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WOI Q&A: Bobbe Bridge

Bobbe Bridge

Former Washington State Supreme Court justice Bobbe Bridge, one of the Storm's 2012 Women of Inspiration, talks about what being honored by the Storm means to her, inspirations in her life and more.

What was your reaction when you heard you were selected as a 2012 Woman of Inspiration by the Storm?
I've been to every Women of Influence event since the awards began in 2006. It's truly humbling to be included among the past recipients, so many of whom are personal friends, community leaders and real inspirations to me. I've always been a fan of women's basketball and I shared Storm season tickets with my dear friend, Anne Levinson, who was part of the ownership group that saved the Storm for Seattle. After the first year or so, I got even more excited about the team and my husband, Jon, and I bought season tickets of our own. We love the game and we love the Storm!

What does it mean to you to be named a Woman of Inspiration?
It's an honor to receive this award. If I can inspire people in some small way to strive to achieve their dreams and help their communities, I know they will encourage and inspire others - pay it forward.

What motivates/drives you to be your best?
I've always been motivated to make a difference for disadvantaged children and youth - kids who have never had the kinds of opportunities that I was fortunate to have had. In my role as founding president and CEO of the Center for Children & Youth Justice, I am working to improve Washington's foster care and juvenile justice systems. I know that these systems can and must be more responsive to the needs of children and youth and I feel a deep personal commitment to make lasting and meaningful changes in those systems and in our community.

Who has inspired or does inspire you?
Every juvenile justice probation counselor and every child welfare caseworker is a hero to me. Foster parents and the leaders of foster care nonprofit organizations inspire me. My most influential personal role model and inspiration was my late mother-in-law, Shirley Bridge. She grew up in a working-class family in Seattle and put herself through college to become one of the first female pharmacists in the state. For all the years I knew her - and a long time before that - she took a special interest in issues affecting women and girls, especially young girls who were vulnerable and looking for a second chance. She was a founding member of the Seattle Women's Commission in the 1970s and helped to create the Women's Endowment Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. She passed away in 2008, and I will always miss her.

In your work, how have you seen role models make a positive difference in the lives of others?
Role models can literally mean the difference between life and death for a young person. I've seen gang members on a sure path toward a lifetime in prison turn their lives around because someone cared about them, believed in them, showed them respect and modeled a wiser path. I've also seen foster parents show abused and neglected children that they are worthy of love and inspire them to grow into responsible, loving young men and women. It's impossible to measure the difference that one caring adult can make in the life of a child.

What role do you think the Storm organization and players play in making a positive difference?
These strong, competitive, smart women are showing both girls and boys that their possibilities are limitless if they set high expectations for themselves and meet them through perseverance and personal responsibility. The Storm team's work in the community to promote education and literacy, health and fitness, and charity endeavors is a real inspiration. I think every Storm player deserves to be a Woman of Influence!

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