A program of the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children®

You Can Make a Difference – Join Us!


Home

Welcome! This webpage will introduce you to the many ways to get involved with the Bright Spaces program.

Many of you know of the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children’s signature program, Bright Spaces®. So what is a Bright Space?

Bright Spaces are welcoming, trauma-informed play areas created in homeless shelters or other community agencies serving children, youth, and families in crisis. Along with being an inviting, safe, fun, educational environment for play, the Bright Space is also a portal to support the agency’s services to the children and their families in their care.

These safe, enriching, and nurturing spaces give children and youth in crisis the important room to:

  • Build caring relationships
  • Heal from trauma through play
  • Experience the joy of childhood

Foundation Engagement Video from Bright Horizons Foundation on Vimeo.

The tabs above will help you focus on the type of engagement that is of interest to you.

Not sure what direction is right for you and your team? Here are some questions that might help.

For an overview of the options, please watch this very short presentation, Welcome to the Bright Space Program.

For more information and to get started, review the tabs on this page and then email brightspaces@brighthorizons.com or register your interest on the “Register” tab.

  • Brightening Lives Activities – Provides a list of ideas for supporting local Bright Spaces or other nonprofit organizations.
  • Volunteering – List of local Bright Spaces with their websites so you can reach out to offer volunteering services.  Every Bright Space agency partner is unique, so we ask that you work directly with them to support them.
  • Connecting – Supporting existing Bright Spaces is key to the success of the program, and is a great way to get started.
  • Creating – Explains the process of creating a new Bright Space in your community.
  • Locations – Google map and list of existing Bright Spaces, with links to websites.
  • Funding – Tips and ideas for raising funds for the Foundation, a new Bright Space, or supporting an existing Bright Space.
  • About Trauma – a great video from the Harvard Center for the Developing Child
  • More Info – Let the Bright Space team know you are interested in getting involved!  We can help with additional resources or start working with you on a new project.
  • Toolkit – Provides links to important documents and resources and a collection of brainshark trainings, recorded webinars, and other resources to help you understand the Bright Space program.

This is YOUR Foundation, and we are here to help you get and stay involved!

Brightening Lives Activities

Brightening Lives Activities are the best way to build a relationship with a new organization in your community, or provide ongoing support for an existing Bright Space.

Brightening Lives Activities bring groups of people together to participate in hands-on volunteer projects.  Held at a center, home, or office, these activities are easy, convenient, and fun.  They are intended to connect volunteers to the needs of their communities, local charities, and agency partners. Using the link below, choose one of the Foundation’s suggested activities  — host a collection drive for school supplies, clothing, or infant items or stuff bags with supplies to create hygiene or welcome kits — or create your own activity.

Brightening Lives Activities can be done to support any community organization, including Bright Spaces.

Please be sure to work with your agency partner in advance to determine their needs, then work with your team to have fun collecting the items and assembling them in the way that works best for the organization.

For ideas and inspiration, review the list of ideas posted HERE, and review this short presentation.

Volunteering

Volunteering for a Bright Space can be something you choose to do individually, in the evening or on the weekend. Or, you can volunteer with a team, led by a Connector, to host child-friendly activities such as game nights, arts and crafts, and more. You may choose to volunteer with your friends and familiy, including chidren, in some cases.  Volunteer once or as often as you like; coordinate a project or join in when you have the time. The choice is yours!

Look for a Bright Space near you by consulting the “Location” tab, where you will find a link to a Google map that shows all of the open Bright Spaces, as well as all the Bright Horizons centers, and a downloadable list of Bright Space agencies.

Before contacting the agency, it is mandatory that all Bright Horizons volunteers watch this presentation on Trauma-Informed Volunteering to become familiar with the trauma and challenges being faced by the families in Bright Spaces.

Once you have watched this training, review the mission and needs of the agency by visiting its website.  Make a connection by reaching out to the volunteer coordinator (if one is listed) or by calling the main number.  Use the script posted on the “Tools” tab to help you start the conversation, and then take notes on the possible volunteering opportunities to share with your team.

The Bright Space program would love to know about all volunteering activities with Bright Spaces, so please email us at brightspaces@brighthorizons.com or use the “Register” form on this website.

Connecting

Connecting with a Bright Space gives you the opportunity to build an ongoing relationship with an organization that has a Bright Space. The special role of Connector is perfect for a volunteer with energy and enthusiasm. A Connector will stay in touch with the agency partner to determine how Bright Horizons employees can continue to support and maintain the Bright Space.

Many agencies that already have a Bright Space would love to partner with a group of Bright Horizons volunteers to help them better serve the children, youth, and families in their care.

Becoming a Connector for an existing Bright Space can be a very fulfilling way to support an agency in your local community.  Connectors commit to:

  • Watch the Role of the Connector and Connect a Bright Space brainsharks
  • Stay in contact with the Agency Connector – Text, call, visit
  • Refresh the Bright Space once a quarter
  • Educate volunteers about the Bright Space and coordinate Brightening Lives Activities every quarter, work with Better Together or Inclusion representatives
  • Maintain communication with the Bright Space team through your Project Manager and the Connector Facebook group

Process for becoming a Connector:

  1. Research local Bright Space options
  2. Build relationship with agency and determine needs
  3. Organize Brightening Lives Activity or volunteer project
  4. Register with Bright Space program
  5. Sustain the Bright Space relationship by visiting and checking in

Please be sure to register your interest in becoming a Connector by using the registration form on the “Register” tab.  It is critical that the Bright Space team knows who is connecting with each Bright Space.  Connectors are the key to a sustainable Bright Space.  Thank you for considering taking on this important role.

