Bright Beginnings

Ensuring that all children are given the necessary tools to prepare for learning and a brand new school year.

What Bright Beginning Means

Click on the link below to hear the story of Tory Mabry, a former participant of Bright Beginnings and the impact it had on her life.

Overview of the Program 

Bright Beginnings Family

YMCA Bright Beginnings ensures that all children are given the necessary tools to prepare for learning and a brand-new school year. 

Children receive a backpack with school supplies and a tote of winter clothing items to help prepare them for a great school year. For a child to participate, they must first qualify for the program. Participants attend a Student Store at their local YMCA where they will shop for free to collect new items before heading back to school. 

For more information on qualification requirements, please contact Leslie Beck-Long, Director of Volunteer and Community Engagement.

Volunteer Opportunities 

Make a difference in your community and help prepare a child in school. Caring adult volunteers are needed for a variety of roles to help make YMCA Bright Beginnings a success. 

  • Donating school supplies and new book bags (list is below)
  • In-person opportunities such as assisting at a YMCA Student Pop Up Event
  • Monetary donation--$175 supports one student’s success


Bright Beginnings Tuckahoe Shoe Ordering

Backpack Supplies 

Over 250 elementary teachers were surveyed to create this list of most requested items:

  • Pencils
  • Dry erase markers - 2 packs
  • Markers
  • Sharpies
  • Crayons
  • Post-it Notes
  • Individual white board
  • Binder/loose-leaf paper
  • 4 Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Child-sized scissors
  • Over the ear headphones

Optional Items

  • 2 red pens
  • 1 box of tissues
  • 4 oz. bottle of school glue
  • 1 box of storage bags (quart or gallon)
  • Small pencil sharpener
  • Flash drive (minimum of 16 GB preferred)


Please drop off school supplies or filled backpacks to a YMCA OF GREATER RICHMOND branch during regular business hours. Donations will be accepted through August 2, 2024.


For more information, email Leslie Beck-Long, Director of Volunteer and Community Engagement.

Bright Beginnings Volunteers