Recently, the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children teamed up with Willie Geist and The TODAY Show to create a Bright Space at the Bushwick Family Residence – a homeless shelter in Brooklyn, NY. Geist chose this project as part of the Shine a Light series, a year-long initiative focused on service and giving back to the community. Geist said, “Homelessness is a family problem. A child should have a safe, clean place to eat, to study and to play. I want to help one shelter go above and beyond to give kids a real sense of ‘home’ for as long as they need to be there.”
We’ve submitted a video about this project to the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship 2015 Film Festival. Voting will take place through March 16th. Please watch, cast your vote and help us show the world what makes the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children shine!
Help us spread the love this Valentine’s Day! The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children is teaming up with Pottery Barn Kids to host children’s Valentine’s Day card making events in communities across the country. Get crafty and celebrate Valentine’s Day with the ones you love – all while supporting children and families in need.
Stop by your local Pottery Barn Kids store with your child(ren) between February 6 – 14 anytime during normal store hours. At the event, your child will be able to create two special valentines: One to take home for someone they love and one to give away to a child in need. The handmade cards your family creates will bring smiles to the faces of children at one of our nearby Bright Space playrooms, located in the same community as your Pottery Barn Kids store.
What a proud day for as we opened our latest Bright Space project at the Bushwick Family Residence in Brooklyn, NY in partnership with Willie Geist and NBC’s TODAY. Teaming up with TODAY host Willie Geist has helped bring unprecedented awareness to the plight of homeless children. And a wonderful Bright Space was created for the children living at Bushwick.
A new Bright Space recently opened at Compass Children’s Center in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, a child care center serving families facing extreme poverty or homelessness.
More than 60 volunteers from Pottery Barn Kids gave their time and talent to transform a classroom and therapy rooms at the center. They repainted hallways and therapy spaces, assembled products like dollhouses and a retro kitchen, and added warm touches to the walls. Most importantly, they were able to provide the children with a magical space to dream, play and learn.
This was the second Bright Space created through a special partnership with the Foundation and Pottery Barn Kids.
“What we focus on is building inspirational, memorable, magical spaces for kids and our goal is to share that with everyone. We want to share our dreams with everyone who walks in this space,” said Jennifer Kellor, SVP, Merchandising for Pottery Barn Kids.
Teens in Mississauga, Ontario now have a gaming area, a TV/movie/lounging area, a table/workspace area, and a research/computer area in their new Bright Space at Interim Place.
Homelessness can be especially difficult for teenagers, leading to severe anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Teens report feeling unsafe in adult shelters, and yet they often feel out of place in family shelters, too old for the younger children’s activities and yet too young for the help offered for adults. Without a welcoming room designed especially to engage them and support their emotional needs, teens needing more autonomy may leave the safety of the shelter and head back to the “independence” of the streets, which can be disastrous for the teen and for their family.
“I was fortunate to meet a few of the youth,” said Bright Horizons Regional Manager Fatima Taveres, who worked on the space. “They are beside themselves with excitement.”
When Justin Timberlake brought his 20/20 Experience World Tour to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncastville, CT, earlier this summer, the 20/20 Experience became a Bright Horizons Foundation for Children experience too. Bright Horizons at Eagleview works closely with The Mohegan Tribe and was thrilled when they generously extended the opportunity to host a fundraising event at the concert. They donated an entire skybox to Bright Horizons Division 13. By selling the tickets to Bright Horizons employees, and their family and friends, Division 13 raised more than $9,000 in one night for the Foundation.When it comes to raising money for the Foundation, Division 13 rocks!
Outdoor spaces can be very important to children who have experienced violence in their lives, allowing a more comfortable environment for the child to discuss the crisis that faces him. The outdoor space at SPAN in Boulder is used for group therapy as well as one-on-one sessions. When Bright Horizons employees at the Broomfield office found out the space could use some TLC, they sprang into action. They raised money to create an outdoor Bright Space through office fundraisers such as chili cook-offs, root beer floats, ice cream sundaes, breakfast burritos, and capped it off with a silent auction raising more than $11,000. Special thanks to Linda Toldness and Amy Shamburg for their leadership, as well as the whole Broomfield Foundation Committee for making this Bright Space a reality for the children at SPAN.
Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonvoilence (SPAN) is a human rights organization committed to ending violence against adults, youth and children through support, advocacy, education and community organizing.
“When we first got Juno, I had no intention of having her become a therapy dog,” says Arryn Sullivan. After seeing on TV how much of a difference therapy dogs made to Sandy Hook survivors, though, Arryn found Dog B.O.N.E.S. of MA, an organization that trains dogs for therapy work. “We went to the sessions, and because of Juno’s personality, she was a shoe in for this type of work.”
For her and Juno’s work together, Arryn, executive assistant to Bright Horizons CEO Dave Lissy, was recently honored with a Community Service Award for Dog B.O.N.E.S.
