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Program Mission: HOLA Bridges is a middle school program designed to help students focus on achieving their goals by using integrated programming which emphasizes commitment to academics, team building, self expression, civic participation and project based learning.

HOLA Bridges is an academic and enrichment program for middle school students. Each year, the program serves almost 80 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. In addition to providing dedicated tutors who provide math, science and language arts help, HOLA Bridges students participate in a variety of activities, including music and dance instruction, sports leagues, college tours, digital media, photography, conflict resolution and science clubs.

Program Goals:

  • Improved academic performance
  • Increased confidence in self-expression
  • Ability to work well on a team
  • Improved attitude/behavior
  • Development of leadership skills
  • Increased sense of commitment and responsibility
  • Increased awareness of the advantages to going to college

Click here for enrollment dates.

Bridges Infographic-01

Photo of Silvia Velazquez
Silvia Velazquez Bridges Middle School Director
Work Phone: (213) 389-1148 x248
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Photo of Emmanuel Martinez
Emmanuel Martinez Bridges Middle School Coordinator
Work Phone: 2133891148
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Photo of Miriam Gomez
Miriam Gomez Bridges Middle School Teacher
Work Phone: 2133891148
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Hannah Kirsch Bridges Teacher
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New Year, New Collaborations at HOLA

With the winter quarter well under way, we’re pleased about the many fun and educational collaborations that have taken off at HOLA.  To celebrate all the love and support of our teachers, directors, staff, volunteers, students and families, we wanted to share with you what’s new in our cozy corner of the universe. Over in Athletics, some of our middle school girls have begun training to run a 5k with the help of nonprofit Girls on the Run. The program is designed to inspire girls to be joyful, […]

Alumni Return, This Time As Leaders

In honor of HOLA Alum turned Bridges Middle School Director Silvia Velazquez being named one of JCPenney’s “Leaders of Tomorrow,” we would like to honor two other alumnae who are also full-time staff members here on campus. Sonia Salazar – Class of ’05 Back in 2005, the year PAT High School Director Sonia Salazar graduated from HOLA, there wasn’t an alumni program in place.  However, that didn’t keep Sonia away.  Upon graduating from University of California Santa Barbara in 2009 with a B.A., she was ready to give back to the […]

Google Takes Students on Virtual Field Trip

On Wednesday, a friend from Google paid Bridges and SmartStart students a visit and brought some funny looking glasses along. Students soon learned that these weren’t just any cardboard glasses but Google cardboard glasses. Ryan, the Google representative, explained that the futuristic eyewear were in fact virtual. Students had the world at their fingertips and were able to take a 3D ride around the world. HOLA teachers asked, “Where do you want to go?” as they held iPads that controlled the location to which the kids could visit. “Spain! Greece! Hogwarts!” were a few destinations that the students eagerly […]

HOLA’s Best: Increasing Our Capacity to Serve

From the desk of Brittany Mejia, SmartStart Elementary Director: Every year, Bridges Middle School and SmartStart Elementary staff have to make the tough decision of selecting students to participate in the regular 4-day per week programming. Unfortunately, this also means having to turn students away due to lack of space. In an attempt to remedy that, we’ve decided to try something new this year with a pilot extension program called HOLA’s Best. After reviewing applications and accepting students for the main programming, we then selected an additional number of […]

Anti-Bullying Workshop Reminds Bridges Students to be Leaders, Not Bullies

A new school year  is sure to bring new faces and new friends together here at HOLA.  But until students know each other, it is natural for them to gravitate towards familiar faces – people they already know.  While that isn’t necessarily overt bullying, it can be contribute to feelings being hurt or creating an uncomfortable environment.  To squash all those potential negative outcomes, our Bridges’ teachers begin every year with a workshop about the importance of being intentionally inclusive and kind to one another.  Emmanuel Martinez, Bridges middle school teacher, says that most […]

Goodbye Summer: Thank you for the best one yet!

Although the school year ended, HOLA’s campus kept everyone busy.  From sailing the high seas to learning about the environment through art, our students have kept active: thinking, experiencing, and growing – and of course having a blast while doing it! We were also delighted and grateful this summer to be joined by 10 Americorps VISTA volunteers, who were invaluable to our summer programming. When we asked the VISTA’s what they loved most about their summer at HOLA, they all spoke of the parallels they shared with the kids: new friendships and […]


HOLA provides underserved youth with exceptional programs in academics, arts and athletics within a nurturing environment, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education and strengthen their communities.


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