They have lived in a homeless shelter and dangerous transitional housing situations. With the support of Bright Beginnings, Naeema andZyan are finally transitioning into permanent housing.
We invite you to take a glimpseinto the role that Bright Beginnings plays in their lives.
Naeema recently moved in to her own apartment with Zyan after leaving an abusive relationship and living in a DC homeless shelter and transitional housing. Naeema says that in shelters, you have no privacy and people are stacked up like “crabs in a barrel.”
Naeema, a U.S. Navy veteran who served in Bahrain and Guam,prepares for work at Capital Hill Group Ministries where she helps homeless families find permanent housing and social services.
Zyan follows along to her favorite cartoon as Naeema prepares for the day ahead.
Naeema and Zyan walk four blocks to the bus stop. This will be the first of 8 buses for Naeema today.
They walk another 4 blocks and arrive at Bright Beginnings by 7:45 am.Naeema volunteered in Zyan’s class every day for months, embraced parent learning opportunities, and followed up on a lead she got from a Bright Beginnings social worker that led to permanent housing.
Naeema walks Zyan into her classroom before she leaves to catch 3 more buses to work. Teachers and socialworkers greet each child.
Zyan cries momentarily as Naeema leaves for work.
Zyan begins class at 9 a.m. with circle time. Bright Beginnings incorporates theHigh/Scope curriculum, helping homeless children ages 6 weeks to five years old prepare to meet important child development milestones.
High-quality early childhood developmental andfamily services enhance the lives and well-being of young homeless children and their parents.
Naeema walks to the next bus and catches a brief view of the Capitol.Washington, DC is home to more than 3,000 homeless people, which includes600 children under 5 years old. Homelessness can result from a job loss, illness or death in the family, domestic violence and many other factors.
Naeema has a brief moment of quiet before the switch to the third bus of the morning.
Naeema arrives at work early as usual. She has successfully found a safe homeand school for Zyan and uses her knowledge to help other people looking for permanent housing navigate through an often-times complicated process.
Naeema becomes emotional after a colleague relays how proud she is of her rise from living in a homeless shelter with then 9-month-old Zyan to findingpermanent housing and employment. She tells Naeema that she looks like an African Queen today.
Naeema explains that she lived in this building with Zyan where one neighbor dealt drugs while another ran a prostitution ring.
Naeema lived in this transitional housing apartment where people defecated in the hallways. She would climb 5 flights of stairs in the dark holding Zyan.
Back at Bright Beginnings, Zyan has a family-style, healthy lunch. BrightBeginnings addresses hunger and poor nutrition by providing well-balanced breakfasts, lunches and snacks.
High/Scope curriculum helps each child make progress on key developmental domains such as language, literacy, math, science, creative arts, and social emotional development, along with physical health.
Despite several moves from shelters and transitional housing,Naeema has ensured Zyan maintained perfect attendance. Bright Beginnings recognizes Zyan for this achievement.
At playtime, Zyan enjoys Ring Around the Rosie with classmates.Bright Beginnings promotes health for children and parents with wellness training and physical activity programs.
After a mishap on the playground, Zyan’s teacher walks her inside.
Zyan rests at nap time in the afternoon in the day program. If hermother needs to work late, Zyan can stay in Bright Beginnings’ Early Learning Evening Care until 11 p.m.
Twice a month, Naeema meets with her case worker from The CommunityPartnership for the Prevention of Homelessness, which provides support for individuals and families in transition.
Naeema discusses milestones achieved and any concerns regarding the transition into their new home with her caseworker.
Naeema’s apartment is inspected for safety, which includes a check of the fire alarm.
Naeema then takes another bus to pick up Zyan.
Naeema checks in at Bright Beginnings, located inside the Perry School, where security is always a priority.
Currently, Bright Beginnings serves nearly 150homeless children and their families each year.
Bright Beginnings has been an important family and anchor for Zyan and Naeema while they successfully transitioned into a permanent home.
More than 150 homeless children sit on thewaiting list because Bright Beginnings is filled to capacity.After completing a $5 million Capital Campaign,Bright Beginnings will expand to a second center in Ward 7 to address the needs of 100 more homeless children each year. Like Naeema and Zyan, they also deserve a Bright Beginning.
For more information about BrightBeginnings, please call Joan Woods orLatoyia Allen at 202.842.9090 and visit www.BrightBeginningsInc.org.