Bushwick Family Shelter Receives Renovations thanks to Bright Horizons Foundation for Children and NBC’s TODAY Show

The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children® partnered with NBC’s TODAY on their Shine a Light Series, a year-long initiative focused on service and giving back to the community. Alongside TODAY host Willie Geist, the Foundation, with the support of Bright Horizons Family Solutions and other businesses created a Bright Space® at the Bushwick Family Residence in Brooklyn, New York.

When choosing to focus his Shine a Light Project on homeless children, Geist said, “For many people, homelessness might call to mind the image of a man with a makeshift cardboard sign approaching cars on a highway exit, or of a woman sleeping in the cold over a subway grate. The truth is that homelessness is a family problem. A child should have a safe, clean place to eat, to study, and to play. I want to help one shelter go above and beyond to give kids a real sense of “home” for as long as they need to be there.” 

“We are so honored to be working on this project, that we believe will bring tremendous visibility to the challenges and struggles faced by the 2.5 million homeless children living in the United States,” said Bright Horizons Foundation for Children President Mark Mendel.  “Our dream is for each Bright Space that we create in homeless shelters to be a place where children can experience the joy of childhood and families can gain strength and well-being.  We applaud Willie for bringing attention to such an important issue and look forward to creating a much-needed special place for the children of the Bushwick Family Residence.” 

The Bushwick Family Residence is a transitional shelter for families, operated by Volunteers of America-Greater New York. The 87 families who live at the shelter receive a wide range of services to help them obtain permanent housing and achieve independence.

“We are truly delighted to be partnering with the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children on this transformative project,” said Tere Pettitt, President and CEO of Volunteers of America-Greater New York. “For the children in our shelters, life is often filled with uncertainty,” Ms. Pettitt continued. 

“At VOA-GNY, we try our best to restore some of the normalcy of childhood – whether it’s celebrating birthdays with a party, cake and presents, outfitting students with new, filled backpacks for the first day of school or providing a safe, new Bright Space in which our children can play, explore their creativity and share quality time with their families.”

The project was announced on TODAY on November 20, 2014.  Over the following weeks, the Foundation and its volunteers worked alongside Geist, interior designer Elaine Griffin, Home Depot, the Treehouse Brothers, Pottery Barn Kids and a host of retailers and craftspeople to reimagine the playroom and ignite the imaginations of the more than 100 children who live at the shelter.