Two days a week for the past three years, Neelima Chirumamilla has volunteered her time and energy at Bright Beginnings. Neelima works as a classroom assistant at Bright Beginnings, providing crucial support to the teachers and working one-on-one with the children.
Bright Beginnings is a child and family development center dedicated to serving homeless infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their families. The children served cope with a level of stress and instability even the poorest of housed children have never known. As a result, children arrive at Bright Beginnings with fear, anger, resentment and aggressiveness that reflect their experiences. With poor health and nutrition, and unstable home environments, the children frequently have developmental delays.
Bright Beginnings relies on volunteers like Neelima to provide the one-on-one support these children need. Neelima consistently gives her time and talents to the children. In the classrooms, she not only plays games and reads to the children, but also provides them with a source of comfort and assurances. With her three years’ experience, she is well aware of the problems these children face and is capable of providing them the support they need. Every volunteer must be sensitive to the needs of the children in the classroom. And Neelima does with such ease, bringing herself to the level of these young children. Neelima has played a role in the development of these young children throughout the course of her three years at Bright Beginnings. Therefore, she has seen many of our children grow from infants to toddlers. Because of the bonds and relationships she has fostered with the children at the center, the children have become comfortable with her. This is crucial to providing comfort and stability in their lives.
Neelima first became involved in Bright Beginnings through George Washington University’s service program, the Neighbors Project. While many students who participate in this program volunteer one semester of work, Neelima has committed three year to Bright Beginnings. Her dedication is so great she continues to volunteer at the center during her school breaks, including summers.
As a full-time student at George Washington University double-majoring in International Affairs and Art History, with two internships, it is amazing Neelima has time for Bright Beginnings. However, she remains selfless about her work. When asked about her experience at Bright Beginnings, she says, “I would like to thank the children for allowing me to be a part of their lives and showing me what is truly important in life.” While she thanks the children for what they have given her, it is Neelima who has given our children so much more.