By Simone Greene
Building a Bridge out of the Criminal Justice System and Into Recovery
Bridges of Iowa Inc. grew from parents’ love for son and has become a lifeline to thousands of Iowans struggling with substance use disorders. Founded 20 years ago by Donald and Charlene Lamberti, Bridges is a long-term program that treats the entire person, complementing intense addiction treatment and cognitive behavior change therapy with the life skills necessary for success.
With its mission statement, “We Invite You to a Better Life,” Bridges helps men and women from all walks of life and economic situations. Working with a dedicated array of public and private partners, the program is unique in its collaboration with the Polk County Sheriff. The Bridges residential program is housed in the West Wing of the Polk County Jail. However, clients are not incarcerated when they enter Bridges. In fact, Bridges refers to and treats clients as guests. “We want you to be here and we treat you as we would treat a guest in our home, with dignity and respect,” says Angie Rodberg, director of clinical operations.
The program is long-term and comprises three distinct phases.