Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bright Beginnings Celebrates 20 Years of Nurturing Young Minds

Isaac Fourjour, Partner, Tarplin, Downs & Young and Friends of Bright Beginnings’ Member; John Haysbert, Lobbyist, Duke Energy; Mariko Bennett, Lobbyist, Baxter Healthcare; Alethia Jackson, Senior Lobbyist, Walgreens; and Dr. Betty Jo Gaines, Executive Director, Bright Beginnings.

By Stacey Trammel, Guest Contributor

Washington, DC – Bright Beginnings (BB), a nationally recognized child development center for those experiencing homelessness, celebrated its twentieth anniversary during a Capitol Hill reception on Tuesday, October 25.

The event, held in the ultra-modern American Trucking Associations' main lobby, included representatives from BB and its’ Board of Directors, Congressional staffers, Gold and Silver Sponsor attendees from Baxter Healthcare, Walmart, Duke Energy, and others dedicated to the center’s mission.

Led by Executive Director Dr. Betty Jo Gaines and a talented team of teachers, professional staff and volunteers, BB offers nurturing, guidance and encouragement to the youngest and most vulnerable of the city's homeless epidemic. It has served over 2,100 children since its inception; currently all are of color, the majority being African American. An active board and a “Friends of Bright Beginnings” group also work collectively to advance the strategic goals of the organization.

Bright Beginnings staff Latoyia Allen, Heidi Bluming, Emma Kupferman, Tamara Perez, Betty Jo Gaines, Crystal Schanette, Sherri Watkins, LeNesha Brown, Joan Woods and Jonna Holden.

Reception program highlights included a welcome from Isaac Fordjour, a “Friends of Bright Beginnings” member who shared his personal reasons for “giving back;” Nancy Register, President, Board of Directors, who walked attendees through a historical perspective of the organization; parents Dionisia Martin and Louis Limes’ touching account on how the center has impacted their children’s educational success and offers a holistic approach in supporting the entire family; and Jim Duda, Board Member, who announced that BB’s Capital Campaign has reached $2.9 million of its $5 million dollar goal towards opening a child development center in Ward 7, east of the river.

The Walt Disney Company served as the reception’s Platinum Sponsor; Amgen as its Gold Sponsor.

To learn how this nonprofit is making a notable and much needed impact in Washington, DC, visit Bright Beginnings' website at

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