In my work in early childhood education I am regularly reminded how fortunate the children who attend our schools are. They attend beautiful centers where they are taught by wonderful, nurturing teachers, where their classrooms are filled with educational materials and toys and their families are involved in their educational journey. One day on my way to work, I was stopped at a traffic light where a man and a woman were holding signs asking for money for food or anything that could help them and their children. It dawned on me that in the very cities where our beautiful schools are located, there are children who through no fault of their own, cannot experience what we have to offer, for they are homeless. I quickly came up with my idea of The Power of Change. I went home and emptied the pockets of my pants, searched the bottom of my purses and very quickly came up with more than $25 in spare change. I made a quick video where I explained my belief that spare change will not be missed, but when amassed together it can truly make a difference. In a very short period of time The Power of Change raised almost $5,000 for The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children and this money was able to positively impact the lives of homeless families.
Review from #MyGivingStory
What’s more heart-warming than the sight of a small child enjoying the simple pleasures of play? Think of a toddler laughing endlessly at a pop-up toy, or the quiet joy of a preschooler being read a favorite book. For 2.5 million homeless children in the U.S. there is little or no opportunity for playtime; a family’s belongings have been pared down to what can easily be carried – there are no toys, no books, not even a safe place to play.
The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children (www.brighthorizonsfoundation.org) recognizes that every child deserves to have a safe, warm place in which to learn and play. These environments are called “Bright Spaces”, and the Foundation has created hundreds of them all over the U.S., and in the U.K. and Ireland.
I got involved with the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children in the same way as so many of my colleagues did; because the work of the Foundation is woven into the fabric of corporate life at Bright Horizons, there is no way to avoid it! “FUNdraising” for the Foundation is a wonderful way of bringing more than 25,000 employees together in a meaningful way – across countries and continents – with a single purpose: To help children and families in crisis.
My first involvement with the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children dates back nearly 8 years ago when my team at work decided to fundraise to create a Bright Space as a team-building exercise. We have a large team spread all across the country, and it was a wonderful way for us to collaborate on something outside of our day-to-day jobs. We worked hard on fundraising over a period of about 6 months, and I’ll never forget the weekend we all gathered together in Somerville MA to work on the space – clearing and cleaning, painting and unpacking, building and cleaning again. It was two solid days of hard work, made entirely worth the effort by the pure JOY on the faces of the children the night of the Grand Opening. We repeated the exercise a couple of years later to create another space at a homeless shelter in New York City, and are currently working on yet another in Colorado!
I have two children of my own, 10 nieces and nephews. I can’t imagine what it would be like for them to be homeless, to not have their toys and books, or even a safe place to hang out. More than anything, THEY are the reason I have, and will continue to support the work of the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children.
Review from #MyGivingStory
'100 miles for children's smiles' www.brighthorizonsfoundation.org.
I signed up to run 100 miles to test the limits of what my mind and body could accomplish. After I signed up for this race, I thought I could really challenge myself to make this a way for me to help others. My company sponsors a foundation, called the Bright Horizons Foundation, that is focused on brightening the lives of children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness and other crises. They do this by creating and supporting Bright Spaces; warm, safe, enriching spaces in homeless shelters and other agencies for children and youth to build caring relationships, heal from trauma through play, and experience the joy of childhood.
I was 90 miles into the run, and I wanted to give up. The longest distance I had attempted up to this race was a half-marathon (13.1 miles). As my mind went to that negative place, I started to think about why I had started on this quest and what I was trying to accomplish. I needed to finish this race, not just for myself, but for all the people who believed in me and what I was running for. Many of the kids that use the bright spaces don't have many comforts, and need to have a safe place to just be a kid. I was able to raise $1100 through donations from friends and family, and I was awarded an additional $4000 for a grant that I applied for. That thought powered me through the last grueling 10 miles. I knew that I had to finish because the discomfort I was feeling was nothing compared to what these kids go through. The least I could do was to finish this race and make sure that I could convey the message that, 'if you put your mind into something, that anything is possible!' I want the kids that are able to spend time at our bright spaces to feel uplifted and know that anything is possible.....just like I felt when I crossed that finish line 24 hours and 54 minutes later.
Review from #MyGivingStory
As a Bright Horizons employee the Foundation is well known and talked about from center to center to classroom to classroom to team member to team member. we know what the Foundation is but until you are involved with the organization of creating a Bright Space you don't truly understand their value and commitment to those less fortunate!
I had the opportunity to plan the logistics of a Bright Space we did in the Akron, OH area and it is an experience that has changed the way I view volunteering. The Foundation opened my eyes to the need not only for nurturing and caring as you volunteer in programs but the need to support programs in how they manage, reach out to their community and simply make their programs a success by expanding on the resources available to them. Often times the staff members of these Bright Spaces are simply trying to get through the day by making sure families are clothed, fed, nurtured and safe! There is not too much time to walk the halls make lists of repairs needed or funds needed or education needed for the children and mothers in crisis. That is where we come in and share our resources, knowledge and "go get it attitude."
So, Thank you Bright Horizons Foundation for supporting me in my journey to support the Haven of Rest as they grow as a Team, Organization and Community!
I have been a volunteer for the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children for more than 10 years. I love the Foundation. Through programs, grants and new ideas which are constantly being created, we are able to support children and families in need in our community and across the country. The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children is recognized in my community for supporting the opening of 9 Bright Spaces for children and leading the way with donations in honor or employees volunteers efforts to their favorite non-profits where they donate their free time and energy. For me, the Foundation has been a way for me to give back to my community in so many ways. Creating Bright Spaces, walking to raise money, and meeting with fellow employees locally in what we call our Connector Council which keeps the momentum going locally. I look forward to the next endeavor with the Foundation: Walk On 2014!!!
We worked with the Bright Horizons Foundation on a project last year and it was a wonderful experience. They linked us with a generous corporate partner and shepherded one of our programs through a complete makeover of one of our childcare centers. Bright Horizons staff were thoughtful, helping and supportive throughout, were excellent at using their previous experience to anticipate roadblocks and steer our team around these. Bright Horizons staff are incredibly knowledgeable, have great people skills, and were thoroughly organized from start to finish. It was a real pleasure to work with them. We are very excited at the prospect of embarking on another project with this terrific team!
It has thoroughly been a pleasure to serve the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children as a volunteer through their innovative Bright Space program for the last 10 years. The Bright Space program dramatically impacts lives by supporting children and families in crisis through the development of caring, inviting, fully stocked play spaces in homeless shelters and in social service agencies serving people in dire need. While supporting the development of six Bright Spaces, I found working with the Foundation staff to be a collaborative and creative endeavor that allowed me to contribute to my broader community in a significant way. With their guidance, my local team and I established play rooms for children waiting in long lines at a local food pantry, a homeless shelter, an agency serving mothers in substance abuse recovery and an agency committed to supporting immigrants in need of social services. The Foundation was with us every step of the way. The Foundation has a very unique vision for serving a very fragile demographic. It is my prilvilege to serve the Foundation!
Bright Horizons has become one of our more active partners as we work daily addressing the issues facing low income families and individuals. Bright Horizons has assisted us not only through facility upgrades and in kind donations such as books and children's games but also as a valued source of information and support.
Their involvement, support and assistance has enhanced our efforts and the lives of the children and adults that we provide services for. We can't thank them enough.
St Ambrose Family Shelter