First Bright Space Developed to Give Children Living With Substance Abuse a Dedicated Play and Learning Environment
Nicasa, Abbott and Bright Horizons Support Children of Mothers with Substance Abuse Problems ;
North Chicago, Illinois,– Several local government officials and members of the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, Nicasa and Abbott, today cut ribbons to officially open North Chicago’s first Bright Space for children of women with substance abuse problems at Nicasa’s Women’s Services. Bright Spaces are designed to provide children, many of whom are homeless, with a dedicated, enriching area to play and learn.
“We are very pleased to have the Bright Spaces program at our Women’s Services Center in North Chicago. The Bright Space will help children of women with substance abuse problems thrive. I cannot thank Abbott enough for funding the Bright Space at Women’s Services as well as the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children for supporting the Bright Space,” said Bruce Johnson, Nicasa’s chief operating officer.
Bright Spaces Enable Children to Discover the Magic of Childhood
Studies have shown that children of all ages thrive when they have a safe place in which to explore the world around them, filled with books, toys and activities that are developmentally appropriate. However, often the reality for children living in substance abusing households is that they do not have access to the space and equipment necessary to develop social, cognitive, gross motor and language skills, which are so critical for success later in life.
The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, the nonprofit organization of Bright Horizons Family Solutions, the leading provider of employer-sponsored child care, early education, and work/life solutions, established the Bright Spaces program to create appropriate play and learning areas for children of all ages living in homeless shelters and other agencies.
In a Bright Space, the well-worn children’s space in many agencies is transformed by a team of early education and design professionals to create a warm, inviting area where children living in crisis situations can simply be children.
Curtains are put up, cozy nooks are strategically placed around the room to give children of all ages a comfortable place to explore, and shelves overflow with award-winning children’s books, educational toys and games and soft toys. Dramatic play areas are set up so children can act out their fantasies and learn to socialize with their peers. Each Bright Space is designed specifically for the individual program by early education professionals from Bright Horizons, who create the Bright Space to help meet the needs of the children at the facility. Abbott offers full-service child care for its employees through a child care center that is managed by Bright Horizons Family Solutions.
“We are inspired and energized by this partnership with Abbott Fund and Nicasa to provide engaging and educational places for children to play, learn, and find security and warmth. It is our mission to raise the bar for the quality of care and early education for young children across this country, and this partnership ensures that children in need in North Chicago get an early start and opportunity to begin a never-ending journey of success in school and life,” said Jim Greenman, Senior Vice President of Education, Bright Horizons Family Solutions, and Board Chair, Bright Horizons Foundation for Children.
“Abbott is proud to partner with Nicasa and Bright Horizons to create Lake County’s first Bright Spaces center to provide children with a better opportunity,” said Jim Coppens, divisional vice president, Abbott. “As we celebrate the sixth anniversary of our child care center, we are proud to support programs designed to improve the lives of children in the community.”
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