Shamawn Wright 

CEO/ Founder

 Shamawn Wright sought to use his experience as a youth growing up in East Oakland, California surrounded by drugs, gun violence, and poverty, to engage students with school and their community through an approach grounded in Blackness and culture first. As a Black male, former foster youth that got kicked out of school districts due to educational experiences that were not affirming to my identity and lived experiences; as a formerly incarcerated youth at the Contra Costa County Juvenile “Justice” center; as an youth that navigated these experiences.


Shamawn turned it around, he graduated from Antioch High School in 2011 and received a full ride football scholarship to the University of California, Davis. I  majored in sociology Organizational Studies and received his B.S in 2015. Masters of Art from the University of San Francisco with in Higher Education and Student Affairs in May 2021. I then will start my doctorate program this upcoming fall at San Francisco State University in Educational Leadership.


In July 2019, Shamawn founded Bridge Builders to the New Generation to bridge students from underserved communities in Antioch, California to higher education through access to college, leadership, and life skills. Through enriching programs, Bridge Builders seeks to keep students engaged in school and build a support network of family, validation, and support for a younger generation of Black youth from similar backgrounds. By assisting youth to become self-sufficient adults, Bridge Builders seeks to help students to create a plan post-high school either in higher education, vocational school, or a career path.

Velma Wilson

Chair of the Board

Velma Wilson,  proud mom and wife. Velma is very passionate about serving the community especially involving the youth. She is very involved with Education from the PTA, School Site Council,  LCAP Advisory Board and so much more. Her desire to make a difference in the lives of children started with her own. Although being permanently disabled she models a belief that all things are possible with God and no matter what the situation may be, strive for the best and never give up. 


Shannel Williamson


Shannel is originally from Southern California and came up North to attend University of California, Davis. After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Systems Engineering, she began working for PepsiCo-Frito Lay. She is now an Associate Manufacturing Manager for the Processing Department.

While at UC Davis, Shannel worked for the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) serving middle and high school students from under-represented communities. Her time at EAOP is where she developed her passion for helping students from all backgrounds become academically competitive. She was also the president of the Black Engineers Association on campus, which is also known as the UC Davis chapter for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and loved to focus on keeping student outreach programs geared toward STEM active and catering to minorities in the community.

Although, high school came naturally for her, college was a different story! She experienced her own obstacles with the foundations of academic success such as balancing her personal life and academics, learning how to study, asking for help when needed, and affording school. Being apart of Bridge Builders to the New Generation allows Shannel to be instrumental in showing our youth that they too can succeed (without as many obstacles). She believes in the Bridge Builders’ mission so that kids like her can excel beyond what society tells them they can!

James Smith


James is a Real Estate sales professional and has worked as a Realtor for the past 4 years. Beginning his career in Sacramento, James specializes in selling homes that others have failed to sell as well as helping first time home buyers navigate through the process of buying a home and ultimately achieve their goals of home ownership. 
Upon graduating from Antioch High School in 2010, James went to work in the labor field working for a construction company. During a layoff in 2014 James began studying Real Estate Law and learning from investors. In 2015 he successfully completed his first Real Estate investment deal which propelled him into a career in Real Estate. This year James is on track to close over 10 million in sales volume.
Coming from Antioch and a single parent household, the Bridge Builders vision hits home for James. After moving back home to Antioch from Sacramento in 2018 James was looking for a way to give back to his community and help break the cycle that a lot of inner-city youth fall into. He felt like Bridge Builders to the New Generation had a mission he could fully stand behind and made the decision to get involved. James is grateful for the opportunity to be involved with Bridge Builders and is excited for what the future has in store.

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