“Sunny starts, bright futures; where homeless children grow.”

July 25, 2018

We’re beyond excited to announce that Bright Beginnings (BBI) will be finalizing construction in the next two weeks! MOYA was part of the design team that worked with Bright Beginnings on their architectural upgrade to improve the lives of children and families. Here’s a sneak peek of the new Bright Beginnings center opening next month in Congress Heights. Follow MOYA and Bright Beginnings on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more information about their grand opening on July 27!


BBI’s new Early Childhood Education Center answers a growing need for quality childcare for homeless youth. The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ “Hunger and Homelessness” survey found that Washington, D.C. has the highest rate of homelessness among 32 cities. With 124.2 homeless people for every 10,000 residents, D.C. also had one of the fastest increases in homelessness between 2009 and 2016, with a 34.1 percent gain. This means that D.C. has over 2,700 homeless children under the age of five.
Homeless kids need a place to learn so their parents can work or get training to find good jobs. In 1990, the Junior League of Washington founded Bright Beginnings (BBI) to help. BBI runs daycare centers for homeless youth. Most of their kids live in shelters or transitional housing and otherwise wouldn’t have access to safe and appropriate care.
With their first child development center, BBI cared for nearly 2,500 homeless children over three decades. They offer free, full-day, year-round childcare and early childhood education for children aged six weeks to five years with the mission:
  • to restore and revitalize the quality of life for every homeless child and family in Washington, DC.
  • to prepare them to enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed, and
  • to support their parents as they stabilize their lives and strive toward self-sufficiency by providing mental health, social-emotional and workforce development services to families.
In 2014, BBI founded the first home-based program in the country. This allowed them to provide high-quality family and educational supports inside shelters and transitional housing. With the opening of their second center in Ward 8 this month, BBI will serve even more families in times of hardship and transition.
The Bright Beginnings program is a model for other communities in need. Knowing this, Mayor Muriel Bowser visited BBI in April to launch new initiatives in early childhood education in her FY ’19 budget. These include Thrive by Five and MyChildCareDC.org. The Mayor kicked off the Month of the Young Child by reading to BBI’s kids aged six weeks to four years.
“By investing in child care, we are investing in the future of our families,” she said. “These investments are one more way we can ensure that as the District grows, we continue to be a city where residents of all backgrounds and at all stages of life have a fair shot.”
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Our design
Congress Heights is where economic inequality with the rest of D.C. is greatest. Ward 8 is predominantly Black/African-American (92%) and the poverty rate is more than twice that of the city in general. In Ward 8, the median family income has decreased by 17% since 2014.
BBI’s new center will serve families facing a lack of social mobility and an inability to afford basic needs. The 4th Street location broke ground in March 2016. It has thirteen classrooms, allowing Bright Beginnings to serve an additional 104 children.
The MOYA team were interior designers for the center. The interior includes offices, classrooms, and workstations where parents can access online resources for education and jobs. We selected finishes and materials to create a kind, welcoming space for families to gather and find support. Soft colors provide a calm atmosphere. Hallway floors are made of a durable vinyl composition tile that sustains the wear of lots of young feet with a warm, wood-look finish. Millwork, furniture, and the reception desk also feature natural wood finishes. Re-District took care of all the office furniture, and Community Playthings provided the classroom furniture. Together, our design creates a serene and comfortable space for BBI families to learn and grow.
Come on out to the grand opening on July 27th to find out more about how Bright Beginnings’ new center will meet the needs of D.C.’s youth and families!
Paola Moya started this project in her previous role as CEO of Marshall Moya Design. We collaborated with partners TRINITY Group Construction, Inc., FD Stonewater, Hamilton Associates, LLC, AHH Consultants, Adtek Engineers, Inc, CTA Engineers, Community Playthings, and Re-District.