10 Years of Bright Futures Joplin

10th anniversary logoWhat began in 2010 with an idea -- a few people around a table who wanted to help Joplin kids succeed -- has now grown to more than 10 years of Bright Futures. From Joplin, Missouri, and all across the United States, communities are gathering their resources in support of their schools and students, with one goal in mind: 

Making Connections for Success.

We are so proud of the ways our community stepped up to be champions for children, so we designated one whole week toward celebrating those connections. This virtual party was held Nov. 9 through Nov. 13, 2020 to celebrate 10 Years of Bright Futures Joplin!

We planned a lot of fun ways to learn more about Joplin's combined impacts, from videos and fundraisers to gifts and statistics. (Because what party is complete without statistics?!)

On behalf of the thousands of students whose futures are brighter because of YOUR dedication, support and encouragement, we thank you. And we ask you to recommit to Joplin's students for the next 10 years to come. Their needs are great, but our community's resources are greater, and we believe that together, we can make a difference in their lives.

One dollar, one hour, one meal, one relationship at a time. 

Kids in Bright Sun

Day 1

Today, we're taking a look back at how Bright Futures Joplin all began -- ten years ago, with a community of neighbors looking to support the needs of Joplin students. Once a framework was built to connect community resources with student needs, the real work began.

Since 2010, Bright Futures Joplin has been able to fulfill more than 12,200 student needs. These are things like shoes, clean clothes, a warm coat, eyeglasses, transportation to and from school, hygiene items and backpacks full of school supplies. Basic, unmet needs can stand in the way of our students rising to their full potential with confidence and assurance -- and with a diploma at the end of their high school education. 

Needs Met Chart

If you'd like to support the work of Bright Futures Joplin, we have a spot for you on our team! We love our volunteers and Community Partners, but even if you don't have time to serve in-person, your dollars make a BIG difference in the lives of our children.

Student investment levels

If you think you can help Joplin Students get past some entirely surmountable barriers and build brighter futures for themselves, you are right! As part of our anniversary celebration this week, we've set a goal of raising $10,000 for Joplin students in need. To help us reach this goal, we invite you to respond in one (or all!) of the following ways:

1. Share Bright Futures Joplin Facebook posts and fundraising opportunities on social media this week.

2. Donate to the cause and invite 5 friends to join you!

3. Wear your heart (on your sleeve) for this grassroots, community-wide effort by purchasing our anniversary t-shirt. It costs $25, with proceeds going to the direct benefit of student needs. The order form is available here. 

Anniversary Tshirt
4. Come back here tomorrow for more details about the decade-long impacts of Bright Futures Joplin. We believe Every Child Needs a Champion, and there are enough champions in this community for ALL of Joplin's students. Thank you for being one of them! 

Day 2

To build Connections for Success, Bright Futures Joplin founders knew that individual school buildings needed the support and involvement of local business and faith-based communities. Enter: Site Councils. By committing to partner with a school for the good of all, these groups began to meet regularly, assess the school's needs, and show up in both good times and bad. But most importantly, they committed to come alongside the school in their mission to be a place of refuge, stability and encouragement for each and every child.

Since then, the relationships between our Site Council Community Partners and their respective schools have built lasting bonds of trust and support. It goes deeper than putting one's name on a sponsorship sign (which, by the way, is also a fantastic way to help!). Site Councils and Community Partners are about relationships. They're about investment. They're about opening the school's doors to the community and inviting their neighbors to be a part of something wonderful.

Our students can tell when they're thought well of, showed up for, and cheered on. This level of personal attention raises up our children in an neighborhood environment that feels like an extended family. And over the past 10 years, the love of our Site Council partners has definitely not gone unnoticed by our student and teachers!

Here are some of our littlest Eagles at Joplin Early Childhood, thanking all of their community partners for being invested in their good outcomes!

If you'd like to support the mission of Bright Futures Joplin, we invite you to find a way that works best for you. That might mean signing on as a business or faith-based partner and joining a Site Council, or it might mean donating funds to help kids in seasons of crisis. Either way, we are honored by your heart for Joplin students!

How to Donate

We hope you'll pop in tomorrow for a look at the decade-long impacts of mentoring and volunteering with Bright Futures Joplin!

Day 3

One of the most impactful positions our Bright Futures volunteers have held over the past decade has been through Lunch PALS and TREK, our mentoring and tutoring programs. Both programs pairs a caring, stable adult with an elementary-aged child in need of steady encouragement and relationship. 

In as little as 30 to 60minutes per week, our Lunch PALS and TREK coaches impact their students' success rates, self confidence, social/emotional wellness and so much more. Multiply those efforts across a whole decade, and the benefits are invaluable to the Joplin community.

You know that feeling when you've received a surprise gift, and it's better than anything that was on your list?

That's how we feel about our WONDERFUL volunteers!

