Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill - Friends Who Think Big

Bright Spaces
It's a fact that our friends at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) never do anything in a small way.

There's this.

And this.

And of course, this.

So nobody was surprised that when the esteemed architects got the idea to create a Bright Space in a center for homeless families...well let's just say they did it in a big way. The Virginia Williams Family Resource Center (VWFRC) - a place that provides critical services to Washington D.C.-area families who are or are about to become homeless -- is now home to one awesome playroom for children.

"It was a lot of work," says SOM's Assistant Benefits Manager Ally Delgado with a big smile, "but it was great work."

A Bright Light During Difficult Days

The "aha" moment for the project came two years ago when Ally was at our Solutions at Work LIVE conference listening to Bright Horizons Foundation for Children President Mark Mendel talk about Bright Spaces. They're so important, he explained. They give kids in homeless shelters and other organizations a bright light during some otherwise difficult days.

"Right after the presentation," said Ally, "we walked out and we were like, ‘We need to do this immediately!'" So they planned, mapped out, and got approval. And with the finesse only a team of architects could bring, they transformed the WVFRC room from what Ally called a DMV-ish office into a cozy Bright Space with activity carts and bean bag chairs.

"It was a great celebration," the Foundation's Debi Hart said of the March opening day.

The VWFRC space now sees about 70 children a day. And the SOM folks aren't done. "We knew when we started this that we didn't just want to write a check and walk away," said Ally. "We want to have this long-term relationship with the Virginia Center. So we're going to do...maybe back-to-school drives, and Christmas drives, and we're definitely going to keep that relationship."

And wait...there's more! SOM already has another location in their sights. "I'm excited to announce that New York is next," she said.

Officials called the VWFRC transformation a warm and inviting change.

As for us? We'll call it SOMething else.

In honor of National Volunteer Week, we just want to say...thanks, SOM! Can't wait to see what you do next.
Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
Bright Spaces

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