After much anticipation, the doors swung open on the morning December 18th to reveal the newly renovated Bright Space® at the Bushwick Family Residence in Brooklyn, New York. As part of The TODAY Show's Shine a Light initiative, the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children®, Bright Horizons Family Solutions and its partners, including the Home Depot Foundation, worked with TODAY host Willie Geist to create a fun, warm and inviting Bright Space for children at the shelter and to help raise awareness about homelessness in the United States.
The Shine a Light project was officially announced on the TODAY Show in mid-November, and since that time, TODAY, the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children and its volunteers worked together to transform the outdated recreation room space into a colorful and enriching space where children can play, explore their creativity and spend quality time with their families.
In partnership with Team Depot, Pottery Barn Kids, Volunteers of America of Greater New York and interior designer Elaine Griffin, the new Bright Space is adorned with comfortable couches, pillows and a flat screen television for kids to watch their favorite shows. New flooring, furniture and curtains were added to the space, and the walls are now covered in bright, warm tones - including a jungle-themed mural. Colorful rugs, pillows, rocking chairs and couches provide areas where children can relax, read and listen to music. The kids can now spend time enjoying the new books, toys and art supplies in the Bright Space. The Team Depot crew, along with the Tree House Brothers, dedicated their time and materials to build a large tree house, which is perfect for playing and exploring.
"It was truly remarkable to see the elated and excited looks on the children’s faces when Willie swung the doors open to reveal the new Bright Space," said Mark Mendel, President of the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children. "We are so thankful to our volunteers and partners who went above and beyond to help us create a space that gives kids a comforting place where they can truly be kids while they are living at the shelter."
The Bushwick Family Residence is a transitional shelter for families located in Brooklyn, New York. The shelter, operated by the Volunteers of America of Greater New York, is a residence for 87 families. Families at the shelter receive a wide range of services to help them obtain permanent housing and achieve independence.
"We are grateful that Willie chose to shine a light on such an important issue like childhood homelessness, and to create such a special, inviting and enriching space at the Bushwick Family Residence," said Ileen Henderson, National Director of the Bright Spaces program."“We are so honored to be a part of this meaningful project which so perfectly aligns with the Foundation’s mission of brightening the lives of young children so they can experience the joy of childhood."
About 100,000 children in more than 300 shelters benefit from the Bright Spaces program, which provides warm, safe, enriching places in homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and other agencies. A Bright Space provides an atmosphere of safety and trust, where children and adults are able to make better decisions, regulate their emotions, and provide emotional support to each other.
Donations raised through Willie Geist’s Crowdrise site will continue to go toward the Bright Space project at the Bushwick Family Residence, and others like it through the Bright Space program.
Willie Geist Reveals Bright Space for Kids in Homeless Shelter