The Bridges Training Foundation is inviting the community to a day of fun that will help more people with special needs receive job skills.

The Foundation is holding a BBQ, Brands and Brew Bash from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Ellis County Expo Center located at 2300 W. Hwy. 287 Bypass in Waxahachie. The not-for-profit foundation currently operates a day program for special needs adults and it's job training out of its home in Midlothian but needs to open a second location in Waxahachie to serve more clients.

The foundation is currently maintaining a waiting list of those wanting to enter the program, said MeLissa Boler, president and CEO of the foundation.

“We will have the day program, social training and vocational skills training like counting money and showing up on time, but in Waxahachie this would add the ability for us to employ individuals in a thrift store,” Boler said.

The location would have a thrift shop next to the day program space, she explained, so Bridges clients could get hands-on training before starting work with local companies as interns or employees.

The Central Texas Barbeque Association sanctioned BBQ competitions will be judged in the late morning and early afternoon, she said, and there will be plenty to see and do before, during and after including live music from local bands, a car show and door prizes.

“I'm so excited. People are coming out of the woodwork to help with this event,” Boler said.

The Kids Zone will have a petting zoo and games along with a tie-dye station. Kids can tie dye a provided t-shirt for $10 or a provided backpack for $5, Boler said.

Most portions of the event, including admission, is free, she said. Raffle tickets will be sold and there will be a silent auction for those who wish to bid.

Bridges continues the training and socialization begun in high school and college special education programs, Boler said, as well as networking with local businesses to open up internship and job opportunities. Other clients use the day programs which teaches basic skills as well as craft and social activities.

The foundation is still determining how much they need to raise before they can open the new resource center, but Boler is confident they will be able to bring the resource to more clients.

“Whenever we have needed something, it has been available to us,” she said.

For more information about the or the foundation, call 469-672-6902 or visit


Contact Bethany Kurtz at 469-517-1450 or email Follow her on Facebook at or on Twitter @bethmidlomirror.