The Future is Bright

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley
Donaldsonville native and former State Representative Roy Quezaire talks to students at the Bright Futures CLC on Monday.

For the last few weeks, Bright Futures CLC has been preparing for its annual production set for Saturday, July 19 at 4 p.m. in the Donaldsonville Lemann Center. This year’s show will honor legendary singer Whitney Houston.

Along with learning scripts and dances for the CLC’s production, the students also learn other arts and sciences such as music, sewing, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Robotics class and more.

Bright Futures isn’t just a summer camp, it’s a year round student enhancing program. Director Donna Gaignard said it’s probably Donaldsonville’s best kept secret, although it’s not intentionally meant to be kept quiet but rather that people still don’t know what the CLC offers and how it rewards the city.

“I see so much growth in the kids, especially those who have been with us for a few years,” Gaignard said. “You see them grow from being bullies to being defenders of each other and respecting themselves.”

One of the major things the CLC has incorporated is bringing in role models and leaders to speak to the students. This summer, the students have met Donaldsonville’s Fire Chief Chuck Montero, former state Representative Roy Quezaire, and many others.

On Monday, Quezaire spoke to the students about self-esteem and getting a solid education.

“It starts from within,” he said to the students.

Quezaire, who now works as the Deputy Director for the Port of South Louisiana, told the students about the ABC’s of life that his parents instilled in him early on.

Gaignard said she and her staff really want the students to know there is a better way, “not just to know there is one, but also that they have access to a better way.”

One of the things she does intentionally is hire people who aren’t from Donaldsonville to show the students a different way.

“To show them people with different life experiences and skill sets, and that don’t look like them and talk like them - to bring something different,” she said.

“We want to provide our children with experiences they other wise wouldn’t have, whether they are cultural, life skills, just something so they can see a better way than just BET, and I talk like you and you talk like me. It can be cyclical if we don’t get outside of the web we live in.”

Gaignard added, “This year has been our best year. It’s our sixth year and the positive behavior turnover has really kicked in.”