Urban Bridge Builders (UBB) is a growing community-based organization in the Potomac Gardens and Hopkins area of Southeast Washington, D.C. We are working to transform underserved neighborhoods into vibrant, socioeconomically self-sustaining communities. Education is at the root of our work. Our hope and prayer is to eventually build a school that meets the needs of children and parents alike. We are building bridges in the community. We are listening to parents, students, and teachers. We are developing relationships with other nonprofits, agencies, and churches that are trying to address issues in the home and community. Together, we hope to build a support network that enables children to go to school, allows teachers to focus on teaching, and empowers parents to support their children’s academic, spiritual, and personal development.
Our immediate efforts are focused on starting a parent empowerment program that will serve as a bridge to get us to our goal of starting a school. Parents will be a part of our founding board and they will be major contributors to the establishment of our school.
The vision for Urban Bridge Builders (UBB) can be traced back to Alvin’s childhood as he experienced both the challenges of living and attending school in an underserved community in Los Angeles, CA and the benefits of being part of a more supportive neighborhood and school community in Santa Cruz, CA. As Alvin began to prepare for his college applications, he delved deeper into the underlying factors that enabled him to be the first person in his family to apply to college.
UBB’s vision crystallized for Alvin when a friend working as a juvenile counselor in west Philadelphia convinced Alvin to take on an extra master’s degree in education. After graduating with a better understanding of some of the systemic challenges in urban education, Alvin moved back to Washington, D.C. wanting to see whether his ideas and thoughts matched and met the reality and needs on those he aimed to serve. Through a process of talking to thousands of people, sketching countless diagrams on napkins, and serving on the board of an urban charter school, the vision for a Christ-centered, mixed tribe community school came into sharper focus.
Alvin developed a distinctive educational philosophy — that it’s not just about acquiring knowledge to obtain a job but it is also about building character and citizenry to make a positive impact in the neighborhoods that we are a part of — citizens that are concerned about and contributing to their community.
Today, we’re about building character, citizenry, and community through education and collaboration with local families, service providers, residents and other concerned stakeholders. Rather than watching a tidal wave of gentrification take over the community, UBB is working to link different tribes in the community together — ultimately at a school — to be a rising tide that lifts everyone up because we believe that strong families, quality education for our children, and safe and healthy neighborhoods are things that all of us desire and can only be achieved together.
Our Core Values
We seek to consistently demonstrate,
display and pursue Christ-Centered:
- Character: that is consistent and marked by integrity (Luke 16:10);
- Commitment: for the long run realizing we are part of a multi-generational journey (Matt 6:20-21; Phil 3:14, 20-21; Heb 12:1-2);
- Competency: seeking to be good and generous stewards of our God-given gifts, talents, and abilities (Matthew 25:29, Luke 16:9);
- Calling: because of the convictions that hold us; not the beliefs that we hold (Eph 4:1; Ezra 7:10);
- Courage: to make difficult decisions and to stand firm on the convictions behind the UBB mission (Luke 9:23, 2 Tim 3:12);
- Christ-like Servant Leadership: through building relationships and serving with a spirit of grace and humility (Mark 10:45, Eph 2:19-22; 4: 2-5, 11-16); and
- Collaboration/Chemistry: understanding no one is indispensable, but each one is valuable (I Cor 3: 10-23; 12:18-25)
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of bridges do you build?
- Our Education Bridge – operates our Christ-centered, mixed-tribe neighborhood school
- Our Grassroots Bridge – works to understand the abilities, needs and socioeconomic barriers in the lives of the families in the local community
- Our Community Bridge – establishes partnerships with local agencies and nonprofits that are already serving the community in order to provide comprehensive support for our students and families
What kind of school will you begin?
Our goal is to start a pre-K, Christ-centered, mixed-tribe neighborhood school to serve the families within and around the Potomac Gardens/Hopkins neighborhood near Eastern Market. We will add a grade level every year after the opening, until we reach either 8th or 12th grade, depending upon the needs of the community.
What exactly do you mean by mixed tribe?
Mixed-tribe means we intentionally seek a diverse student body extending beyond socio-economic differences, believing part of education is learning and working through our differences together.
Where is Urban Bridge Builders currently serving?
We are currently focused on serving the community in and around the Potomac Gardens/Hopkins neighborhood near Eastern Market. We intend to learn from our current efforts to serve other neighborhoods across Washington D.C. and the United States as needs and opportunities arise.
Why are you building a school?
We are starting the school to build character, to model citizenry and to cultivate community in the neighborhood. We want to serve families and connect them to accessible resources and opportunities in the community that will help them grow and thrive.
P.O. Box 15247 Washington, DC 20003