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Pegi Young & The Bridge Street School

Pegi Young, a musician and former wife of Neil Young who toured with him and put out albums of her own, died on Jan. 1 after a long battle with cancer. She was 66 years old.

Married to Neil for 36 years until their divorce in 2014, Young is also known for co-founding The Bridge School, located in Hillsborough, California, which teaches children with serious speech and physical disabilities to attain better communication skills.

"The Bridge School family is saddened by the loss of our friend and co-founder, Pegi Young," it reads on its landing page. "Her vision has changed the lives of children worldwide and we will do our best to continue her mission. Please keep us and her family in your thoughts and prayers as we keep the dream alive."

Young founded the school in 1986 to help her and Neil's son, Ben, who has a severe form of cerebral palsy, and other kids use innovative communication technology and tools, in part by holding an annual charity concert featuring top musicians in Mountain View, California from 1986 until 2016. Among the performers over the years are Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, and the late Tom Petty.

“We have a teachers-in-residence program, where teachers come from all around the world and every year we have a visiting teacher from a different part of the world. Then they go back to their countries and we support [them]. And now, more with Cisco Systems and Tele-Presence, we communicate directly with all these schools throughout the world using the Bridge School model," Neil Young told in 2011 about non-profit school and its global impact. 

The school, which since 1995 has a permanent building on the campus of an elementary school in Hillsborough, on its website has as its mission to improve the lives of young people who need "support in finding a voice of their own." That comes through the use of alternative communications, including pictures, gestures and pointing, or computer technology, for young people without ordinary speech or an ability to write and press computer keys.

"Your charitable donation makes a significant difference in the level of support we are able to provide to children and their families locally, nationally and globally," the school states on its website. -- Continue reading Etan Vlessing's remembrance of Pegi Young and her charitable endeavour, The Bridge School, on the SamaritanMag website.

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