at Meshach Frost Village

Angie Brant
Cumberland Times-News

— FROSTBURG — After months of uncertainty, the Frostburg BRIDGE Program has found a new home and its work will continue as it has for more than 20 years.

The licensed day care center is now located at Meshach Frost Village in the Frostburg Housing Authority’s community building. While the address may be different, the BRIDGE program maintains its dedication to Building Responsible Individuals in a Daily Growing Environment, under the direction of Leticia Shelton.

For years, the facility was located in the Frostburg United Methodist Church, but when financial constraints made it impossible to continue the partnership, Shelton, her staff and children in her care were unsure of their future.

Members of the community and FrostburgFirst offered their support and soon Shelton had leads for possible locations. Despite the uncertainty, Shelton maintained her faith that God would provide her with the guidance she needed.

“He didn’t forget me and I knew if we kept the faith, he would provide, and he did,” Shelton explained. “We received so much support from the community.”

When Laurie Mason, Frostburg Housing Authority executive director, showed her the property on State Street, Shelton knew that BRIDGE had a home.

“It is the perfect location with just enough room for us, and all of our inspections were completed with flying colors and we were able to open in time for the new school year,” she said.

BRIDGE operates as a day care and an after- and before-school center, but Shelton and her staff consider their work to be a “mission of the community.”

“We are so much more than a day care; we teach the children and help them to be better people.”

Shelton’s mission to serve area children began many years ago when she was hired as an aide for the YMCA’s after-school program. She decided to expand on that idea and open the BRIDGE Program after a great deal of prayer and contemplation.

“There was a need in the community for safe care for children and I love this work,” she said.

Shelton’s zest for her work has not diminished in 23 years and she takes great pleasure in caring for and educating the youngsters, ages 2 to grade six.

“I love it; there is never a dull moment, and when you are teaching them and you see that light bulb go off there is just nothing like it,” she said. “And when they come up and give you a hug, you just cannot put a price tag on that.”

Shelton and her staff hold several community outreach programs throughout the year designed to teach the children the need to give back to their communities.

“We make sure they share the belief of caring and sharing. We hold food drives and events to support local animal shelters and we put together baskets of love for area nursing homes and support the women and children’s shelter,” she said. “We teach the children that there are people out there that need our support and help. They may be small but they have a voice and they can make a difference.”

For more information on the BRIDGE Program, call 301-689-3771.

“We teach the children to respect themselves and others. My goal is that every child at BRIDGE grows up knowing and believing that as long as they do their best they will be successful,” Shelton said.

Contact Angie Brant at abrant@times-news.com.