In a span of 45 years, Tina Frank has seen it all in her Southeast Houston neighborhood. The good, the bad, and things best left in the past.
What she sees now is hope that starts with society’s most vulnerable treasure.
“If I am at my job, it is very soothing to know my child is being taken care of,” Frank said. “That would be important to any parent, because it’s sure important to me.”
It’s something many take for granted. But in Houston, Shining Lights Daycare Development Center provides a refuge for children, where they can learn and grow. The success of Shining Lights since it was founded in 2013 has given hope to an area looking for a better life for the youngest generation.
“We really believe in giving back to the community,” said Pastor Anthony Gasery, founder of Shining Lights. “We really believe that in our upbringing we were at a disadvantage. Now, we have some advantages going for us, so we want to make sure we uplift children.”
Shining Light goes beyond basic daycare, providing food and clothing services, as well as homework assistance for young students.
“There’s nothing that we don’t do,” Gasery said.
The only limit to Shining Lights, say parents of students who attend there, has been in its capacity to serve. That’s changing.
Originally limited to 30 children in one location, Shining Lights is expanding. The original center will soon empower up to 69 children while another facility will host up to 50 more.
Additional opportunities mean just one thing: Hope is on the way.
“In this neighborhood, if you’re not given the opportunity to do better, you won’t – because, for me, having a childhood means you’re going to have an adulthood,” said Adrianne Davis, the Director of Shining Lights Daycare. “To have a development center in this neighborhood, in this part of town, means that our future just got greater.”
To grow, Shining Lights needed a partner. That’s where Regions plays a key role – not only to Shining Lights but to Beacon of Light Christian Center, where Gasery officiates.
“We looked for other banks we could develop relationships with,” Gasery explained. “When we searched out Regions, we found (a bank) committed to the community, committed to customers, and one that gives customers a fair chance.”
Ryan Colburn, the Houston City President, for Regions, saw a community’s promise and an organization’s commitment to making life better.
“We understand the nonprofit world,” Colburn said. “Much like the for-profit world, it really starts with the ownership. We were very pleased with what we found with Shining Lights.
“If there’s one thing about our greater Houston area, it’s a can-do approach, so you have people like the Pastor and the staff here. We love that spirit.”
Tina Frank loves the attention to detail. Her son has Down Syndrome. For a single mother, finding a superior level of childcare can be difficult.
Shining Lights proved to be a Godsend.
“They did a miraculous job with my son,“ Frank said. “I was so worried about how was I going to be a good mom to a child with a disability. I think it’s an awesome thing, and I’m proud to be a part of it. I can’t wait to see it grow.”
Gasery hears Frank’s sentiment often from numerous parents.
“All of our parents, they see us as a beacon of light, they see us as a beacon of hope, they see us an institution that gives them far more than they anticipated, far more than they what they bargained for,” Gasery said. “They know that when they drop off their children at our facility, this is a place where they are going to be safe, where they’re going to be cared for.”