The work of Bright Futures Joplin volunteers over the past 10 years is nothing short of amazing. They've sorted, shopped, packed, carried, lunched, taught, calculated, delivered, entered data, built, swept, planted, weeded, cheered, cut, pasted, chaperoned, hugged, and loved their way into history.

With a combined total of more than 60,500 service hours, Bright Futures Joplin volunteers have broken the mold. They've shown up day after day, year after year, and quietly changed the course of our students' -- and our community's -- future.

Volunteer Hours chart

If you haven't ordered your 10th Anniversary t-shirt yet, there's still time! 

For a $25 donation, your t-shirt will be delivered to you with the knowledge that you're helping to change a child's future.

For $25, we can feed six elementary kids a Snack Pack over the weekend. Or purchase two pairs of tennis shoes for kids in need. With $25, we can provide shampoo, conditioner, soap and towels to a student who needs to bathe at school because they're effectively homeless. $25 will provide two dozen pairs of underwear for a school nurse's office. In short, your $25 anniversary t-shirt is worth its weight in gold.

Order by clicking here.

Anniversary Tshirt
Joplin's students and staff have been encouraged by the creativity, stability and passion of the thousands of volunteers who've passed through our doors since 2010. And for that, we join them in saying THANK YOU!

Thank you notes to volunteers

If you've volunteered with Bright Futures any time over the past 10 years, we'd love to hear from you! Drop us a line (by emailing [email protected]) to tell us about the favorite way you've been involved. We can't wait to re-meet you!

Pssst...tomorrow, we're celebrating 10 years of Snack Packs for our food insecure kiddos. See you soon!

Day 4

When we consider barriers to success for our children, hunger tops the list. When kids are hungry, they strive less, self-regulate less, learn less -- because without enough food to eat, other lessons and hopes fall by the wayside.

We know that here in Southwest Missouri, plenty of our children live in food insecure households, and come to school each Monday morning after a weekend of hunger. Thanks to an idea and a jump-start from the Joplin Schools Foundation, plus donations, grants and a long list of dedicated volunteers, Bright Futures Joplin has been honored to help feed an average of 375-400 kids each weekend, each semester, each year.

Since 2010. 

This work is accomplished almost entirely by volunteers; these are adults, teens, club, group, and congregation members who gladly spend about 16-20 combined hours per week filling bags of food so our elementary-aged kids don't have to go hungry on the weekends. And they do it every week, without fail.

Snack Packs Breakdown

The menu for Snack Packs was developed with the help of a nutritionist in order to provide a rotating group of food items that would fulfill a few requirements. 

1. The food has to be shelf-stable. Some of our children are in homeless situations or will need to store the food in their backpack all weekend.

2. The food needs to be able to be prepared by children as young as preschoolers without adult intervention.

3. The food needs to meet wholesome standards for proteins, fiber, sugar and fat contents.

In addition to accepting monetary donations toward the Snack Packs program, we also rely on food drives from local classrooms and groups to provide items directly from our menu.

Snack Pack Menu Items

It's a big job, but the Joplin community has shown up with amazing generosity over the past decade, to make sure our kids are fed. It all adds up to more than 138,000 Snack Packs being served since 2010. That's a whole lot of food, and a whole lot of kids who were able to focus on more important things. Like playing, learning, laughing and growing.

Want to help us in this work? We love to hear it! You can donate right here, or order an anniversary t-shirt

If your business, church, or group is looking for a way to make a big difference for Joplin's students in need, here's a look at how your donations can be put to work.

Corporate Student Investment Levels

For all you've done to help us help our students, we thank you, Joplin! 

Tomorrow is our final day of this 10th anniversary celebration, and we can't wait to wrap it up in style. See you then!

Day 5

Bright Futures Joplin has always been about harnessing the strength of the community around our children in need. If we've learned anything since 2010, it's that Joplin loves to show up for its schools and students, and that our community cares deeply about good outcomes for all of our kids.

Good outcomes for our students are built on stable relationships. Enough food to eat. Warm clothes that fit, a sturdy backpack, and a bed to sleep in. 

A lot of us take these basics for granted, but for some of our most precious kids, they feel out of reach. At Bright Futures Joplin, we want to bring them into reach, with dignity and joy. And because of the incredible support of Joplin's Community Partners, volunteers, sponsors and educators, we're privileged to help thousands of students since 2010.

10 Years of impacts

We are so proud of the way our community has pulled together to support students through Bright Futures Joplin during the past decade.

Will you commit to being a part of the solution for so many of our kids living in economic deprivation in the coming years?

They need your time -- volunteer!
They need your talent -- join a Site Council!
They need your treasure -- your donations go a long way!

Student Investment Levels

Thank you for celebrating with us this week! If you'd like to purchase our anniversary T-shirt, there's still time, and your dollars will be contributing to the well-being of future community leaders, business owners, parents and -- we hope -- volunteers.

We believe Every Child Needs a Champion, and we know Joplin well enough to know that you believe it, too. Thank you for letting us do this work of making connections for the success of our children.

Here's to the next 10 years of Bright Futures Joplin!

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