Bright Futures

Only six months since its official launch, Bright Futures Marion is already making an impact in helping meet the basic needs of children in the Marion community.

An affiliate of Bright Futures USA, Bright Futures Marion works to bring together community resources to tackle issues including food and housing insecurity, health care access, graduation rates, and more. Originally launched as an initiative of the Marion School District, the organization is now led by a board that includes members from throughout the community.

To date, Bright Futures Marion has held a belt drive, coordinated an adopt-a-family program, collected hats and scarves during the cold months, collected first-aid kits, held a leggings drive, and more. In one case, Bright Futures Marion posted a need on its Facebook page about needing a couch for a family moving from a hotel room to an apartment, and that need was met by a community member within an hour.

“There isn’t enough that can be said about the incredible response we have seen from our Marion community these past several months,” said Trisha Bloodworth of the Marion Chamber of Commerce, who was recently elected as the Bright Futures Marion chairperson. “We’ve always known we have an incredibly giving community, with many amazing outreach organizations. With Bright Futures Marion, we are working to help bring those resources together, to help ensure the children of our community have everything they need to learn and thrive.”

Bright Futures Marion bases its work on three foundational principles to support the growth and well-being of children in the community. First, the organization is creating communication and resource structures that will be able to meet any child’s basic needs within 24 hours. Second, the group is working to support local leadership and resource capacity to improve the problem-solving capabilities needed to address the greater challenges faced by today’s youth. And third, the organization will provide opportunities for young people to serve the community through curriculum-based, hands-on service experiences and grow generations of service-minded citizens.

Up next for Bright Futures Marion will be a Pickleball Mixer fundraising event, set for May 4 at the HCGC and Methodist Church gymnasiums. The cost is $50 per person, with proceeds benefitting Bright Futures Marion. To sign up for this event, visit this link:

To see some of the other projects Bright Futures Marion has completed, or for updates on other upcoming projects, be sure to check out Bright Futures Marion on Facebook.

In addition to Bloodworth, other Bright Futures Marion officers include Tawana Bailey of the East Arkansas Family Health Center, co-chair; Julie Coveny of the Marion School District, secretary; Ruth Hegwood-Mills of MSD, treasurer; Lisa O'Neal of Crye-Leike Real Estate and Beth Wilson of the city of Marion, fundraising co-chairs; and Andy Weld of MSD, public relations chair.

Other board members include Reagan Davis of Fenter Physical Therapy, Brandy Ivy of ASU Mid-South, Sarah Strauss of the Arkansas Department of Health, Latoya Beale of MSD, Mike Skelton of MSD, Rachael Vaughn of MSD, Melissa Kohl of MSD, Krystal Jackson of MSD, Shannan Henderson, parent/community member, Chester Witherspoon of Tabernacle Church of God, and Kathy Duncan, community member.