Making futures bright for local families
Bright Future Foundation seeks to help victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse with planned facility
Editors Note: This sponsored content is brought to you by Bright Future Foundation
Living in the Vail Valley, a place known for its natural splendor, playful amenities, and cultural enrichment, it can be easy to overlook members of the community who face real-world challenges such as those caused by domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Since 1984, Bright Future Foundation (BFF) has worked to confront these challenges by shining a light on the issues of domestic violence and sexual abuse — advocating for victims, providing safe housing options, and creating programs that empower young adults through education and mentorship.
“Bright Future Foundation seeks to prevail over domestic violence and sexual abuse through advocacy, empowerment and social change,” said Executive Director Sheri Mintz. “It is remarkable to see the power of the community coming together to heal survivors and the positive change that can be made in their lives as a result of these support systems.”
Currently, the Bright Future Foundation is looking to the future with the development of a permanent facility, the BrightHouse, for families affected of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Eagle County. The effort was launched with a $1 million lead gift by local supporter and BFF board member Doe Browning.
“As our community endeavors to provide affordable housing, Bright Future Foundation hopes to build a facility in the purest form for any and all who seek safety, counsel and healing in the wake of extraordinarily difficult circumstances,” Browning said. “The BrightHouse will bring dignity back to many who suffer, enabling them to live, work and play in our beautiful valley with trust and without fear.”
Freedom Ranch Safehouse
BFF currently operates a safehouse for victims and their families in Eagle County, but the lease has expired and will not be renewed by the federal government. Thus, the planned BrightHouse will provide a resource center and emergency housing solution for those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.
As the first and only emergency shelter in Eagle County, Freedom Ranch Safehouse has been essential to the safety of the community and a vital component in BFF’s crisis response. This current facility provides victims with the ability to leave an abusive situation and protect their children from witnessing or experiencing further abuse while remaining within the community.
BFF can house a maximum of 21 survivors, who are able to reside at the shelter for up to 45 days. During that time, they work closely with their advocate to determine a safe exit plan following their stay at Freedom Ranch.
To learn more about Bright Future Foundation, visit the organization’s website at http://www.mybrightfuture.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocates ensuring freedom
As Eagle County’s only community-based victim service agency, BFF provides exemplary programs that offer a pathway to safety and security for survivors and their families. BFF advocates, clinical psychologist, family law attorney and housing specialists assist individuals and families through a holistic case management framework. Survivors are offered all necessary services under the umbrella of one organization.
Meanwhile, BFF’s 24-Hour Crisis Hotline serves as a confidential safety net for individuals in the community to call for support and resources. The hotline operates 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and is manned by trained staff and volunteers. Advocates provide compassionate support in English or Spanish for survivors of violence. This is often the first step individuals take in changing their lives.
Youth violence prevention
BFF has prioritized prevention programming to create lasting change with a goal of eliminating violence in the community. The organization’s youth programs empower Eagle County’s young adults through education, advocacy, and mentorship.
In the past 10 years, these prevention programs have expanded to include EmpowHERment/EmpowerMENt, Ensuring Safety and Hot Spot Mapping, as well as advocacy and counseling for youth impacted by violence. BFF’s violence prevention groups are changing social norms by engaging youth, teachers, and families in awareness efforts and prevention.
The programs, which have grown steadily to reach 450 students at five middle schools across Eagle County, create a greater awareness of others, which in turn creates an increase in acceptance, empathy, and camaraderie.
“This growth is a direct reflection of what can happen when students are given space to discuss challenging, emotional and sometimes-personal subjects within a supportive and genuine environment,” Mintz said.
One-on-one mentoring continues to be an effective means of mitigating risks for adolescent youth. Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them and assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges.
For over 35 years, Bright Future Foundation’s Buddy Mentors Program has served youth in Eagle County who are in need of a caring, supportive adult role model.
“Our goal of maintaining more than 40 matched pairs of mentors and mentees holds steady and is strengthened by the fact that our mentors and families experience shared ownership and connection to the program and our organization,” Mintz said.
Gov. Jared Polis has lauded Summit County’s health care purchasing collaborative as a “transformative” step toward lowering the cost of health care. Officials in Eagle County are now hoping they can adopt a similar model for residents here.