Janine's Season of Giving Campaign
A FUNDRAISER ON BEHALF OF BRIGHT BLESSINGS
As far back as I can remember I have always been passionate about helping other people especially those who are most vulnerable. Shortly after moving to Charlotte, I signed-up for a community impact session at Bright Blessings. After learning about the amazing program of services offered by the organization, I felt a strong desire to want to do more to support their mission of bringing joy, care and hope to homeless and impoverished children. Within a month, I became a regular volunteer and was preparing birthday packages for children living in shelters. My involvement with Bright Blessings continued to evolve with each new opportunity presented. I took on the role of Volunteer Coordinator for Turning Point, a partnership shelter for women and children affected by domestic violence. For two years, I have coordinated Adopt-a-Party groups for the shelter. This opportunity enabled me to see firsthand the generosity of volunteers and what they are willing to do to brighten the lives of needy children.
The testimonials and expressions of gratitude from some of the children we have served through the Adopt-a-Parties have tugged at my heartstrings. The first time I actually had to hold back my tears at one of the parties was last October. We had an amazing group of volunteers who planned a themed birthday party which included two lovely Princesses and a Super Hero. A young girl at the party asked Princess Elsa if she could sing, “Let It Go.” Well I thought, “Oh my, this little girl is going to know this is not the real Princess Elsa.” I was starting to anticipate the worst. Then suddenly, Princess Elsa raised her hands to form a circle with the young girls in the room and started to sing. With such joy, the girls sang along and danced with Princess Elsa. This moment was absolutely priceless. I am forever grateful to our wonderful Adopt-a-Party Group for making this an incredibly special night. There are countless stories like the one I just mentioned that are made possible through the generosity of our volunteers. It is amazing to be surrounded by people who want to make this world a better place, even if it is just for one single night.
In January 2017, I accepted the responsibility of overseeing the Bless-a-Baby Program. The fact that there are babies being born into homelessness is a harsh reality. Bright Blessings is fortunate enough to have the resources to help single, pregnant adolescents and young women who are homeless. Recently, I attended a graduation ceremony for those children we have served through one of our partner agencies, Care Ring. One of the first-time moms expressed her appreciation for the many items Bright Blessings provided over the course of 2 ½ years. It’s an incredible experience having the opportunity to support other agencies in their endeavors to help first-time moms with limited resources meet with success. I was personally touched by her sentiments. Again, this is only made possible by the support of volunteers and generous donations.
At the start of the school year, I transitioned into a new role as the Student Services Program Manager. This program is near and dear to my heart because I was an educator for 23 years in an urban district. I understand the struggles homeless and transient students encounter. In this capacity, I have been focused on coordinating efforts with the local schools to bring Gifts of Care, Gifts of Literacy and Blessing Birthday Bags to this population. The birthday bags are filled with not only gifts, but essential items that are needed by these children such as: blankets, pillows, hygiene kits, and snack bags. Knowing how important it is to keep a child’s spirit alive and full of hope for the future, my campaign is to ask my friends to generously donate and support the families we service. Your donation will go a long way to support a child in need.
About Bright Blessings
90% of every dollar goes directly into Bright Blessings' programs. Thanks to the generosity and caring of our volunteers and donors just like you, we will help provide joy, care, and hope to more than 10,000 homeless and impoverished children this year.
Bright Blessings first began in 2005 as a monthly birthday program for children staying at the Salvation Army Center of Hope in Charlotte, North Carolina. The organization's founders, John and Amy Cervantes, wanted to help brighten the lives of needy children while also instilling a love and commitment for community service in their own young children. For nearly three years, the Cervantes family threw birthday celebrations every month for hundreds of homeless children at the Center, adding educational and enrichment activities to their program and also providing the kids with gifts, new books and basic care essentials.
In March of 2008, the family decided to incorporate their program as a not-for-profit charity with a twofold mission of engaging volunteers of all ages to help brighten the lives of needy children across the greater Charlotte metro area. Today, Bright Blessings remains a volunteer-led organization that will impact more than 10,000 homeless and impoverished children this year through its core programs, Bless-A-Birthday, Bless-A-Baby, Gift of Literacy and Gift of Care.