BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – As homelessness remains a growing problem in Colorado, Bridge House in Boulder is having success getting people back on their feet. It’s Ready To Work program is a year-long transition program that helps people move from living on the street to being a self-sufficient community member.

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At the Community Table Kitchen in Boulder, Ready To Work program members worked at a variety of food prep jobs.

“We have a whole catering division that does public and private events for folks. We also cook all the meals that we serve in our other programs,” said Scott Medina, the Community Affairs Director for Bridge House.

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The food that these workers make is truly a labor of love.

“You work together. So it’s like every day is new. You learn new skills,” said Nessa Meadows, a graduate of the Ready To Work program at Bridge House.

The skills the workers learn build toward a career.

“If you fall they pick you up. They don’t yell at you about it, they pick you up and help you find your way,” Meadows told CBS4.

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While every story is different, all the program members have one thing in common, at some point, they’ve experienced homelessness.

“My husband died,” Meadows said. “I immediately became homeless.”

She lived on the streets for 3-years.

“Part of the problem with being homeless is you begin to believe that you aren’t worth it,” Meadows recalled.

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She found help through Bridge House and the Ready to Work program.

“After this year-long transition program, when someone graduates, they have their own full-time job, and full-time apartment that they’ve moved into, and now, that’s self-sustaining,” Medina explained.

Meadows rebuilt her sense of self-worth, learned some new skills, and now works full-time in the kitchen.

“Having your basic necessities met makes a big difference. Knowing that you’re someone that someone can see, makes a big difference,” Meadows said.

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The Ready to Work program has a 75 to 80-percent graduation rate. It’s so successful, Bridge House opened a new facility in Aurora. It’s that facility that’s taking part in Xcel Energy’s Day of Service.

“On that day, we’re going to have people working a lot outdoors, helping with landscaping, because we’re still pretty new in this building, and it’s a big, large building, so there’s been a lot to do to get it up and running,”  Medina said.

LINK: Register for Xcel Energy’s Day of Service

Xcel Energy’s Day of Service is Saturday, Sept. 7 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.


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