Unexpected Benefits: BlueCross BlueShield and the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children Brighten Lives Together

Sometimes things work out even better than expected.

Take the recent BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) project to open a Bright Space® in the Durham, North Carolina community. The North Carolina BCBS offered a grant of $20,000 with the intent of helping the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children® create a single Bright Space for a local agency. But with the elbow grease of BCBS and Bright Horizons employees, the amount turned out to have an even greater impact than expected, helping the Foundation create two of these much-needed facilities one at Lincoln Community Health Center and the other at Genesis Home. The Lincoln Community Center opened  September 2012 and Genesis Home shortly after in October 2012. The openings sparked excitement among all involved. "The most touching thing for me was seeing all the people who made it a reality," says Tracey Roach, assistant director of the BlueCross BlueShield Bright Horizons Child Care Center "Especially a woman who lived at the Genesis Home. She came in and said ‘This room is really beautiful and makes me not feel homeless.'"

Getting Started!and Building a Partnership

The Bright Space program has long helped support connections between communities and organizations. The flagship of the Foundation, the program furthers Bright Horizons' commitment to families and children by providing warm, colorful, enriching spaces in local shelters and other agencies for children and families to learn and play. It also provides an avenue for organizations and centers to join together and pitch in. The North Carolina project began with the team at the BCBS Bright Horizons Child Care Center including Director Rachel Tonneson and Ms. Roach.  The group initially approached BCBS about hosting a walk-a-thon on the corporate campus and got an enthusiastic response.  The grant for the two spaces followed. Assembling the spaces picked up steam in a hurry. With the support of regional managers Marie Ramirez and Deborah Harris, Ms. Tonneson and Ms. Roach put together a team of volunteers and got to work designing the two spaces. "Volunteers from BCBS of North Carolina were very much involved," said Ms. Roach. "From helping choose the agencies to even something simple like floor samples, the entire project was a collaboration." "We have a very engaged employee volunteer network through our Community Works program," adds Jasmine Smith, senior program manager for BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina Office of Community Relations. "We wanted to be involved so our employees would be able to volunteer."

Working Together

The success of the project pleased all involved, fulfilling goals for both BCBS and the Foundation. "Our commitment to North Carolina extends beyond service to our 3.6 million members and into communities across the state, where we promote improved health and well-being through our employee volunteer programs, financial support, and community-focused partnerships and initiatives," says Ms. Smith And, "Our volunteers really enjoyed it. It was really good to play with the kids and really exciting for them to see how they impacted the children's lives." In the end, it was a win-win for all involved. "This project went a long way in building a continuing relationship with Bright Horizons staff," concludes Ms. Smith. "After all, they take care of our kids and being able to work with them this closely was a really nice benefit."   For more information on how to brighten lives through volunteering with a Bright Space in your area, please visit us at www.brighthorizonsfoundation.org or contact us at 615-238-6048 or bhfoundation@brighthorizons.com.