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COMMUNITY
STARTS
HERE.

OUR STORY

​The Bridge Institute has been promoting peaceful resolution since 1989 and operates from the foundations of Roanoke's Conflict Resolution Center and Better Agreements, Inc. which served the New River Valley. Today, we serve all of Southwest Virginia as the region's leader in processes for resolving conflict and building community.  

 

The Bridge Institute is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible and support our mission of ensuring everyone has access to alternative dispute resolution processes. Our federal EIN is 02-0655364.​​

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MEET US

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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

EDDY SMART began his career as a student intern reluctantly placed with the Conflict Resolution Center in 2006, Eddy observed the value of conflict resolution processes and the power found in transforming conflict into opportunities for understanding and productive ways forward. Eddy remained at the Conflict Resolution Center honing his skills as a mediator, restorative justice practitioner, group facilitator, and parent educator, and became Executive Director in 2010. Eddy’s passion for conflict and process-related work led him to return to the field after an eight-year detour in direct mental health services, starting his own firm in 2019. Eddy took on leadership of The Bridge Institute, then Better Agreements, in the fall of 2020.

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BOARD PRESIDENT

ALEX WATKINS is the Director of Operations in Roanoke for the Virginia Harm Reduction Coalition. She lives by the Margaret Meade quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Alex has worked in every possible job from restaurants to carnivals, and most recently in healthcare, small-business, and public health sectors. She thinks a lot of issues can be solved with some data and a good spreadsheet. Alex is excited about her role as the Board President, supporting the incredible efforts of the Bridge and its talented team.

Jes Bookout
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE AND COMMUNITY FACILITATOR

JES BOOKOUT moved to Roanoke from Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2018. Her background is in Early Education and child development. In 2020, Jes started volunteering as a community trainer and advocate with the Roanoke Valley Trauma Informed Community Network to bring awareness to the impact trauma has on the developing brain and how we can mitigate trauma in our everyday interactions with all humans. Jes is a board member of the Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children where she advocates for the importance of access to high-quality early education for all children AND living wages for early educators. Jes is currently working on her MS in Family and Community Services at Oklahoma State University. She brings with her a deep understanding of why a holistic multigenerational approach to wellness is important for our community and that communication is a fundamental step in that process. Jes loves music, being outdoors, cooking, and road trips with her teammate in life, Jesse, and their dog, Sugarface.

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ASHLI SEMONES

Board Vice President

Quality Management Director

Carilion Clinic

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LAURA SPAFFORD

Board Secretary

Human Resources Manager

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STEVEN P. LEE

Board Treasurer

Business Intelligence Developer

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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KIM KRISTENSEN

Board Member

Owner, Warrior Resolutions

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DONNA CHEWNING

Board Member

Owner, Shared Solutions

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HENRY YAMPOLSKY

Board Member

Assistant Director for Education, Outreach, and Conflict Resolution

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