In This Issue:
Our Bright Beginnings family and new friends as well have pulled together in the last few months to celebrate the life and impact of the late Jeff Keffer. He cared so much for the children and families at Bright Beginnings and his service on our board of directors and in so many other ways was both palpable and contagious. Jeff ably served on our Board of Directors from 1998-2005 and led our board as President in 2002. He was instrumental in launching and leading our strategic planning effort, which both structured the Board’s dreams for our future and led to a concrete effort to search for a second center location as well as launch an evening care program.
More than 100 of Jeff's friends and family have made a donation in his memory since his untimely death in January. We thank Elizabeth Keffer and their children for the very thoughtful way she has shared Jeff's commitment to Bright Beginnings with their network of family and friends. We truly appreciate their generosity for our children and families and your gifts in memory of our dear friend.
Even as I am writing about Jeff and remembering so many things, I can see such a clear picture of the way Jeff would have participated in our Read Across America challenge this month. I can see the faces he would have made to make the children laugh and the sound effects he would have used to bring classic Dr. Seuss books to life. I ask all of you to sign up to read to our children this month — and help us meet an aggressive goal to read 400 books to our infants, toddlers and preschoolers as we also celebrate Jeff’s enthusiastic support for our children and families throughout the month of March.
Dr. Betty Jo Gaines
P.S. Please watch our website in the next few weeks for a permanent page in memory of Jeff Keffer, where friends and family can leave their tributes and memories.
Kaiser’s Eat Right, Live Well program: Moving in the right direction!
Bright Beginnings’ Eat Right, Live Well program, generously funded by Kaiser Permanente, brought realistic and manageable healthy living strategies to homeless families and the message that every family can eat right and live well. Since healthy parents raise healthy children, Eat Right, Live Well shared simple strategies for eating better, exercising more and understanding the nutritional content and health benefits of foods.
As a result of Eat Right, Live Well, homeless parents developed a greater awareness of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables and low-sodium foods, as well as health challenges facing African Americans that can be minimized by healthier eating. Our nutrition and food education activities were geared to meet the budgets and lifestyles of homeless parents. Our trips to grocery stores frequented by parents, such as Safeway and Giant, and our food label training, helped our families to develop greater proficiency in understanding quantities and prices and checking sodium and fiber content.
Eat Right, Live Well, which was launched in January 2010, engaged 50 parents and 125 children in numerous activities that emphasized healthy foods, a nourishing diet and physical activity. A full year of Eat Right, Live Well activities included a daily health survey, nutrition education, food/nutrition demonstrations for adults and children, a walking club, walking-oriented field trips, 2 fitness and health expos, grocery store trips, health forums and coordination with healthcare, nutrition and fitness partners to bring onsite. Our December 2010 fitness expo exposed parents to a variety of health, fitness and nutrition partners from our community and included accessible exercise strategies using household items that can be found at home, such as laundry detergent, as weights or resistance/toning equipment. See our picture album from the Eat Right Live Well Adult Fitness Day!
Thank you Kaiser Permanente for supporting this valuable program!
Hope. A group of friends. Compassion and action for the most needy among us. When you add up all that, you get Hope Rising and a party with a purpose with a group of friends who truly make a difference.
Bright Beginnings was the very proud beneficiary of Hope Rising's annual Celebrate Hope VII fundraiser on February 26 which raised more than $35,000. Event proceeds will directly benefit homeless families with young children in Washington, DC. [link to event album]
Hope Rising is a nonprofit established in 2003 in Washington, DC to help those in need and to make our city a better place. This special group of friends plans and supports social events that raise funds and awareness for area charities, aiding them in providing services for others.
To date, Hope Rising has raised more than $350,000 for local District of Columbia charities that help the underserved.
Hope Rising's purpose statement says it all: "It's sometimes easy to adopt a cynical approach to the world, but there are so many reasons for hope. We, the members of Hope Rising, believe that in a small way, our efforts to raise money for great causes through celebrations of hope will encourage and support those who are doing the incredibly important and difficult work: helping our neighbors in the greatest need."