Save the Date: 20th Anniversary Goodnight Moon Gala on Nov. 14

Gala Save the Date Bright Buzz 05-2015Mark your calendar for the celebration of a milestone! For 20 years Bright by Three (formerly Bright Beginnings) has been helping parents and other loving caregivers of children aged 0-3. That makes this year’s 20th Anniversary Goodnight Moon Gala more special than ever.

We invite you to participate in a festive evening with donors, volunteers, partners and colleagues who have played an important role in the growth and development of Bright by Three since our founding in 1995.

This year’s event will take place on Saturday, November 14 at the Seawell Grand Ballroom. An evening featuring very special honorees Dr. Steve Berman and Dr. Christopher Ott will celebrate the past, present and future of Bright by Three.

Entertainment will be provided by the live band HomeSlice and the event will be emceed by Emmy award-winning journalist and CBS4 News anchor Jim Benemann.

Saturday, November 14, 2015
6:30-7:30 Cocktails and Silent Auction
7:30-9:00 Dinner and Live Auction
9:00-11:00 Dessert and dancing

Seawell Grand Ballroom
Denver Center for the Performing Arts
511 16th Street | Denver, CO 80202

RSVP and learn more at


Bright by Three Presenting at RMECC: Using Technology to Improve Caregiver-Child Engagement in Early Childhood

RMECC for Bright Bulletin

Bright by Three is presenting at the annual Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference Friday, April 17, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

Christopher Price, Vice President & COO, and Tresne Hernandez, Director of Program & Evaluations, will discuss how Bright by Three has used technology to improve caregiver-child engagement in early childhood, focusing on our Bright by Text and Colorado Talks Back programs.

Since Bright by Three was founded as Bright Beginnings in 1995, three things stand out:

  1. People increasingly choose to communicate via technology
  2. Research has further confirmed the critical importance of the first three years of life
  3. The essential role of parents and caregivers in a child’s development impacts language acquisition and overall health, which can lead to gaps in school readiness

While Bright by Three will continue to offer our traditional visitation program, we have evolved to serve even more families and improve outcomes for children. Bright by Three has integrated a new texting platform and LENA (“word pedometer”) technology into our program offerings.

The in-person home and group visits and the hands-on support for families provided by our volunteers and partners is critical. We know technology can greatly enhance our efforts to reach parents and caregivers of very young children.

Nearly 90% of adults have a cell phone, and 98% of cell-phone users can access text messages. And text messages are opened 95% of the time. That means by sending tips that are timely and targeted to a child’s age, as well as the caregiver’s needs and profile, Bright by Three can greatly increase exposure to our positive parenting messages. Particularly for harder-to-reach populations, text messaging holds promise.

To learn more, join us for Bright by Three’s presentation on Friday, April 17 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m at the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference or contact Tresne Hernandez at

April 17 Open House: A Celebration of Our Partners & Volunteers

Open House for Bright BulletinJoin Bright by Three on Friday, April 17, for an Open House happy hour from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at our new location on the Clayton Early Learning campus in northeast Denver — 3605 Martin Luther King Blvd. Click here to RSVP.

The Open House is an opportunity for the Bright by Three team to recognize and give thanks to the many wonderful partners and volunteers who play a key role in delivering the Bright by Three program to families around Colorado.  It’s also a chance to explore the historic Clayton Early Learning campus and learn about this hub for early childhood research and programming.

Along with drinks and appetizers, the Bright by Three Open House will feature tours of the historic Clayton Early Learning campus and the Educare Center.

“We are excited for the opportunity to further align and integrate our efforts to ensure every child in Colorado is ready for a lifetime of learning and success. It is a privilege for Bright by Three to be a part of this historic campus with such a long history of serving Denver’s children,” says Bright by Three CEO Jean McSpadden.

Please feel free to bring friends and colleagues from your organization who would be interested in learning more about Bright by Three – all are welcome. Click here to RSVP.


BB3 Moves to Clayton Early Learning Campus

Clayton for Blog 2.11.2015Bright by Three is now located on the campus of Clayton Early Learning, a statewide leader in early childhood education, research and training.

Bright by Three moved its headquarters in January from 7th Ave. and Colorado Blvd. to its new space on the Clayton Early Learning campus at 3605 Martin Luther King Blvd.

“The Clayton Early Learning campus is a hub for early learning, and Bright by Three is honored to be part of this movement,” says Jean McSpadden, BB3’s CEO. “It is a privilege for Bright by Three to be a part of this historic campus with such a long history of serving Denver’s children.”

