Bright Futures in need of donations
By Haley Schichtl
Berryville’s Bright Futures program is continuing to help students, but it is in need of clothing.
Mindy Hicks, coordinator of Bright Futures Berryville, said many events the program normally holds for collecting donations had to be canceled this year because of COVID-19.
“We usually try to do donations through an organized event, or we allow our churches, businesses and groups to collect and then donate to us,” Hicks said. “We don’t have volunteers on campus right now. … That way, we have limited people coming to campus to drop off or limited spots to collect from.”
Right now, Berryville schools are in need of coats or jackets, socks, tennis shoes, underwear, warm clothing such as leggings and sweatpants and Bobcat apparel. Coats are needed in all sizes, but middle and high school students tend to prefer jackets or hoodies rather than coats. The coats can be gently used but must be washed. The elementary school is in need of boys’ and girls’ socks, and grades 6-12 are mostly in need of boys’ socks. Sizes 4-12 boys’ and girls’ underwear are needed. Clothing and shoes are needed in all sizes, especially shoes.
“We give out shoes almost on a daily basis,” Hicks said. “Kids wear out shoes really quickly. It’s something that’s more difficult for parents to get and keep on their kids, especially when their feet are growing so quickly.”
She said they prefer to get new rather than used shoes so the kids get to have the experience of having their own new shoes and having them mold to their own feet.
People can also send money to the school district addressed to Mindy Hicks for Bright Futures, and if they want it to go toward a specific need, they should indicate what it is for.
Hicks said there is a site council leader in each building, and teachers will communicate with them to identify which students are in need, then they report to Bright Futures. Parents can also reach out to someone at the school if their child is in need.
“It’s best if they go through the teacher, or they can email me or the counselor, whoever they are comfortable with,” Hicks said.
Hicks said that although Bright Futures isn’t scheduling any events soon because of the pandemic, if there is a need for volunteers, she will make a post about it on the Bright Futures Berryville Facebook page or send an email to the district staff.
“We want to keep everyone safe, and right now we’re able to meet our kids’ needs with the methods we have,” Hicks said.
Students aren’t in need of school supplies this year because the district purchased them, but Bright Futures did collect backpacks and trapper-keepers and will need more for next year.
In addition to making sure students’ needs are met, Bright Futures also has a program called “Lunch Buddies,” though it is not active during the pandemic.
“We have community people come in and have lunch with students,” Hicks said. “They kind of develop a relationship… just to be a positive role model. We always get that approved by their parents and make sure the student is comfortable with that.”
She said the students look forward to seeing their Lunch Buddy either every week or every other week.
“That’s one of the things we’re missing the most,” she said.
Contact Hicks at MHicks@bobcat.k12.ar.us to find out where to bring donations.