The Junior League-founded Bright Beginnings is taking part in the annual Read Across America Month and it has an aggressive goal of 600 books being read to its homeless and in-transition children during March.Â Once again, I had the opportunity to come by to read to the little ones, all of whom are sweet, innocent, curious and loving.Â This year, I brought my boyfriend Jason with me.Â We entered the location which is a secure building found at 128 M Street, NW and were greeted by the friendly security guard and Latoyia Allen and Heidi Bluming of Bright Beginnings.
Since they both remembered I loved the babies last year, we chose to go there first.Â Now in this room, because they crawl and roll around on the crowd and are “months” old, all who enter must cover their shoes with hospital slippers which are later laundered to be used again.Â All must immediately wash their hands with antibacterial soap (even use a pedal for the sink, no hands) before sitting down with the children.Â The babies are so adorable, albeit not very attentive (they were more interested in Heidi’s bright and flashing camera) but it’s important to show them love, introduce them to new people and yes, read to them. Here we read three books, signed the Read Across America sheet and left to the next room.
The kids here were a bit older, still toddling around, but definitely talkers.Â They were excited to meet Miss Pamela and Mr. Jason and to have their favorite books read to them.Â Again, we read three and the children then took a class photo with us.Â It was so hard to leave them, their personalities were so magnetic, their eyes so shiny and bright, their comments and interactions with us so innocent and funny.Â Some were shy, some could be the next Broadway entertainer, but each very special.Â The last room we went to had a bit older kids; it was interesting to see the personalities develop with age.Â They seemed to be the most rambunctious and active.
We talked later about the particular needs Bright Beginnings has and the work its doing every day not just with the children but with the parents as well, as they struggle to get back out of a homeless state and into a better situation. Many need help with basic computer skills, resume writing, job interview proficiency.Â Bright Beginnings looks to assist those parents who are searching out these types of requirements.Â There is a lending library where family members can come and take the books and keep them because that means they are reading at home. They are encouraged to read above their level because that is how you learn.
With regard to essential in-kind donations, the following is a list: Metro fare cards, Grocery store gift cards, Diapers, all sizes, Wipes, Boys and girlsâ€™ Pull-Ups, Childrenâ€™s underwear, up to size 6, Childrenâ€™s socks, Childrenâ€™s books, Dictionaries and thesauruses.
The list may seem short and uncomplicated, but they are still fundamental daily items that the children and the homeless and in-transition families do need, many of which people just take for granted but are costly.
If you would like to donate any or all of those items or help Bright Beginnings reach the goal of 600 books in the month of March, please contact them directly.Â Also, you can like their Facebook Fan page and follow them on Twitter @SunnyStarts.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a platform for profiling people who "make it happen" in the Capital region, reviews & topical blog posts. She launched Punch Enterprises, a connector consulting business in 2015 and Pacific Punch based in LA, in 2012. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, VA. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.