Bright by Three’s new location houses employee workspace, training space and a call center where volunteers enter data and conduct surveys with program participants.

“Bright by Three is a critical component of Colorado’s efforts to improve outcomes for our youngest children,” says Clayton Early Learning President and CEO Charlotte Brantley in a recent press release. “We could not be happier to have them join our campus, giving us the opportunity to strengthen the joint efforts between our two organizations.”

Bright by Three had been interested in moving to the Campus for years, and when the opportunity arose in late 2014, BB3 jumped at the chance.

“By relocating to the Clayton Early Learning Campus, we are excited for the opportunity to further align and integrate our efforts to ensure every child in Colorado is ready for a lifetime of learning and success,” says Jean McSpadden.

BB3’s new address: 3605 Martin Luther King Blvd., Denver, CO 80205

Our phone number is the same – 303-433-6200 – but staff extensions have changed. Click here to view the new BB3 staff extensions.

Bright Night Out Comedy Show – April 28

Need a night out? Leave the kids with a babysitter and join Bright by Three for an evening of laughs and adult beverages. Parents of all ages are welcome!

100% of the cost of every ticket sold supports Bright by Three’s efforts to give every Colorado child a bright beginning. Tickets are $50 each and going fast! Click here to get yours today.

Bright Night Out 
Featuring the Pump & Dump
April 28 – doors at 6:30, show at 7:30
Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret – 1601 Arapahoe St, Denver, CO 80202

The Pump & Dump Girls girls (Shayna Ferm and MC Doula) perform a hilarious, “parentally incorrect” show that combines comedy and music to highlight the lighter side of parenting. Click here to check out some clips of the Pump & Dump show on YouTube.

Contact Brittani Johnson for sponsorship information or questions. or 303-433-6200 ext. 106

Bright by Text on CBS4 News

This CBS4 News spot resulted in our biggest (two-day!) spike yet in Bright by Text signups. Previous spikes were also the result of media promotion. Soon, we will invite all the families presently enrolled in our program to join the fun!

Text Signups spike with CBS4 broadcast

Try for yourself-
Text bright to 444-999 from your phone now!

DENVER (CBS4) – Research shows that lower income parents talk less with their young children. By the time kids of lower income parents are three years old, they have heard 30 million fewer words than middle classpeers.

Local non-profit “Bright by Three” is working to level the playing field.
It recently launched Bright by Text, free weekly learning games that come to parents by text message. The texts come with a link to an explanation of why the game is good for a child’s development, which can be customized to match the child’s age. Levels range from several months old to preschool age.

Nanny Guadalupe Vargas knows that a game of pick up helps 8-month-old Cora develop hand skills. She receives weekly lessons that she and Cora can do together, and said, “It’s a neat program to be a part of, so I know I’m not boring her and I know we’re doing interactive things.”

Katharine Brenton, Director of Strategic Initiatives [Corrected] of Bright by Text, said the texts also explain why the child will benefit from the learning game, and that the texts are free.
“Most all of us have cell phones. We think it’s a great way to reach parents and at that moment they can engage in a learning game,” said Brenton.

These free messages provide invaluable lessons for Cora so she is ready for preschool.
A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds preschoolers perform better on literacy tests when parents or child care givers receive learning and reading tips via text message. The study shows by spending time earlier with a child, you mold and shape that child.

Family Psychologist Dr. Larry Curry stated children begin to build life-long learning habits between zero and three years old. He said the texts serve as a reminder to parents to work with children.
“It’s a great resource for folks don’t have a lot of resources available to them,” said Vargas.
To receive the messages, text “bright” to 444-999. Or visit the website of Bright by Three.


Goodnight Moon Gala Ushers in New Name, New Chapter

Board members Sandra Stenmark and Liz KincannonOn November 7, a group of 300 Bright by Three supporters came together at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for the fourth annual Goodnight Moon Gala.

It was an uplifting celebration of our collective work to provide Colorado parents and caregivers of children aged 0-3 with the tools to promote a child’s healthy development and readiness for lifelong learning.

The dramatic moment of the evening came when the new name and brand – Bright by Three – was announced for the organization that has been known for the last 19 years as Bright Beginnings.

In 2015, Bright by Three will celebrate its 20th anniversary, so in many ways, it’s good timing to refresh and renew the organization’s brand. What’s more, the change coincides with exciting new program innovations – including the BrightByText system also featured in this newsletter.

