The mission of A Brighter Community, Inc. (ABC) is to create a brighter future for at risk children by building a foundation of support through education and quality programming.
More than just childcare, A Brighter Community (ABC) has been a neighborhood resource for more than 90 years; in fact, it is the oldest non-profit preschool still running in the Tampa area. A Brighter Community, Inc. was founded on March 2, 1922 when the United Way was known as the Community Chest. At the time, the school was known as the Tampa Day Nursery. The original location was 604 Morgan Street in downtown Tampa. The original funders are well known in Tampa’s history, J.A. Epps and J.G. Bedingfield. The trustees at the time were James W Morris, Jr. James Hadly, E. H. Robinson, W. Raleigh Petteway and Howard P. Macfarlane. The governance of Tampa Day Nursery was handled by a board of six women – all members of the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement: Etta Mendenhall, Lottie Smith, Lena Shackleford, Mrs. Mellvaine, and Josephine Houston. Ms. Houston, later to be known as “Mama” Houston, became the face of the organization.
The Women’s Christian Temperance Movement saw a need for a daycare and school that provided economical childcare (and now preschool) for hard working, lower income families. The school’s mission has changed very little, helping those who are willing to help themselves. Over the years, ABC has provided service to over 9,000 children and families. More recently, over 3,000 children have been prepared for Kindergarten.
In the late 1920s, Tampa Day Nursery moved from Downtown Tampa to Henderson Avenue in Tampa Heights. It remained at this location until 1950 when the Tampa Rotary Club purchased an adjacent home on Marion Street allowing the nursery to expand its enrollment. Our existing location remains at 1613 N Marion Street just north of Downtown Tampa in Tampa Heights. On June 8, 1978, the center’s name was officially changed to Bright Horizons of Tampa Bay, Inc. On October 15, 1998, the name was officially changed to its current name, A Brighter Community, Inc.
ABC is a United Way supported and a nationally accredited preschool and family support center serving economically and environmentally at risk children, ages 3 – 5 years. We provide our students Preschool, Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten and Developmental Evaluation Programming. Through community collaborations A Brighter Community offers access to speech, occupational and physical therapy along with mental health counseling to our students. The family support program enables our staff to provide services to our families providing resources such as financial literacy, diet and nutrition and parenting classes as well as referral information and assistance in housing, employment, education, transportation and holiday assistance.
ABC has been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children since 1995. ABC has re-certified through NAEYC through 2017. NAEYC is a rigorous voluntary national accreditation process for quality early childhood programs. Its purpose is to improve the quality of care and education provided for young children.
A Brighter Community is a School Readiness provider and participates in Quality Counts for Kids, a voluntary continuous quality improvement program sponsored and funded by the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County. ABC is a member of the Early Childhood Council of Hillsborough County, the Early Childhood Professional Development Collaborative, and the Tampa Preschool Partnership for Language and Literacy Acquisition, and is an active partner in the Hillsborough County Infant Mental Health Initiative.
We serve 3, 4, and 5 year-old children who are at-risk for school failure and have developmental delays due to the effects of poverty. The parents and caregivers of these children are faced with challenges of housing, employment and nutrition, as well as meeting the daily needs of their children. The program provides support to approximately 125 families annually whose average income is well below the national guidelines for poverty. Our comprehensive program not only provides a high-quality learning environment, but healthy meals and access to medical and dental professionals. Parents must be working, going to school or in a job training program for their child to receive services at A Brighter Community. Fees are calculated on a sliding scale based on total family income and the number of people who live in the household. Each family at our center qualifies for our family support program, which consists of monthly parent meetings where speakers provide information on various topics such as financial literacy, health and nutrition, and positive parent involvement techniques.