Bright Futures of Neosho has a new home.

From 7 to 8:30 a.m. Thursday, the community was invited to the center’s open house. The center is located at 115 W. Brook St., Neosho.

“We are super excited to have our own location,” said Barb Lake, coordinator of Bright Futures of Neosho. “To be able to have items, to store items, it helps with our goal of meeting a need within 24 hours to help. And then to actually have a physical place, where the community can come and since it is a community program, it involves us all, we want everyone to feel connected and feel involved.”

The center currently has clothing items such as shoes, socks, hygiene products and other items, for pre-kindergarten to high school students in the Neosho R-5 School District.

“Bright Futures is a community program to help meet student needs,” she said. “And a lot of kids come to school and they may have a hindrance from learning because they need a proper pair of shoes or they didn’t get enough food over the weekend so they are hungry. So we provide backpacks of food for kids over the weekend. About 225 kids receive (backpacks) every weekend.”

Bright Futures of Neosho is in its third year in the school district. They officially opened at their location a week before the current school year.

“If a counselor or teacher calls us and a student needs shoes, we find that in the community and provide that for student,” Lake said. “The ultimate goal is to help kids succeed and graduate school. If we can help get rid of those hindrances, then they can be successful.”

Prior to the center opening, items were stored in a storage unit.

“I think that the central office gives us the ability to sort this inventory for us to have a place where people in the community and the school district can come together,” Bright Futures board member Tim Mitchell said. “Before we had them (supplies) in a storage building, we would go out to the storage building and try to find these products.”

Asked how well the community has come together to help with Bright Futures, Lake stated a great response.

“An overwhelming response,” she said. “This community has embraced Bright Futures since day one and that is why it is so successful, it is because of our community that has wrapped their arms around all of our kids.”

When asked what they were needing in the near future for items, Lake said, “winter is right around the corner, so we are definitely going to be needing coats, jeans of all sizes, shoes, adult size socks. New or gently worn (items).”

For more information, call Bright Futures of Neosho at 451-8600 ext. 1163.

“I think that Bright Futures is a great program,” said Mitchell. “It is all about the kids.”