What is Bright Futures?
Bright Futures is a framework of support and communication that allows communities and schools to identify student needs and match those needs with existing resources in the community. When students’ basic needs are met, they are better able to focus on education and achievement. When kids succeed, communities flourish.
Is it just another social services program?
No. In fact, the community leaders who helped to develop the program worked hard to make sure that it is not. In addition to matching needs to existing resources, Bright Futures promotes service learning through the relationships it builds with the community. Students and families learn through positive role models how and why they should give back, creating better neighbors, employees, and community leaders.
How are kids’ needs met?
The goal is to meet any child’s basic need within 24 hours of identifying the need. This is done through a rapid-response system using existing resources and / or social media. In many cases, needs are met in minutes. The school system acts as the liaison between the student and the donor. Needs are identified by teachers, counselors, and school personnel.
Won’t some parents abuse the system?
This will happen from time to time. However, in almost all cases, the referrals come from school staff who have a good understanding of the challenges that these families face. In all cases, the needs of the student take priority.
Just because a child’s basic need is met today, won’t it resurface again tomorrow?
This is true. Fortunately, Bright Futures works beyond basic needs to find the underlying issues and works diligently to help fix the problems that created the need to begin with through asking the right questions and finding the best community resource to address the situation.
Won’t this be a drain on community resources?
Bright Futures actually energizes the community and helps to uncover new resources. As one principal stated, “Money can’t buy what our kids need.” Bright Futures is more than another donation stream. It allows the community to share in the responsibility and pride of helping students succeed through relationships with the schools, staff, and students. It allows community members to serve as role models for students and as ambassadors for the schools by learning and sharing children’s stories. And, it allows the schools to participate in building a stronger community.
How do you sustain such a massive initiative?
If knowledge is power, Bright Futures will never run out of energy. First, the program builds capacity in the community through in-depth training and exposure to the challenges that schools and students face. Challenges and opportunities are communicated regularly with community leaders. Second, the service-learning component of the framework teaches children how to identify problems and provide solutions. This helps to develop future leaders and helps to sustain the program.
How can I get involved?
School and community leaders should contact Bright Futures USA to learn more about the program and how it can make a positive impact on your students, schools, and community.