Aug 23, 2021
Bright Beginnings is so much more than a beautiful and inviting space for a first-rate day care center. It is a nonprofit organization founded 30 years ago to provide evidence-based education, therapeutic and social services to children and parents who are experiencing homelessness. And it is based in Washington DC’s Ward 8, an historically Black and underinvested community that is now leading its own renaissance. Dr. Marla Dean, an exceptional educator, leads Bright Beginnings with a two-generation approach to breaking the cycle of poverty. It starts with caring for children from birth to 5 years old in ways that enable them to meet developmental milestones in a safe environment. The care extends to parents, giving them specialized support and resources. You can imagine how essential this connection is when parents, largely women, are raising children while homeless. Now they are working in frontline jobs, from hospitals to grocery stores during a pandemic. Dr. Dean and her team are also policy advocates, working to dismantle broken systems, enact progressive legislation, and empower parents to be a part of the journey. This is hard and often unseen work that should be celebrated.