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Bright Futures: Connections for Success

The Harrisonville Bright Futures program began in April 2012 and strives to help meet student needs with resources in the community.
It is a community organization that gets the schools involved, resulting in many of the Bright Futures participants being high school students.
One of Bright Futures’ most promising projects is the Back to School Fair, where kids in need receive supplies, shoes, hygiene kits, haircuts, etc.
“This is my favorite project we do,” said Jill Filer, head of Bright Futures. “Seeing all the kids excited to go back to school, getting supplies that they can’t afford. Their faces light up, especially the next day at school, showing off their new hair to their teachers and friends.”
There are several other projects the Bright Futures program carries out, including a Prom Event (students can acquire proper attire), H.E.R.O.E.S. (Helping Enrich Relationships and Overall Excellence of Students)(adult role models interact with high school kids), and the Snack Pantry (hygiene items or snacks are available to students during the school day). All are very successful programs.
Among the many projects they do, #My42 is one of importance. In this effort, volunteers give 42 of something each month.
“Forty-two minutes of your time, by volunteering, or snacks, school supplies, such as 42 pencils, or $42. We feel that this is a reasonable number for most people to give themselves to help kids in some way,” said Filer.
Yet another project of Bright Futures involves the blue barrels that are set up around the city of Harrisonville. The blue barrels present opportunities for people to give snacks, supplies, clothes, hygiene items, etc.
“We have blue barrels located at Commerce Bank, Country Club Bank, United Methodist Church, Cass County Public Library, district administrative office, Cornerstone Community Church, Nazarene Church, Community Bank of Harrisonville, Heartland Baptist Church, Crossroads Assembly, and all of the district schools,” said Jennifer Beavers, head of Bright Futures along with Filer.
The items collected in the barrels vary from month to month. This month snacks are being collected. In February, notes of encouragement for students preparing for big tests or busy times in school will be mustered.
Different items are requested all the time. In order for a student to request supplies, a teacher must contact Filer or Beavers and identify the need. If Bright Futures has the item(s) in stock, then the requested package will be sent to the teacher, but if not then Filer will post the need on Facebook, asking for the specific donations.
“We have dress attire for speech, debate, anything demanding professional dress,” said Filer.
In the month of January they had 18 needs met: six school supplies, five pieces of clothing, three shoes, two hygiene items, and two other/household items.
“January is one of our slow months. For example, this last August we gave away 1,080 items because of our Back to School project.”
Bright Futures establishes connections for success, and with the community’s help and determination, we can make the world a better place, starting with the small town of Harrisonville.