Arryn and Juno have visited numerous colleges for stress clinics during mid-terms and finals. They were part of a senior project for a girl at Milford High School, and have visited an elderly man in Wellesley many times.
“The most time we spend is at the Franciscan’s Children’s Hospital in Brighton in the CBAT psych unit,” says Arryn. “Juno and I go once a week and spend time visiting with the kids. These kids are struggling with behavioral issues, bad home situations, and are threats to themselves or others. When we go, I love talking to them (many have been there for months) and witness how they leave their routine for an hour and are just kids having a good time. When we get there the kids run over to Juno and immediately start petting and asking me about her.”
Community Service Awards are $250 and are funded by the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children.
Welcome to our newest Bright Space at Women in Distress of Broward County, Florida, a domestic violence shelter. More than 300 women and children working to transition into a safe, self-sufficient life will be able to use the Bright Space each year.
This Bright Space was sponsored by Bright Horizons client American Express, and volunteers from American Express plan to stay engaged with the Bright Space.
Families with children in the NICU are experiencing a great deal of emotion: fear, joy, hope, love. Not only are parents worried about the newly-born babies facing their own struggles, but they are worried about the well being of their other children and family members. The Bright Horizons Foundation and the Dallas March of Dimes have partnered to ease this stress at several Dallas-area hospitals.
Families with newborns in the Margot Perot Center for Women and Infants at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas will now have a new Bright Space where they can play and have fun. One new mom says that this is music to her ears because the Bright Space adds a distraction that was much needed for her older child. When visiting her baby brother in the NICU, the family would spend time watching TV in a family room. Now her daughter can use her imagination, feel like there is a space just for her and feel a sense of normalcy in a difficult place.
In addition to a place to play, these Bright Spaces will offer hope and inspiration through beautiful photography and inspiring quotes mounted on the walls. It also includes special materials for siblings with a particular focus on pretend play involving baby dolls, home living and medical play.
In addition to this Bright Space, a ribbon cutting was recently held for the March of Dimes-Dallas/Fort Worthand Bright Horizons Bright Space for Siblings located in the Special Care Nursery for the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. This is the sixth NICU Bright Space the Bright Horizons Foundation has opened in partnerships with the March of Dimes.
For siblings of children in the NICU and Special Care Nursery, it can be very hard to understand why their baby brother/sister can’t come home and why they need to be at the hospital. The Bright Space allows them a place to play when visiting the hospital, and allows families to spend time together during this period of crisis.
There are more NICU Bright Spaces in the works and we are so proud of the work that is being done.
The family of Tyler Montgomery were devastated by his tragic death in a car accident last June, just a month before his 20th birthday. They wanted to find a special way to honor his memory.
Tyler’s cousin, Candice Amour, Center Director at UChicago Child Development Center, knew about Bright Spaces and contacted the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children to see about creating one in Tyler’s memory.
A year later, a very unique Bright Space opened: the The TwoCanSam Recording Studio at the Guardian Angel Community Services’ Dillard Harris Education Center in Joliet, IL. Tyler was a gifted aspiring musician, and TwoCanSam was Tyler’s name in a local rap group. The opening was held in celebration of what would have been Tyler’s 21st birthday.
This music studio will be used to for music therapy and music education in Tyler’s memory. Students from second to twelfth grade will be able to go in and do music and work through their issues, according to program director Laura Coan.
“Because of the Foundation, we do get to celebrate Tyler and because of the Foundation, Tyler’s legacy will live on,” said Candice. “Our family is devastated with the loss of Tyler and our hearts ache, but because of this wonderful opportunity to create a space for Tyler to ‘live’ through, we have begun to fill our hearts with love and hope for the children that will use this recording studio. You have given us a wonderful outlet for healing. This is the greatest gift.”
Watch a special video tour of the Bright Space. It not only shows the room….but Tyler’s music is playing in the background. A song called “UP”..one of Tyler’s last songs he recorded before his death. It is about being positive and not getting down and being true to yourself not matter how much people or life circumstances try to put you down.
Pictured left to right: Trace Haythorn, Jessica Conway, David Hoffman, Mark Mendel, Melony Gibson, Charlese Dease, and Rosalie Howell
A special “Garden of the 5 Senses” interactive teaching and therapy area recently opened at the Frazer Center in Atlanta. The project was made possible thanks to a Greenman Gift grant from Bright Horizons and the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children.
The Frazer Center is a nonprofit agency with a long-standing history of providing outstanding services to infants, preschoolers and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders and other disorders. It is one of only a few inclusive child care programs in metro Atlanta and are unique in that both children and adults with disabilities are afforded day services at the same site.
The Frazer Center’s 1,600-square-foot existing courtyard was turned into a space that integrates beauty and function. The Garden of the 5 Senses is a space that invites exploration and imagination while also stimulating lear
ning. In addition to plants that are beautiful to see, touch, smell, and taste, there is a small amphitheater for children to listen to stories and a special humming stone. This space will also be used as an outdoor classroom and reading area.
