Local River Bridge Club Helps Create Better Community

Local River Bridge Club Helps Create Better Community

Morgan Reed, Entertainment Editor

With a multitude of clubs available for Glenwood Springs High School students, it’s easy for some of the little known but very impactful student organizations to get lost in the shuffle. 


One of these little known clubs is the Junior Board of the River Bridge Regional Center. RBRC is the Children’s Advocacy Center that serves Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin, and Rio Blanco counties. There are several volunteer opportunities for members of the Junior Board that are instrumental in supporting neglected and abused children in the community. 


“The goal of the River Bridge is to help create a community where children are safe, families are strong, and where all abused children are believed, supported and are able to heal,” said Meghan Backofen, a mental health therapist at the Garfield County of Human resources, who serves as the link between the Junior Board and the RBRC Board. 


The purpose of Children’s Advocacy centers is to serve youth that are experiencing child abuse, so it is fundamental to have input from youth in the community. Abuse victims are often supported by their peers, and it is important not only to have a support system, but to have an informed group of advocates in schools that can help provide messages about child abuse prevention and awareness. 


The Junior Board is a group of students that has committees that focus on community outreach, public awareness, and fundraising. Members of the Junior board are asked to spearhead or support special projects and fundraisers that are aimed specifically at supporting child abuse victims in the community. 


Some of the projects launched by the Junior board in past years include translating Backofen’s children book, “Who is the Boss of My Body”, into Spanish, a project led by senior Pilar Melendez. A play by GSHS alumni Grace Burnner about assault was also in the works last year before Covid-19 got in the way. 


“Since day one, they have listened to my ideas and have only strengthened them as well as supported the lasting impact I want to make on the Junior Board,” said Melendez. 


The organization aims to create a caring, inviting, and respectable community among its members in order to best facilitate awareness and fundraising efforts to the community.


“I really love that anyone who becomes a part of this board has the opportunity to express their input, our board is all about caring for one another while working towards change in our own way,” added Melendez. 


Junior Board members are also expected to attend monthly Board meetings in addition to the time they spend on projects and fundraisers. Meetings are run by youth under the advice of the RBRC assistant director, Mary Cloud. 


An application is required to become a member of the Junior Board of RBRC, a resume is also required as part of the application process. Interested students can request an application to join by emailing Backofen at [email protected]


There are currently only two members of the RBRC Junior Board because many of them graduated last year, so interested students are encouraged to apply soon!