East Newton School District’s Bright Futures program organizers invited local business leaders, community leaders, parents and faith-based leaders to a dinner Thursday night to learn about the new program.

“Our goal was that hopefully (those invited to attend) will leave here and start spreading that word,” said Monty Pugh-Towe, chairperson with the Bright Futures advisory board at the East Newton R-6 School District.

Bright Futures is a framework of support and communication that allows communities and schools to identify student needs and match those needs with existing recourses in the community. According to information provided, “when students’ basic needs are met, they are better able to focus on education and achievement. When kids succeed, communities flourish.”

Around 100 people attended the event, which was held at the East Newton High School’s cafeteria.

East Newton’s Bright Futures program began late last year.

“Tammy (Yost, who works in the school district’s central office) heard about Bright Futures last school year,” Pugh-Towe said. “It was approved toward the end of the school year. Once it was approved, Tammy started sending out request for people who would like to be on the advisory board.”

In the past, Pugh-Towe said, teachers and the school’s staff have helped children with their needs, such as school supplies and other items.

“They are limited, they have got limited budgets, they have got limited amount of money, and they have got a limited amount of time,” he said. “The community, we have that time. We have those facilities, we have the time, talent and treasure.  We ask for the time for volunteers, we ask for the talent, some of the talent is volunteer: the tutoring, the reading and the service learning projects and that is something that we will have to build, we just can’t do that fast. We are the communications framework, we get that information out there, the community brings that time, talent and treasure (school supplies, clothing, food donations, etc.) back to the schools, which allows the schools to then meet the needs of the students.”

Throughout the program, Pugh-Towe mentioned to “like” them on their Facebook page (search for Bright Futures of East Newton on Facebook).

“We are the modern phone tree,” he said.

“Our main thing has been Facebook, if we get a need, we post it on Facebook and we are working on connecting that to Twitter.”

Once they get that from Twitter and Facebook, they can build an email bank, where they can use that bank as well.

Thus far, the program has helped students with school supplies, and other needs.

For more information, please contact 472-6231.