A new form of virtual communication is available to parents and families in Longview and Beaumont to help with child development and education. Buckner Project HOPES is collaborating with Bright by Text, a texting platform that sends resources regarding child development and educational tools to parents. This system is especially beneficial during shelter-at-home measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Almost 20% of American children are living in poverty without access to proper education and resources. Without the accurate developmental education, children have a potential to become 25% more likely to drop out of school and 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime, according to Bright by Text.
Buckner is working with the platform to reduce these numbers by regularly sending text notifications with developmental information, learning resources and parenting tips, all targeted specifically for the age range of the children in a person’s household. Buckner Project HOPES, a local program that supports parents and promotes healthy families through encouragement and education, is serving as the gateway of messages for Longview, Texas and Beaumont, Texas. Texts are offered in both English and Spanish and help parents learn about topics such as nutrition, brain development, literacy and more.
“We are excited about expanding our audience with this system,” said Michelle Heflin, director of Project HOPES in Longview. “Bright by Text is allowing us to deliver age appropriate developmental information as well as local events for specified zip codes. The goal is to help the community learn what services are available to them and how they can get involved in programming and events.”
Bright by Text is proven to build nurturing caregiver-child relationships, and positively impact a child’s healthy development and school readiness. By age three, a child should know an average of 300 words. The games, tips and resources provided by the texting platform can help children achieve developmental milestones such as this during the most critical time of their brain growth.
An example educational text message: “Help your children learn to share. Sit and roll a ball back and forth to encourage playing nice with others.” At the conclusion of the message, there is a link to a webpage with more detailed information and tips on the topic mentioned in the text.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bright by Text is sharing resources with parents such as local diaper and food pantries, virtual clinics, virtual libraries and zoo safaris and more. With continuous efforts to serve vulnerable children and families through the pandemic, Buckner is able to help parents find opportunities such as these that are local to them.
“With virtual communication becoming the new normal, Bright by Text is further helping Buckner to serve its clients and the community during a time of uncertainty for many,” said Jeff Ross, director of Buckner Project HOPES and transitional services in Beaumont. “The platform is also allowing us to assure our clients we are still here for them and rooting for them.”
The new technology will also be used by Buckner Project HOPES to help raise awareness for National Child Abuse Awareness Month during April.
The #TexasKids Bright by Text initiative is spearheaded by The United Way of Texas and Texas PBS and is funded by the Department of Family and Protective Services. The system is free for all users, and as a member of the initiative, Buckner is encouraging everyone in Project HOPES and the community to enroll. To sign up, text BRIGHT to 274448 or visit its website.