Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Teams Up with Bright Horizons Foundation for Children to Open Bright Space

SOM Bright Space Opening
March 26, 2018 – Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP (SOM), working in partnership with Bright Horizons and the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, opened a Bright Space for children at the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center (VWFRC).

“Bright Horizons is proud to partner with SOM,” said Bright Horizons CEO Stephen Kramer. “They share our mission to make a difference in the communities where we live and work. It is especially inspiring to see how the talented workforce at SOM volunteered to create a warm and inviting change in the space at the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center. Their work will undoubtedly create a lasting impact and better experience for the children and families who need their support.”

VWFRC provides critical services to District of Columbia families who are homeless or about to become homeless. While VWFRC had created a waiting area, they wanted to provide a more welcoming space for the 70 children who visit this center every day. In a volunteer effort, SOM made it a priority to transform the waiting area into a warm and inviting family-friendly space. In addition to brightening the waiting area, activity carts and cozy beanbag chairs were added to the Case Manager area to create a child-friendly environment during those meetings. 
“We wanted to participate in an outreach effort that would have a positive impact on both the DC community and SOM’s culture,” said Kristopher Takacs, Director at SOM. “This extremely successful effort has now inspired other SOM offices to partner with Bright Spaces to identify their own local project. We are hoping this initiative will grow to be a firm-wide effort where our employees can come together and give back to the areas we serve.”

Now, this Bright Space is a purposefully designed, child-friendly waiting area of the VWFRC where children who can often be in the midst of crisis or trauma can play and be kids.

Ally Delgado, Assistant Benefits Manager at SOM, spoke of the partnership between SOM and the Bright Spaces Program at the recent Solutions at Work Conference held in California.

“At SOM, with our five offices spread out, each of the offices tends to do their own thing, and once we learned about Bright Spaces, it felt like such a natural alignment with our values as an organization – and it dovetailed nicely into our desire to give back to the communities where we work. We were so excited by the possibility of creating a space for children who had experienced such trauma in their life at such a young age, and we also saw it as a way to do a little team building within the offices.”

Studies have shown that children of all ages thrive when they have a safe place in which to explore the world around them, filled with books, toys, and activities that are developmentally appropriate and provide an opportunity for them to discover the magic of childhood. Children experiencing stress especially need access to these kinds of child-friendly spaces.