The concept is a simple yet powerful one: pool together the community’s resources and people to help children.

The first big step toward making that a reality happens Thursday, Jan. 18, as Bright Futures hosts its kickoff at the Melba Theatre in downtown Houston. The 5:30 p.m. event is free and open to the public.

Behind the motto, “Every Child Needs A Champion,” the organization works directly with the Houston School District to meet the needs of students.

“Our children are our greatest gift and asset. It’s our duty to care and provide for them to set them up for the best future possible,” said Houston Herald editor Jeff McNiell, a member of the Bright Futures Houston board. “We have an amazing community full of amazing people. Many of them, like myself, want to help but don’t always know how. Bright Futures exists to help connect them with opportunities to do that.”

Bright Futures uses a framework to bring together businesses, human services agencies, faith-based organizations, parent groups and individuals to help kids succeed. The goal is to identify and meet any child’s basic needs –– from a pair of shoes and clothing to school supplies, food and any other need –– within 24 hours. Mentorship programs will also be established.

At the kickoff event, businesses and individuals will hear the vision for the program, specific needs of Houston school children, success stories from another Bright Futures community and how to get connected to help. There will be an opportunity to give to the organization, purchase T-shirts for support and sign up for the email blast that will share student needs as they arise.

The program is expected to last less than one hour.

For more information about the event or Bright Futures, search for “Bright Futures Houston” on Facebook or contact McNiell at 417-260-4343.

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