Bright Futures program helps student keep warm in extreme cold

Bright Futures program helps student keep warm in extreme cold

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Warming homes, hands and hearts in Poplar Bluff, Mo. through a school and community partnership now focusing on ways to meet needs in the wake of extreme cold weather.

Bright Futures was launched by the school district in October. It's a partnership, and according to coordinators, the only one of it's kind in eastern Missouri to bring schools, faith-based organizations, parents, students and businesses together to meet the needs of students. 

"We want to make sure they have what they need to get back to their education and when those essential every day needs are met that makes learning a lot easier and more productive," said Social Worker and Bright Futures Coordinator Carrie Booker. "Right now we have daily requests for coats and hats and gloves. At the end of November through a post on our facebook page a business stepped up to help a family who's home was damaged in a fire get the heat back on. Those things make a huge difference in the lives of a student when their life needs are in place." 

As those requests to help families and students and families stay warm in the cold weather come in, one class says they truly realize just how important a project they took on at Christmas turned out to be.

In Kristie Robinson's fourth grade class at Oak Grove Elementary, they decided instead of swapping Christmas gifts, they would take donations of warm hats, gloves, and other clothing for kids in the district in need. 

"This is such a giving class," said Mrs. Robinson. "And in these bitterly cold temperatures it makes a huge difference if they have those hats and gloves. We have a lot of students that need those items just because it's an extra expense the parents can't provide for whatever reason. The class took on this idea with lots of enthusiasm and some even used their own money to buy warm things." 

One of those students was Clara Ralmann.

"I brought a hat and a sweater and some other things," she said. "I probably spent about $30 but I wanted to do it. It made me feel good. It's better to give and be kind and helpful." 

"It was good to give to kids who really need it," said Kirstyn Millner, fourth grade student.

Her mother Jennifer is one of the designated class parents. She first approached Mrs. Robinson with the idea. 

"I watch the page and I see what the kids need and I just realize so many of them don't have that. For Kirstyn she's always wanted to give and at this age they need to understand the importance of giving," said Millner. "As a parent of five I would feel horrible if I couldn't provide for my kids."  

"She teaches me you don't want to be someone who just focuses on yourself you want to be someone who gives to others," said Kirstyn. 

The donations brought in hundreds of items that Bright Futures social workers and coordinators will help distribute where the need is greatest. 

"We put out a need or hear about a need on a facebook page and I'm surprised at sometimes with in minutes some church or organization or business or another parent steps up to provide. Just yesterday we were able to get glasses for a student that needed them. Families have all kinds of needs and it's so awesome to see people reach out so quickly," said Booker. 

To learn more about Bright Futures, you can click here to check out the Facebook page.

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