This bridge may well lead to success for many college students

Ryan Levy was frustrated. It took him 11 years and four majors to finish college.

He and several other recent local college graduates noticed peers struggling to transition to adulthood. So they created a website that helps guide high school and college students to various educational and career paths. 

“I saw a problem early in my educational career,” said Levy, now 30 years old. “I needed more than what my guidance counselor was providing to help me fully understand my possibilities.”

Brdge 4 Success – spelled in an unusual way because “Bridge 4 Success” had already been claimed – helps people by going beyond what most schools are able to provide. 

The site, launched last September, offers one-on-one courses for $35 an hour as well as semi-annual and annual plans that start at $120. The course categories offered are: a high school survival guide, a college crash course, “no education, no problem,” and “real-world problems.”

Based on recent Broward Schools data, Levy estimates that nearly 60,000 students “are struggling academically, socially and emotionally.” 

“What people don’t understand is that students need a better support system during these intense times,” said D’Anna Viñas, 22, a co-founder of B4S. “We want B4S to give that support.”

Levy said COVID has caused students to be less engaged with the next step in their lives because they have no one to talk to or are unaware of how to reach their counselors. They spend most of their time seeing a teacher through a screen.

“I just felt lost,” said Fabian Hernandez, 16, a high school junior in Charles W. Flanagan High School. “My parents didn’t go to college so they can’t guide me and COVID has made the process to apply to college a lot more difficult.”

Fabian came across the B4S website through Instagram and found information on how to apply for the SAT and balance his dual enrollment classes.

“Our hope is to reach as many people as possible,” said Levy. “We understand the power of social media and we are looking forward to getting aid from the state that we can share with those who need scholarships.”

He said they have applied for grants from the state, possibly due to their connection to a local church group. 

Their goal is to help as many South Florida students as possible before the new school year.

“We are working on a plan to expand our website and have more one-on-one Zoom meetings with students and others not in school,” said Viñas.

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Sofia Benitez is a senior majoring in journalism with a Bilingual Broadcast Journalism certification. After her studies, she wishes to pursue a career within the Hispanic news community and social media.