The former Townsend School has been a place where opportunities are offered to youths, and one of the former children who attended the school recently came back to pay a special visit to the Bridge Program.
Jauan Jennings is a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers and had played college football at the University of Tennessee.
He was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL draft.
Jennings had attended Blackman High School in Murfreesboro where he played quarterback.
However, his roots stem back to Franklin County where he was a student at Townsend Elementary School.
Although Townsend is no longer an elementary school, the 900 S. Shepard St. facility in Winchester harbors programs that benefit youths and families under the Franklin County Prevention Coalition’s umbrella.
The coalition is a community-minded entity that brings people and organizations together to reduce youth substance abuse and violence through education and prevention strategies.
The coalition’s objective is to engage community members in creating environmental change for the benefit of future generations.
The Bridge Program is an extension of the coalition that aids families and their children who are facing behavioral problems at school or home, have family members facing judicial issues, have parents who are incarcerated, have children in foster care or who have homes plagued by substance abuse.
The Bridge Program is an after-school gathering that focuses on teaching children life skills and provides team-building activities as well as involving them with art projects, physical activities, social skills, emotional management and service-learning projects.
The curriculum is referred to as “positive action” and teaches children to think positively about themselves to sway them away from bad behavioral patterns that lead to failing or struggling lifestyles when they become adults.
Jennings returned to his alma mater on Feb. 1 and gave back to his former community by playing games and interacting with the children.
Lindsay Konrad, program coordinator, and Sam Davidson, law enforcement liaison with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, said it was a tremendous experience to have Jennings interact with the Bridge Program children.
“Sharing your time is the most valuable asset anyone has, and Jauan took his time to do that here,” Davidson said. “He was super.”
Konrad echoed Davidson’s sentiments.
“It was great to have him here,” she said, referring to Jennings’ visit. “We have seen some really positive results.”
Konrad said the Bridge Program’s focus is to get children to think in a positive way, and they witnessed that through the time Jennings spent with them.
Konrad and Davidson highlighted what the Bridge Program, which hosts children weekly on Mondays and Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m., has to offer.
They said the program provides many opportunities for children, parents and guardians to connect and build their relationships.
Bridge hosts “Friday Nights Done Right” where families join together for a night of activities that create bonds and positive experiences together.
Bridge also conducts family retreats with one of its partnering organizations, and participants spend a full day with activities that improve relationships.
Bridge also hosts parent workshops quarterly, addressing issues that parents are facing with their children.
The program also offers links to help families get food, jobs, tutoring for children, adult education, alcohol and drug addiction services, therapy and events that families can do together.
For further information, contact Konrad at 931-636-5357.