This week I would like to stray away from all of the disheartening news being reported throughout the county and use my column to talk about a very positive program that will be going into effect soon. It is a program which has the capacity to change Troy and hopefully the entire county for the better.
Bright Futures is a program that was started in Joplin in 2010 when the Joplin School Board confronted their Superintendent, Dr. CJ Huff, about the schools growing dropout problem. Rather than just tackling the dropout problem Dr. Huff thought the most appropriate approach would deal with the whole community. Therefore, he developed Bright Futures, an innovative way for the entire community to resolve specific issues that may be affecting local students. These issues can range from a student needing shoes or clothing to mentoring and tutoring.
Bright Futures makes great use of social networking by effectively connecting individuals, businesses, human service agencies, faith based organizations and parent groups to schools participating in the program. These groups can then work together as a single unit to ensure that the needs of youth in their community are met.
At the Lincoln County R-III School Board meeting held Tuesday, September 17, local resident and R-III parent, Tracie Hulbert, was able to display the fruits of her labor as she presented her plan for incorporating Bright Futures into the Lincoln County R-III School District. As I watched and heard Tracie speak of the program and of the successes the program has had in other communities, I could not help but contemplate what a perfect fit Bright Futures would be for our community. After hearing about the success of Bright Futures in other communities, the Lincoln County R-III School Board voted unanimously to accept the Bright Futures Program. There are already so many individuals and organizations working together to make our community a better place and Bright Futures will allow all of these different pieces to come together to work as a cohesive machine.
I hope all the school districts in Lincoln County will be able to see the benefits of a program like Bright Futures and be able to implement a similar plan, if not the same plan. After hearing Tracie’s presentation at the last R-III Board meeting, Superintendent Mark Penny mentioned the fact that there may be a Bright Futures Lincoln County in the works which would include all four school districts. This joint effort would not only allow all the districts to bring their resources together, but also the entire county to come together to provide resources to students in need. If Bright Futures sounds like a program you would like to see in your area or something you would like to be involved in go to.
Bright Futures has the ability to forever change and improve our community in a way not yet seen. I greatly encourage anybody looking to get involved to do so. The youth of our county are the future of our county and with our guidance and help through Bright Futures they just might amaze us with their ability to continue making Lincoln County a wonderful place to call home.