Frequently Asked Questions
What is Bright Futures? Bright Futures is a model of support and communication that allows communities and schools to identify student needs and match those needs with existing resources in the community.
Is Bright Futures another social services program? No. In fact the community leaders who have been a part of developing this program have worked hard to make sure it is not. Bright Futures is unique in that it does meet basic needs, but consists of an extensive service-learning component, which allows for the development of quality citizens and problem solvers.
How are kids needs met? Our goal is to meet any child’s basic needs within 24 hours of identification of that need. We have been highly successful in creating a rapid response system that, in most cases, meets that child’s need in minutes rather than the original 24-hour goal. In addition to matching local resources, we also utilize social networking.
Will parents who abuse the system now take advantage of the program? We can’t guarantee that won’t happen from time to time. However, what we have found is that because the referrals come from school staff in almost all cases, we have a good sense of what the real issues are with these families who need our support.
If you meet a child’s basic need today, what prevents that same issue from resurfacing again tomorrow? Fortunately we don’t just stop at meeting that child’s basic need. We engage the right community resources and ask the right questions so we can get a clear picture of the underlying issues and work diligently to fix the problem that created the situation resulting in our children’s needs not being met.
With so many of these kids come from difficult situations, how do you prevent the draining of community resources? The Bright Futures effort has energized the community and has uncovered new resources that didn’t previously exist. As one principal put it, “Money can’t buy what our kids need.” This is so true. What these kids need is relationships…and lots of them. By sharing the stories of our children, community members are stepping up in grand fashion to serve as positive role models for these kids in a variety of capacities.
How do you sustain such a massive initiative? If knowledge is power, Bright Futures will never run out of energy. It is a two-fold process. First we have engaged our community by providing in-depth training and exposure to the challenges and opportunities in our schools to our community leaders on a regular basis. This is crucial from a sustainability standpoint. Additionally, the service learning component teaches our children at a young age how to identify problems and provide solutions to those problems in order to grow proactive leaders who can carry on this effort.
How can I get involved? Contact the Joplin Schools at 417-625-5200 ext. 2031, or click here.