Bright by Three was founded in 1995 by former Colorado Governor Roy Romer and former Procter & Gamble Chairman Brad Butler. And it was a special moment indeed when Governor Romer and Brad Butler’s daughter Nancy Butler Accetta took the stage at the event to unveil the new name and logo.

“Our name and our logo may have changed,” says Jean McSpadden, CEO of Bright by Three. “But our commitment to giving every Colorado child a bright beginning is stronger than ever.”

The 2014 Goodnight Moon Gala honored Colorado’s Early Childhood Leadership Commission and co-chairs Barbara Grogan, Anna Jo Haynes and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia. The event emcee was George Sparks, CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and BB3 board member emeritus. The keynote speaker was Sarah Watamura, PhD, researcher and expert on the effects of toxic stress in children at the University of Denver.

The evening closed with a rousing rendition of “happy birthday” for Bea Romer, BB3 board member and former Colorado First Lady, who was celebrating her 85th birthday.

Click here to see photos from the event!  Read more about the gala in the Denver Post feature.

Adventures of Ollie and Moose

Those of us charged and honored with the challenge of delivering a program that provides parents and caregivers of very young children with skills that promote cognitive and social-emotional development get accustomed to seeing outcomes in terms of statistics. The generous people and organizations who bankroll our operation demand we constantly prove our program delivers the intended outcomes. This is as it should be.

Every now and then, however, one of the 20,000 or so people who receives a free program visit of ours each year sends us a “thank you” and our efforts are rewarded at a personal level. In conversations around the water cooler, my staff and program volunteers marvel at how small gestures such as this remind us that the work we are doing is not about messaging effectiveness or delivery systems or evaluation methodologies, but about helping children “light up” their individual expression and curiosity before they ever see a classroom.

That’s why I’ve chosen to share an item I found in my inbox today: This morning Angelica, our Community Engagement Manager, forwarded one such unsolicited message from a woman in our program. At our volunteer trainings, we often say a sign of our success is when a child becomes a story teller rather than one who passively listens to stories. I don’t think we could find a better example of that notion than the video of this woman’s daughter “reading” to the family dog.

Thank you for the book I received after the birth of our daughter… She is now 1 and loves reading. Here is a little video of her reading to our dog. THANK YOU!

To our colleagues: Could anyone ever question that when this girl has assembled the vocabulary to fully express her thoughts that she won’t meet whatever standard of school readiness any of us could ever devise? Talk about a Bright Beginning or a child who is Bright by Three!

A Dad Learns the Value of “Parental Talk”

Justin Milner writes in Building Momentum to Bridge the Word Gap:

Before I became a dad 17 months ago, I had little idea about the importance of “parent talk” for infants. Sure, I knew I would be changing diapers (my wife was in charge of inputs, I was in charge of outputs). And I was committed to making sure my daughter became a world-class soccer player. But talking to an infant who communicated mainly through gurgles and gas emissions? What good could this babytalking possibly do?

The surprising answer: quite a lot.

Don’t feel bad if you are surprised too. Though the research on this has been clear for quite a while, getting the word out to new parents has been a real challenge. In fact, that is why Bright Beginnings was founded!

The point is that language development starts much earlier than we previously thought, and disparities in parent talk and, consequently, children’s early experiences can have effects on major child outcomes down the road. With nearly one in three American children entering kindergarten lacking the skills they need to read, and two in three children not reading at grade level by the end of third grade, the problem affects the public health of our nation as well as our prospects for future prosperity.

We hope that every parent and caregiver in our program “gets it” in time to make a difference with their own kids. It is very easy once you understand what to do! We’ve assembled a great kit of age-appropriate materials and activities and after a short visit to introduce the concepts, it’s very easy to integrate into a busy lifestyle. Request your visit today! The visit and the kit materials are free thanks to our generous supporters.

Introducing the Newest Member of the Colorado Early Childhood Summit

Announcing: Bright Beginnings was just voted in as the full member of The Colorado Early Childhood Summit!

The Colorado Early Childhood Summit is a coalition of statewide leaders in early childhood development and early learning with a principle focus on issues of children from birth to age eight. The Summit collaborates to improve early childhood services and systems through identifying issues, providing information and advocating to shape related public policy.

The Summit is guided by the belief that fostering understanding and improving communication among the state’s early childhood associations will create a stronger voice in advocacy.

We are eager to step up our participation in the Summit and other leadership organizations that promote awareness and advocacy of early childhood development issues.