DALLAS — Federal assistance programs currently don’t help mothers in poverty pay for diapers. Babies require several diaper changes a day, and it is a burden for many low-income families.
A nonprofit in northeast Dallas, Bright Futures, formerly known as Pamper Lake Highlands, not only provides the mothers the products they need for their babies, but also guides them on a path out of poverty. Founder Caren Bright said she started the program after seeing the drastic need for women and their children to have better lives, but having no way to create them.
“Women are barely being able to afford the bills and pay for groceries. They had to choose between diapers and providing the basic necessities for their families,” Bright said. "We would give out diapers every year, and women would come to this big event and I would ask them ‘if you had free preschool and if you had the support needed, would you take GED, English as a Second Language, counseling?’ And 100% of women said yes. So that's when I began building Bright Futures.”
Bright said she knows firsthand the struggles of living in poverty. She has overcome homelessness, domestic abuse, and extreme poverty and is now sharing what she’s learned with the women who join Bright Futures.
"We do that dual generational approach where we provide these programs for the mothers and their children simultaneously. Which then elevates the family, both generations, at one time. And the other piece is that we don't just provide like content programs like GED and ESL. We do provide those, but the end goal is to put them in our Bright Futures Personal Empowerment Program, which then gives them the tools like visioning and goal setting and time management, communication skills. So they're not just going to obtain a minimum wage job at the end, but actually create the step and pathway to a great future for themselves and their children.”
Mothers Eloisa Pomposo and Dulce Serrano have been receiving items like diapers, baby wipes, clothes and food from Bright Futures on a weekly basis, and are fulfilling the educational requirement in order to receive the products. Pomposo, who is working on her English through the nonprofit, is nearly ready to take the real GED test, and from there, hopes to work in the technology field.
"Because this program, it changed my life. Before I start come[sic] this program, I feel shy when I went to any place to speak English. Now I feel more confident and it’s helped a lot,” Pomposo said. "Before, I had to wait a long time for a translator. I couldn't participate in[sic] my children at school. Now, I am a volunteer.”
Serrano said she feels more comfortable speaking English thanks to Bright Futures. She said receiving the products has helped her family out a lot during the pandemic.
"I can go to the store. I can go to the restaurant. I can go anywhere, and I can speak English,” Serrano said. "They’re helping me because they provide diapers. They provide English education for me, education for my kids. Her program changed not only my life, changed a lot of life[sic]. A lot of womans[sic] can speak English now.”
Bright said seeing the changes made in these women’s lives in the seven years she’s run the nonprofit has been incredible.
“To watch the growth from standing on a street corner handing out diapers, that's how I started, to now where we are, and we're watching women and their children be so greatly impacted. Their children are going into kindergarten ready, beyond ready. The women are not only — now they know language or they've obtained GEDs, but they actually have gone on to get college scholarships and really make careers for themselves and their families.”
Bright Futures accepts donations of diapers, baby wipes, and food Friday mornings at Highland Oaks Church of Christ. You can also make monetary donations to the nonprofit here.
If you live elsewhere in Texas and need resources, here are a list of diaper banks that may be able to assist you:
- Austin – Austin Diaper Bank
- Dallas – Hope Supply Co.
- Dallas – North Dallas Shared Ministries
- Fort Worth – Junior League of Fort Worth Diaper Bank
- Galveston – Galveston Diaper Bank
- Houston – Houston Diaper Bank
- McKinney – Baby Booties Diaper Bank
- Richmond – Fort Bend Diaper Bank
- San Antonio – Texas Diaper Bank
- Waco – Waco Diaper Bank