“The heart of our effort lies in the deep conviction that introducing and cultivating a love of nature with young children provides not only a wonderful learning opportunity but also the early building blocks of a life-long commitment to appreciating and caring for our natural world,” said Trace Haythorn, Executive Director.
The Rich Foundation also contributed to the garden.
The Greenman Gift was established in 2009 in honor of Jim Greenman, the former Chairman of the Foundation Board and Senior VP of Education and Training for Bright Horizons. Jim’s professional life was dedicated to the wellbeing of children and families. He left a legacy of creating wonderful places for children and adults where they could play and learn, creating warm memories that would become a part of the fabric of their lives. The Greenman Gift provides a $35,000 grant of direct financial and in kind contributions to one child care program each year to improve its facility in Jim’s honor.
Two very warm and inviting Bright Spaces were created for the women and children who live at the Northern Children Services. The Bright Spaces will help empower the women in the Generations program at the shelter, which focuses on helping teen moms with one or two young children get back on their feet.
I often speak about the environment having a positive impact on the recovery of the children that enroll in our Generations programs. Many of those children arrive from environments and circumstances that do not always demonstrate care and warmth. Consequently, their behavior and/or circumstances mimic that environment,” Tracey Lavallias, President and CEO of Northern Children’s Services said. “At NCS we strive to create an environment that is nurturing and reflective of our mission. Bright Horizons understands this philosophy intrinsically, for that we are most grateful. We hope that this is the start of a long standing relationship, as we strive to positively impact the communities in Philadelphia and surrounding counties.”
Jennifer Kula, Center Director, and Carol Yaroch, Assistant Director, of Bright Horizons at West Point were crucial to the success of this project.
“Our partnership with Northern began a few years ago, when one of our employees suggested reaching out to help provide gifts at the holidays. Over time, we expanded our efforts to include donation drives for infant care supplies,” says Carol. “As we grew to know the mission at Northern, we realized that focusing our efforts on supporting the Generations Programs was an ideal way to further support the young women living here continue to strengthen our partnership. I have truly enjoyed every minute spent working on the campus, and look forward to our continued partnership.”
“Designing the Bright Space has been a fulfilling service opportunity, says Jennifer. “ I was happy to help create a new space for the moms and babies to enjoy at Northern. The team at Northern was there to pitch in and lend a hand at any moment during our renovation project. I hope these spaces become a safe and relaxing environment where the moms and children can bond, grow, and play together.”
We are proud to let you know that TODAY Show Host Willie Geist has chosen to partner with the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children to create a Bright Space® at the Bushwick Family Residence in Brooklyn managed by Volunteers of America as his Shine a Light Project. Located in Brooklyn, the Residence offers shelter and services to help homeless families achieve independence and obtain permanent housing.
With support from TODAY, we’ll provide a warm, enriching space for parents and children to be together, while expanding on both the Foundation’s signature Bright Spaces program and its commitment to families in crisis. During the course of the project, which should last about a month, we will be posting updates on our website as well as sharing video and photos from the site.
This is such an honor for the Foundation and we are grateful for opportunity to make a difference in Brooklyn and to share the story of our work.
Please join us in congratulating Tricia Merkel, Kindergarten Prep Teacher at Monsanto, for her continual volunteer work with Responder Rescue. This agency will receive a Gleason Grant check in the amount of $500 in her honor.
Tricia has been working on developing a weekend that includes a candlelight vigil to honor the more than 200 Fallen Firefighters from the St. Louis area, a fire engine rally that will raise awareness and funds for Responder Rescue, and a firefighters’ ball that will raise funds for Responder Rescue. Her efforts also include Community Outreach and Committee Development.
Please join us in congratulating UIHC Childcare Center in Iowa for being honored with a Gleason Grant. The Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity will receive a check for $250 in the center’s name.
The Better Together Group at UIHC spent one month fundraising over $1,000 to donate to Habitat for Humanity. Then from 8:00 – 12:00 on Saturday, September 27, 10 teachers from the center worked on siding the Habitat for Humanity House.
Help us create a mosaic that will decorate Bright Spaces® nationwide!
Voices of Gratitude: What Are You Thankful For? is an exciting art project for the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children® that offers families and teachers a chance to show what they’re grateful for through art.
How can you participate?
Talk with your child about what you both are thankful for (e.g. a teacher, your home).
Represent his or her ideas in a drawing, painting, or collage!
Please join us in congratulating Angella Schroller, Regional Manager Division 9 Region D, for being honored with a Gleason Grant. The Bonfils Blood Center will receive a check for $250 in her name.
Angella spends 2.5 hours donating double or triple units of platelets approximately every 2-3 weeks. Platelets are often used for cancer patients, those receiving organ or marrow transplants, victims of traumatic injuries, and patients undergoing open heart surgery require platelets to survive.