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Unique Partnership Creates Three Amazing Bright Spaces® for Homeless Children

March 6, 2013

Homeless families working to make a new life at the RAIN Transitional Living Center in Camaraillo, CA, will be able to enjoy three new Bright Spaces to play, learn, and have fun thanks to a unique public-private collaboration between the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, biotech company Amgen, and First 5 of California, a state-run organization that provides education, health and child care services to young children and their families.

The Bright Space for young children provides a comforting place to learn through play; the ‘tween room focuses on science and science activities to help them grow and explore their world; and the teen room is geared toward learning, self-expression and creativity. Each room with its distinct personality will provide a safe place where children, ‘tweens, and teens can grow, bond with their families, and develop skills for success in life.

These three Bright Spaces exist thanks to the hard work of Regional Manager Tammy Reich and Camp Amgen Center Director Sara Hannah, who coordinated the project.  They designed the spaces closely with RAIN to meet the needs of the children there; worked with Bright Horizons volunteers to create the spaces (even doing demolition on the spaces one weekend with their husbands in tow!); and obtained the money to create these wonderful play spaces through fundraising, and generous grants from the Amgen Foundation and First 5 Ventura County.

“We want these kids that come in here to have a chance, so at least in this short time that they are here they have a real opportunity to experience something special,” said Tina McDonald, RAIN’s program manager. “They are in these rooms constantly, daily, and they can graduate from one room to the next.”

Half of RAIN’s residents are children and youth under the age of 18. The reality for children experiencing homelessness is that there are fewer opportunities for them to develop the social, cognitive, language, and gross motor skills that are important for academic success. This has serious and long-lasting developmental outcomes, which often contribute to a cycle of instability that is difficult to break.

“We are very pleased to add these Bright Spaces for our residents, and are very thankful to the Amgen Foundation, First 5 Ventura County, and the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children,” said Tina.  “They will provide enriching environments filled with activities and resources to allow children, teens, and ‘tweens to create, dream, explore and discover their own interests.”

View a photo album on the Foundation’s Facebook Page.

Read media coverage about the Grand Opening.

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