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Bright Futures USA shares strategies for helping kids in need at - KOAM TV 7

Bright Futures USA shares strategies for helping kids in need at conference

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The Bright Futures program that began in Joplin is now operating in four states and seventeen school districts. 

    The non-profit organization held a community engagement conference at Missouri Southern State University.
    Bright Futures USA started as a way to meet students basic needs,  from clothing to school supplies. Now school districts are developing distribution centers for donated items.
     Breakout sessions at today's conference included faith-based organizations while others provided information on how to recruit business partners. 
  What started as a way to connect students in need with  coats and hygiene supplies has bloomed into a full blown organization in Missouri Kansas, Arkansas and Virginia  with Colorado and Oklahoma now interested. East Newton School district  became an affiliate five  months ago and the superintendent says its helped the district and community connect.Todd McCracken says, " We feel we're opening our doors more than before in the past  and letting people in the community understand there's some needs out there that we as teachers educators can't meet and we need their help."

Districts are learning how to get businesses on board and even faith based groups to bring in volunteers to help. And the bright futures structures coordinates all those willing. 
But there is a cost.  It now costs $2500 dollars to become an affiliate of Bright Futures USA.    Money organizers say is important for training to avoid pitfalls and guarantee success. 
 Jeff Spangler the Bright Futures USA Development director says, "We tout that in the community.  Its a community fee,   its a buy in,  if you will for community members to come together.   Anytime you  put money in you  have an interest in it going forward. You're not just buying a program.  Its an initiative."

Avilla and McDonald County are  collecting information to see if those communities will embrace bright futures. One  is  hoping it can bring  six small towns with diverse troubles together.

Tami Kester a principal at Pineville elementary in McDonald county says, "WEe all have needs in every community, in  every  building but we're  not coming together with that.  But with bright futures, it  will bring everyone together. Its gonna bring that common unity back in and join some communities that have been displaced."
For more information about Bright Futures USA CLICK HERE for a link to its web site.


 


 

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