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Bridget Alexander: Solutions Steeped in Community

“If it’s not messy, you’re probably doing it wrong.”

-Bridget Alexander

 Season 3, Episode 7 of Messy Jesus Business, hosted by Sister Julia Walsh


In this episode of Messy Jesus Business podcast, Sister Julia Walsh talks with Waking the Village co-foundress Bridget Alexander about what it takes to build a non-profit centered on building community, the issue of homelessness–particularly for youth, and why it’s important to let go of the concept of self-sufficiency, in favor of healthy interdependence.

“What I noticed about youth experiencing homelessness is they just have no support…the thing that was actually leading to homelessness…was that they didn’t have any social connections,” Alexander explains. “And so they didn’t have a family network, they didn’t have a good friend network…they weren’t part of anything that looked like community, be it a church or school or a dorm. And so that is a big part of why we take community so seriously and why our aftercare is so important, because it’s an authentic community.”

They also discuss the importance of getting involved in local government to alleviate the pressures on those who continually fight for social justice in the public policy realm. “It becomes too much for the few, but is actually a very light load for the many,” Alexander reflects.

And, of course, they get into the mess of social justice work. “The more that we shoulder the work of social justice and stop making the oppressed fight for their liberation, I think, the messier it’s going to get, because we just have to go into those relationships that we have and put those to work.”


In 1999, Bridget Alexander got on a bike and joined 17 youth overcoming homelessness and social injustice on a 2300-mile bike trip across America. The goal: to prove to the world what she already knew: when you focus on the strengths of kids from poverty, they dazzle. The trip tested the ideals of the newly hatched nonprofit, Waking the Village, or WTV, and confirmed the belief that youth achieve big things when surrounded by relentless support, meaningful opportunities, and adults who look upon them daily with belief.

Bridget is one of the founders and directors of WTV. WTV develops leadership and widens futures as youth live in Tubman House–a community for young parents–and Audre’s Emporium of New Tomorrows–a community for LGBTQ youth. WTV also leads the Creation District: an incubator for creation, activism, and dream-making for youth overcoming homelessness. As well as Art Beast Child Development Center and Muck and Wonder Farm School, which are licensed preschools that bring together children from privilege and from economic injustice. Prior to launching WTV, Bridget taught high school, working with youth impacted by poverty and social injustice.

You can find Waking the Village on Facebook.

MESSY JESUS BUSINESS is produced and hosted by Sister Julia Walsh, and edited by Charish Badzinski.

Email us at messyjesusbusiness@gmail.com




Twitter: @messyjesusbiz



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