Charles Simpson is the Founder and Director of Bridges to Change Inc.(BTC) in Gresham. Mr. Simpson has a degree in Addiction Counseling, and is a Certified Addiction Counselor, and has been working with corrections clients, and in the addictions field for sixteen years. Mr. Simpson worked for seven years for Volunteers of America's Inpatient Transition Program for male adjudicated clients in Portland, then went to work for Pathfinders of Oregon as their Transitional Services Director before starting his own non-profit.
Bridges to Change's focus is on re-entry into the community from prison, jail, and homelessness, for men and women on supervision. BTC provides transitional housing, mentoring, anger management and relapse prevention classes, provides reach-ins in all the release institutions to identify the obstacles to success for the inmates. BTC has seventeen full time paid mentors, to work with clients, and over 180 drug- and alcohol-free transition housing beds in four counties. We work closely with Community Corrections to coordinate services and give the clients the best chance of being successful. The program is highly structured, clients are held accountable, and are treated with dignity and respect.
Mr Simpson states that, “I have been incarcerated myself and had addiction issues. I know the obstacles to being successful upon release. Re-entry is a process, we want to help clients walk through that process and become productive members of the community”
I have a degree in education, and am a former teacher. Relevant experience; I worked for Pathfinders of Oregon as their resource coordinator, and ran an inmate hotline for nine years prior to starting Bridges to Change.
I have been on the Board of the Portland Saturday Market for some years and understand how a board functions. I am a cofounder of BTC, and know all aspects of the program, and it makes me uniquely capable of being the director, I have excellent relationships with the staff, and our Community Partners.
I believe in transparency, and integrity in everything I do, and the company does.
Program Manager - Clackamas County
My name is Doug Vanzant. My clean date is 6/7/01. I have been working for Bridges to Change since 7/1/07 as program manager for Clackamas County. Before that I was a mentor for LifeWorks Northwest in Washington County for 4 years.
My passion and mission in life is to help the just-released inmate have a chance at a new life by using my experience, strength, and hope to help make positive change.
I spent 24 years in my addiction, jails, treatment facilities, and prison and was released for good on 6/28/02 and was given a chance to have a new life.
My name is Terri Collins and I am the female mentor for the Bridges to Change program in Clackamas County.I have been in recovery from drug addiction for over a decade. My life before I was introduced to recovery was a day-to-day struggle that ended with multiple trips to prison and homelessness.
Bridges to Change is my second position as a mentor and I have completed Motivational Interviewing, Ethics & Boundaries, and other courses to help me to be more effective in working with women.
I first heard of the Bridges program through a friend who is a mentor here, I was very interested in participating and possibly helping make a difference in women's lives who want to make positive changes. I believe that we, as mentors, are in a unique position to share our experiences and show our clients that there is a better way to live and to be successful.
My name is Joey Johns. I have been in recovery for since 2007.The reason I became a mentor is to help individuals who are recovering from substance abuse and destructive lifestyles put their lives back together. I believe that I can effectively mentor and guide people in the right direction because I have been where they have been and I am very passionate about this program. I am a graduate of The Bridges to Change program in Clackamas County. After my release from prison the mentors from Bridges to Change helped me overcome the barriers I put in place over many years of drug addiction and criminal behavior. My life is better than I could have ever dreamed possible. So I am proof that this program can help you succeed. Being of service to those with my similar background is the cornerstone of my recovery.
My job encompasses several areas which are all rewarding for me.
I aid in opening our new houses, deliver supplies, and work with our mentors as needed. Also, I manage one of our houses. There are various other duties as well. I even get to go into the prisons and work with the men in there to develop their plans for release.
The reason I feel so blessed is that I spent most of my life in prison and Bridges to Change provided the start I needed to make a successful reentry to the real world. My childhood was one of crime and drug abuse and when I got to prison I realized that I had become someone I did not want to be. Many years of work to change myself paid off. I took every program I could that might help me understand how to become a better man. I completed courses in anger management, mental health, drug and alcohol treatment, cognitive thinking, work skills and teamwork training. There were others, too, but the point is: I turned my life around and I am proud to be free and productive. I have continued to participate in further skills training since my release and I remain free from drugs and alcohol.
My past is something that helps me relate to those going through the same challenges; and I love being there for them in the same way others were there for me when I was in need. We all make mistakes in life...some learn from them and try to do better. Those are the people I get to help every day. In the process I get to give back and make amends to the world from which I took so much.
I am Program Manager for Washington County Bridges to Change. My Clean date is 5/25/2002 and that is when my life started to change. On that day I was arrested once again. This time it was different and I just did not want to live like that anymore. I decided to give treatment and Recovery a chance.
Recovery is a process for me so I needed to focus on myself before I could help any one else. When I finished working a 12 step program the first time I felt like I was able to start giving back to the community that I had been taking from for all those years. What better way than to become a member of my local R.A.P. core team? I attended trainings and learned that I could make a change in my community. Today I am a mentor for the treatment center I graduated from and am able to give back what was freely given to me.
My name is John Karp-Evans. My clean date is 11/20/02. I have been working for bridges to change since December 2011 as a recovery mentor in Multnomah County. As a juvenile I struggled with drug addiction and was given a chance to attend treatment. I was introduced to 12 step meetings at the age of 17 and have stayed clean ever since. I love helping men in recovery by sharing my experience strength and hope with them. For my self care I enjoy playing slow pitch softball and skiing.
My name is Kelly Goss and my clean date is 8/19/92. I work for Bridges To Change as a mentor for Clackamas County CSAP addiction treatment. My expertise is working with those who have been enslaved by their addiction and criminality. My heart speaks to those whose past is like mine.
I am an old town drug addict and criminal who has been clean a long time and has prospered in everything that I have worked towards. My mission is to motivate and inspire those who have lost all hope by sharing my own experience and personal growth. I have been there and I know the way out!! I can help change lives if they are willing to do the work.
I have many years of schooling, and ethics and boundries certifications, but nothing is more effective than one addict or criminal working with another.
Drug Court Mentor - Clackamas County
I took many roads, but only one journey brought me to Bridges to Change. January 2008 I found myself on the door steps of an Oxford house for women and children. Empty and broken I began my recovery/rediscovery. I had 30 years filled with alcohol, drugs and domestic violence which all go hand-in hand.
Inspired by other recovering individuals I found my passion in service. I began by doing service in my Oxford house then with the chapter. I was fortunate to be part of opening a house for survivors of domestic violence and then began working for Recovery Association Project as the Women's Outreach worker.
The peace in my life continues to grow with my recovery and the people whose lives touch mine.