About Us

River’s Way was founded in 1993 and established as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation in 1994. River’s Way is a United Way of Bristol agency.

Our mission statement: Providing opportunities for youth and young adults with differing abilities to grow as individuals while making positive contributions to their community.

Since 1993

River’s Way was founded in 1993 and was established as a 501 (c) (3) corporation in 1994. We have worked with area schools since the late 90’s and we have developed strong relationships with many people and organizations in the Bristol area. River’s Way is served by an active board of directors that is inclusive and diverse in its makeup.

We Contribute. We Belong.

From our outdoor adventure roots to our focus on community betterment, River’s Way has always promoted active lifestyles for people with differing abilities. People of all abilities can work hard, play hard and contribute. At River’s Way, we create opportunities for people of all abilities to shine, and we believe people of all abilities belong in our community.

Over 1,100 Served

In 2021, River’s Way served over 1,100 people in its programs and that number continues to grow. River’s Way programs provide opportunities for youth and young adults with differing abilities to show what they are capable of doing when they are given the chance.


River’s Way has a long history of building partnerships with organizations and people. Partnerships allow us to pool resources. They allow our programs to be more inclusive and more cost effective. River’s Way partners include five local school systems, the Bristol Public Library, the YMCA of Bristol, Emory and Henry College, Theatre Bristol, the City of Bristol Tennessee, Central Christian Church, Bristol’s Promise, Bristol Virginia Parks and Recreation and community businesses.

River’s Way meets the needs of youth and young adults with differing abilities by developing collaborative programs that meet community needs. We address community issues including physical inactivity, healthy eating, sedentary lifestyles, social isolation and the need for more inclusive cultural and service opportunities.

At River’s Way, we focus on CONTRIBUTIONS made by youth and young adults with differing abilities. If people with differing abilities see themselves as contributors they are more likely to lead positive and productive lives. They will grow as individuals. They will develop a sense of purpose and service, and they will spend more time being physically active and socially engaged. The community will come to see individuals with differing abilities as valued members of the community and the lives of people of ALL abilities will be changed for the better. People with differing abilities belong in our community!