Brighter Lives for Kids holds Morning Tea to benefit area students Nov. 16

The Brighter Lives for Kids Foundation will hold its second annual Morning Tea on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 9:30-11:30 a.m., at the Patterson Club in Fairfield. Tickets are $55.

Brighter Lives for Kids Foundation is a 501C3 non-profit organization committed to providing educational experiences and opportunities for children in Bridgeport, Conn. The foundation aims to enrich their education and further prepare them for future success by providing funding for basic school supplies, field trips, and extracurricular activities.

All proceeds raised at the Morning Tea, including $30 per ticket, will directly benefit elementary students at Cesar A, Batalla School. Funds raised at last year’s Tea helped send hundreds of students on field trips to Earthplace, Stepping Stones, as well as three TAG students to Washington, D.C. Further funding was allocated to classroom supplies, lockers, rugs, learning materials, and books.  

Tickets include tea, scones and other baked goods. In addition, the fundraiser will include a silent auction. Among the items auctioned will be large framed photographs of students participating in activities sponsored by Brighter Lives for Kids.

Fairfield resident Jimeale Hede is founder and president of Brighter Lives for Kids Foundation. She said it’s her hope is that attendees will get a real feel for the students of the school, and see how the foundation is helping the kids. By purchasing a photograph and donating it back to the school, Hede hopes to brighten and fill the hallways with the students’ smiling faces.  

Hede said she was inspired to start the foundation after volunteering in a classroom at Cesar A. Batalla. There, Hede was first struck by the lack of basic supplies,

“How can a child learn without essential tools? These elementary classrooms didn’t have scissors or pencils, and teachers were only allocated $24 to purchase a year’s worth of classroom items in a school where most children live far below the poverty line,” she said. “It was heartbreaking.”

With the help of friends, Hede quickly stocked classes with materials, but she realized that the need was much greater than simply providing pencils and paper, which led her to establish the foundation.

“These children need our help,” she said. “They need field trips, they need to experience the joy of reading and of owning their own books. They deserve the enrichment opportunities that spur excitement about learning. As a community we have an opportunity and an obligation to help these amazing children reach their full potential.”

Through the foundation, 500 stuffed backpacks were donated to students at Cesar A. Batalla at the start of both the 2015 and 2016 school years, and more than 500 pajamas and toys were distributed at Christmas time. Over the past two summers, a reading program staffed by volunteer tutors served 35 students. During the 2015-16 school year more than 350 students also enjoyed ‘Jay and Ray’ concerts. This fall, using foundation funding and book donations, a much-needed 6,000 book Early Childhood Library was established at Cesar A. Batalla School for students in pre-kindergarten through second grade. Another new venture this fall is the creation of an after-school soccer program, which serves 60 students twice a week.

Morning Tea tickets are available through Eventbrite through November 16 at bl4k.eventbrite.com.

There also are several ongoing Go Fund Me fundraisers that directly benefit current Brighter Lives programs, which can be found at www.gofundme.com/cbsoccer, www.gofundme.com/cbbooks, and gofundme.com/bpbooks

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