Creating

Creating a Bright Space is an amazing and rewarding experience, during which you’ll focus on building and maintaining a relationship with a nonprofit organization in your community. The Foundation’s Bright Space Project Managers will help you every step of the way, from choosing an agency and fundraising, to designing and opening the space.

Did you know that a Bright Space can be an entire room or a much smaller space?

Depending on the space you have available, you can create a reading nook, dramatic play area, infant zone, or any other welcoming and safe place for children. Smaller Bright Spaces take less time and financial commitment to create and may be an ideal solution for your team and the agency partner.  If your team has sufficient space and fundraising capacity, you can create a larger room to serve all the agency’s needs.

These are the steps to opening a new Bright Space:

  1. Register your interest by completing the registration form on the “Register” tab
  2. Watch Welcome to the Bright Space Program, The Role of the Connector, Create and Support a New Bright Space, and Trauma-Informed Volunteering brainshark trainings
  3. Invest the time to build the relationship with the agency
  4. Bright Spaces can range in size and content
  5. Listen to the agency and design a space that works for them.  Share the Bright Space Agency Flyer with them.
  6. Plan and execute your fundraising goals
  7. Commit to a plan to visit the space at least quarterly and support them with Brightening Lives Activities and refurbishment.

If opening a new Bright Space is right for you and your team, reach out to the Bright Space team at brightspaces@brighthorizons.com or send us your information through the “Register” tab on this website.

Funding

Does your team enjoy fundraising and want to support Bright Spaces across the country? FUNdraisers raise awareness about Bright Spaces and create teambuilding spirit while raising money for a great cause.

FUNdraisers can be done by anyone. The Foundation FUNdraising resource page has lots of fun ideas, along with all the tools you will need to properly submit your funds to the Foundation office. FUNdraisers can benefit the creation of a new Bright Space, support a specific existing Bright Space or to support all Bright Spaces throughout the country.

Bright Spaces projects range in size, materials, and budget.  Your Project Manager will work with you on a budget for your particular project, and we have lots of tools to help you, including setting up online donation pages and Bright Space Assistance Grants.

It’s important that all Bright Space volunteers understand a little bit about the impact that trauma and toxic stress have on children’s development since almost all of the children and families we work with in Bright Spaces will have faced crises and trauma in their lives.  Please watch this important video from the Harvard Center for the Developing Child.

(A notification will appear at the bottom of your screen.  This may take a few seconds to download, then click on it to open).

Locations

This map will show you where Bright Spaces and Bright Horizons centers are located throughout the United States.  Zoom into your area and click on the yellow dots to find out more about the open and approved (opening in next 12 months) Bright Spaces.  Red dots will give you more information about local centers.

Be aware that many of our Bright Spaces are in secure, confidential locations so you may only see a PO Box and not a street address, or in some cases, the street address is for the agency headquarters, not the physical location of the Bright Space.  This is the case for all Domestic Violence agencies.  If you want to volunteer with one of these programs, please contact them directly through their website.

The best way to connect with the agency and understand their needs is to review their website.  Most shelters and nonprofits maintain a list of items that their families need, and you can use that to create a Brightening Lives Activity for your team.

You may also want to download this list of Bright Spaces.  Be sure to check back regularly.  This list is updated quarterly.

Locations of Bright Spaces in the US

Questions?  Email brightspaces@brighthorizons.com or reach out to the Bright Space Project Manager listed for each Bright Space.

More Information

We are excited to welcome you to the Bright Space community.  Please register your interest with us, and we will reach out to you!

Register your Interest in the Bright Space Program

Toolkit

This tab contains trainings and tools to help you prepare to connect and engage with Bright Spaces.

Trainings

Welcome to the Bright Space Program – Short introduction to the various ways to engage with Bright Spaces.

Understanding the Role of the Connector – Description of the expectations for the Connector role.

Brightening Lives Activities – Overview of how to run a successful Brightening Lives Activity.

Trauma-Informed Volunteering – Mandatory training for anyone volunteering at a Bright Space to better understand the impact of trauma on children and adults.

Choosing an Agency Partner – Useful information for teams creating new Bright Spaces.

Tools

Bright Horizons Foundation for Children Photo Release Form – MUST be completed and signed for any photographs with children.

Bright Space Assistance Grant Application and Bright Space Grant Application Cover Letter – For teams who need additional funding for their projects.  Can be used for new Bright Spaces, makeovers or Brightening Lives Activities.  Consult your Bright Space Project Manager for more information.

Link to Connector Facebook Group – All Bright Space volunteers are welcome to join and engage in dialog with others.

Script for Connecting with a Bright Space Agency – Use this script for contacting a Bright Space Agency

Bright Space Agency Flyer – Use this to introduce the Bright Space concept to new agency partners

Taking Photos – Use this document to help you take quality photos with your phone.

Recorded Webinars

The Bright Space team hosts live webinars for all interested volunteers.  Here are links to some of the past webinars.

Understanding the Needs of Families Experiencing Homelessness, presented by Ellen Bassuk, Jeff Olivet, and Jannette Herbers

Driven to Helping Kids Experiencing Homelessness, presented by Diane Nilan and Ileen Henderson

Your Journey Together: Building the Resilience of Children and Families, presented by Deborah Alleyne

Creating More Child-Friendly Environments in Shelters, presented by Grace Whitney and Marsha Basloe

Getting Serious about Play: Building Skills and Advancing Learning, presented by Sarah Wolman from the LEGO Foundation

Connector Conversations:  Ideas and Brainstorming, presented by Jaelene Wilson, Selena Sendejas-Rahman, and Danielle Degges

Sharing Bright Horizons Education Advising Services with Bright Spaces, presented by Bright Horizons College Coach and EdAssist Solutions