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Frequently Asked Questions - Discoveries Program

What is Discoveries?
Discoveries is a program of BRIDGES a family-based support program. At Discoveries, families with children ages 4-18 who are living with someone with a serious diagnosis, come together to learn ways to cope.
Who Can Come to Discoveries?
This support center is available to families with children between the ages of 4-18 years old who are living with someone who is seriously ill. Services are available regardless of race, religion, or economic status. The parent or caregiver attends a group meeting at the same time the child meets with a peer group.
What are the Qualifications of Those in Charge?
The staff are Masters level social workers trained to help those experiencing grief. Many of our volunteer facilitators work in one of the helping professions. We seek to provide safe groups led by caring volunteers who have been trained to lead peer support groups. When support groups convene at BRIDGES, there will be a trained staff person present to oversee services. BRIDGES does not provide individual or family counseling.
What Training Do the Group Facilitators Have?
Some of our facilitators are professionals from the human services field. Others are concerned members of our community who want to help children and their parents. All facilitators have completed a 32-hour training program. The 32 hours of training and education includes: information about children and living with loved ones who are ill, recognizing developmental needs of children, therapeutic activities for children, group dynamics, listening skills and self-awareness skills.

On-going education includes reading materials, videos and participation in four annual in-service trainings.
At Discoveries, Do You Talk About Religion?
Discoveries respects all faiths and does not have a religious orientation. We encourage families to talk together about issues of faith.
How Do Children and Families Get into a Group?
Families who are interested in BRIDGES can arrange for an intake interview just by calling the BRIDGES office at 253-403-1966. BRIDGES is located at the Mary Bridge Health Center, 311 South L Street, Tacoma, WA. 98415.
How Much Does Discoveries Cost?
There is no cost for the program, but a family donation is welcomed.
Are Services Limited to People Within a Certain Geographic Area?
People are welcome to attend Discoveries from anywhere. Most families come from Pierce, King, Thurston and Kitsap counties.
Are Visitors or Prospective Families Allowed to Sit in on Groups to Observe the Process?
To respect the privacy of the children and adults in our program, visitors cannot attend support group meetings. Prospective families will have an opportunity to learn about Discoveries’ services through literature, meetings with the staff, and a tour of the facility.
What Will Happen on a Typical Evening?
The evening will begin with a potluck dinner. After dinner, children and adults will divide into groups appropriate for their ages. These groups are led by trained facilitators.
After a time of sharing with each other, group activities will occupy the rest of the group time. Sharing time in groups emphasizes discussion and peer interaction, and is a time when freedom to recount memories or express feelings and concerns is important. Activities may include working with clay, drama, music, games, memory projects, puppets and recreation.
Is Someone Available to Visit with our Group to Tell us More About Discoveries?
A member of our staff will be happy to visit with your group. Call 253-403-1966 to speak with a staff member and make an appointment.
How Do I Make a Referral?
Families with children between the ages of 4-18 years old who have a family member with a serious diagnosis are welcome to participate in support groups at Discoveries.

Call the BRIDGES office at 253-403-1966 for information or to obtain brochures or other materials to pass along to families you would like to refer. We like to talk directly with families and encourage them to call.

Language interpreters, including sign language are available for families to assist in the process of participating at Discoveries.

When a family calls to request services we take referral information and set up an Intake interview that fits the family’s schedule. We ask all participating family members to come to the Intake interview.  Children will be engaged in activities and a building tour to help them feel more comfortable in the Discoveries setting.