Bright Futures is a non profit growth and development center that serves students from pre kindergarten through the young adult years. We provide a preparatory curriculum designed to include the State educational frameworks that recognize and enhance the early ages and stages of development in the areas of speech, language, motor development, and fine arts. In addition, Bright Futures provides transportation services for students to and from school for families that need this assistance.
Founder - Executive Director
For the past 33 years Ivy Winston has championed the enhancement of education for many children and families in the Bay Area cities of Oakland, San Francisco and Richmond. Ivy’s first experience working with children was in 1979 at Longfellow Elementary School, as an active participant in the Summer Youth Program. In the summer of 1981, her passion to work with children was sparked while employed at The Oakland Boys Club of West Oakland as a Recreation Director.
Her responsibilities included organizing activities such as skating parties and carnivals, assisting with coaching basketball and baseball, and counseling problem youth. She concurrently studied early childhood development at Merritt College.Her first teaching experience was at Chabot Children's Center where she taught preschoolers and kindergarteners. Ivy transitioned to Oaks Children Center of San Francisco in 1987 where she received all of her specialized training under the direction of Dr. Robert Tyminski. Her responsibilities included teaching classes for severely emotionally disturbed children ages 6 to 13, helping design and plan the curriculum, planning and conducting daily group activities, budgeting group monthly expenses, ordering annual and monthly supplies, assisting with preparation of the annual curriculum overview and lesson plans, and planning and providing individual tutoring to assigned children and groups. Ivy also planned and facilitated physical education/outdoor activities, taught vocal and piano lessons, coordinated annual awards ceremonies and children’s vocal and piano recitals, and designed and implemented a classroom behavior modification system.
She developed The Out Reach Program for families, which maintained contact with families and provided family and youth counseling, crisis intervention with extremely aggressive youth, and training for interns. The Out Reach Program created and maintained a physical and emotional environment to meet the educational and therapeutic needs/goals of individual children and groups. During her ten-year employment at the center, she got the vision to start Bright Futures Day Care Center, which has now evolved into Bright Futures Growth and Development Center, a nonprofit organization catering to the children and families of West Contra Costa County. Ivy credits much of her dedication, drive, and compassion to her southern roots, being a New Orleans Native. Ivy instills those same principles into the children of Bright Futures, providing a strong foundation for their educational needs in their formative years through the arts, and guiding their transition into young adulthood.
Dorian has been an integral part of Bright Futures since 1995, when Bright Futures was first established. Dorian developed her skills in the art of dance as a student of Bright Futures. Dorian, a talented and gifted choreographer, knowledgeable in the major dance techniques of Modern, African, jazz, and Hip-Hop, currently instructs our young dancers. She studied under the direction of Ms. Mendez. In addition, Dorian is one of our instructors in our home economic department, certified in 2010 by The Bread Project, in baking and culinary arts.
Bryan Simmons was born in Vallejo, California, and raised in a culturally rich community of music and musicians. Bryan was born into a family of musical talent and developed an ear for music. Church and gospel music have a big influence on Bryan’s playing and even his career as a pianist. His mother, Joyce Ann Gordon Simmons, is a nationally known gospel recording artist, songwriter, publisher, and director of the Gospel Music Workshop of America. He plays in various bands and at events in his home church in Vallejo. Several local professional musicians in the Bay Area including Guy Artostuto, his first piano instructor and mentor, have also influenced Bryan as a musician. Other influences include his college professors Dr. Michael Zilber (saxophone), Erik Jekabson (trumpet), Jeff Marrs (drums), Sylvester Henderson (piano and voice), and Grammy-Award winning trombonist and arranger Doug Beavers from Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, California, where Bryan studies Jazz Theory, Composition, and Music Education. Bryan will continue his studies in the fall at San Jose State University.
Bryan has begun to establish himself as an accomplished professional pianist in demand over the last two years, being spotted at various venues in the Bay Area as well his own piano trio. He has also performed at Greater Bay Area restaurants in Vallejo, Green Valley, Fairfield, and Brentwood. He has performed at California wine vineyards in St. Helena and Calistoga as well as country clubs and hotels in Green Valley, Vallejo, San Francisco, and Benicia. Bryan has performed at California colleges and universities including Solano
College where he accompanies the Vocal Jazz Choir under the direction of Kristy Juliano.
On a different note, Bryan enjoys his contribution to the community as Director of Music at Bright Futures, a nonprofit Growth and Development Center in El Sobrante, California. Bryan has taught, directed and arranged music for musical performances in the last two years for students between the years of five and sixteen years old.
Joshua Carrington May was born to a war-veteran mother in East Oakland. He graduated high school with Honors in Music and numerous sports accolades at age 16 from Patten Academy Private School. He started martial arts training as a young child of seven and continued training throughout his teens. He received his 1st degree black belt at age 20 and is currently a 2nd degree black belt. Joshua has taught martial arts since the age of 16 under the tutelage and watchful eye of head teacher and master of Frohms Martial Arts Ernest Leon Frohm, III. He has taught for 13 years at various schools in El Cerrito and Oakland, and in dojos in Oakland and Mill Valley. Joshua has been on four
national and international teams including GQSport National Karate Team, Team EZRA National Karate Team, Bay Area’s Best International Karate Team and Team G-Force/ Team USA International Karate Team. He has traveled worldwide and been presented with opportunities to practice his skills in various countries such as Mexico and Ireland, and holds national and world titles in sport karate. He is currently training to compete in July 2013 in Batala, Punjab, India. Having worked as a personal trainer since the age of 18, he has trained some of the finest police academy students and fire fighters in Oakland.
Genevieve Nutt, a professional make up artist with an Associates Degree in Music with an emphasis in voice has been with Bright Futures since 2010. Genevieve received her Bachelors Degree in Education and teaching credentials for grades K-5. As Educational/Vocal Instructor for Bright Futures, Genevieve coaches our students individually and by groups for their particular roles in a play or musical.production. In addition, Genevieve plans our lessons, teaching vocal and breathing exercises and techniques as well as instructing in melody, harmony and improvisation, and assists with logistics to ensure the flawless execution of our productions.
Jessica Rotich graduated cum laude in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from San Francisco State University. Her costume and design skills have evolved through the years to include sketching, sewing, sculpting, designing, pattern-making and period-costume research. She works closely with the Director, stage designers and technicians of Bright Futures to design wardrobes that complement the personalities of our production’s characters, sketching and sewing clothing ideas and realizing them with appropriate fabric and colors.