Nonprofit aims to help Nashville's poorest residents - WSMV News 4

Nonprofit aims to help Nashville's poorest residents

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Just a bridge away from the skyscrapers and honky tonks of downtown Nashville is one of the city's poorest communities.

"The needs are just apparent," said Pastor Tina Mitchell, executive director of CrossBRIDGE. "I can't speak for anyone else but I can't drive up and down that road and do nothing."

When Mitchell started CrossBRIDGE, she wanted to break the cycle of poverty. For years, the restoration house has helped recovering addicts transition back into the community by providing support and basic needs.

"Bus passes and clothes, helping young people with jobs," Mitchell said. "But also residential, that they have a place to live that is safe for recovery."

The group started out with six beds in 2009. Today, CrossBRIDGE has eight properties across south Nashville to house 68 men and women.

"Things happened in my life that didn't go right that I couldn't handle on my own, so my way of dealing with things was to use drugs," said Elisha Simmons, a client at CrossBRIDGE.

The 44-year-old mother and grandmother started doing drugs when she was just 14. Simmons met Mitchell while locked up in the Davidson County Jail.

"She gave us kind words," Simmons said. "She gave us hope."

After decades of drug abuse and prostitution, Simmons turned to CrossBRIDGE.

"I've been clean seven months, the longest I've ever been," She said. "It's given me back the love of myself, my self-respect. ... It gave me structure."

The nonprofit is doing the same for children at Napier Elementary School through Kid Power, an after-school program pairing children with mentors to keep them from going down the wrong path.

"Nobody chose which side of the bridge to be born on," Mitchell said. "I was born on this side and I've been blessed, and I've been blessed for a reason. Not just I can be blessed, but to be a blessing."

CrossBRIDGE will host its annual Blue Jeans and Boots Fundraiser on March 12 at the Cordelle. There will be music, food and a silent auction.

For more information or to buy tickets for the fundraiser, click here.

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