It seems funny to say, but the first thing you notice when you walk into Bright Beginnings is how bright it is! Most of the classrooms have walls of windows letting the light in and everything in the rooms, from the child sized tables and chairs to the paintings and posters on the walls, are vibrant and welcoming.
I first visited Bright Beginnings nearly a year ago and upon walking through the space and talking to the staff there I knew we had to bring them on as a partner. I left uplifted and inspired to grow DC Diaper Bank even more so we could work with the families at Bright Beginnings. So, what do they do that blew me away? They say it best:
Have you ever wondered where children living in shelters go during the day? Where do they learn? Where do they play? Where do they go to feel safe? Bright Beginnings understands the special needs of young children and families living in homeless environments. Our safe, nurturing, developmentally-appropriate childcare for homeless infants, toddlers and preschoolers helps them reach important childhood milestones, while we help their parents to end their homelessness.
Bright Beginnings serves around 125 children each year – that’s 25% of homeless children 5 years or younger in DC. They will use DC Diaper Bank diapers in two main ways – First, they will use diapers as part of their new Parent Resource Program as an incentive to participate in a variety of classes and services. Secondly, they will supplement diapers that parents supply in their classrooms for the babies and toddlers they see each day. Using diapers in this way will free up funds for other much needs services. As Bright Beginning noted in their application:
The diapers supplied by DC Diaper Bank will enhance our ability to provide a safe haven and nurturing care to homeless children in the District of Columbia. While providing a critical need for parents, we will also incentivize their participation in workforce preparation and life skills classes that will help stabilize their home lives and help them get back on their feet.
It’s this kind of comprehensive family care that interrupts the cycle of poverty and changes the life and future of a family.
I was talking on the phone with a friend about the Diaper Bank yesterday and she said, “You all are taking on so much right now, why don’t you slow down.” After we got off the line I sent her the website for Bright Beginnings with the subject line: We can’t slow down, these babies need us.
Thank you for enabling us to grow, reach more families, and work with more incredible organizations like Bright Beginnings.