Book Babies Bright Futures
Unlocking the Transformative Power of Children's Savings Accounts
Book Babies Bright Futures savings accounts help unlock opportunities for families to build a financial foundation to realize their children’s dreams for college or career.
What is Bright Futures?
Bright Futures is a college-and-career savings program for Book Harvest Durham's Book Babies participants. Families currently enrolled in -- along with alumni of -- Book Harvest's Book Babies program are invited to open a Bright Futures account through Durham's Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU).
Book Harvest contributes $100 per year to a child's Bright Futures account for each completed year of Book Babies participation, up to a maximum of $500. These funds along with any additional amounts (from families, interest, etc.) can be used for the child's education or career needs when he/she turns 18.
The program was launched with a generous grant from the Angelina Merenda O'Bar Trust in 2021.
Why Bright Futures Matters
• A savings account from an early age has been shown to improve a child's educational outcomes, social-emotional development, and positive parental interactions and practices. 
• Children who have a $500 savings account are more likely to enroll in and graduate from college than those who don't. 
• Children with savings earmarked for college report higher expectations for college and identify as college-bound. 
I did not see just the $500, I saw $5,000… $50,000… $500,000… even $5 million! I saw a seed that, if I watered and nurtured it, would grow into a harvest that will help me fund my daughter’s future education.
Book Babies Parent
In April 2023, Book Harvest brought together 30 local stakeholders to explore the question: "Is now the time to expand availability of children's savings accounts to children and families in Durham, and possibly beyond?"
The day-long discussion was co-facilitated by Book Harvest staff and parents, and informed by pre-meeting interviews. Read takeaways from the conversation in the Report Summary, as well as the final report, linked below.
In the News
Bright Futures was featured in The 74! The article, written by Book Harvest's Founder and CEO Ginger Young, addresses how CSA programs like ours can serve as a powerful counterbalance to historic and present-day inequities by transforming how children see themselves and their opportunities.
About Angelina Merenda O'Bar
Book Harvest was humbled and honored to receive a generous grant from the Angelina Merenda O’Bar Trust in 2021 to launch Bright Futures. Angelina Merenda O’Bar's life was defined by her passionate advocacy for young children and her unwavering commitment to their success.
Angelina Merenda O'Bar was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1935. She grew up in Long Island and married Jesse O'Bar in 1956. The couple relocated to Chickasha, Oklahoma in 1964, where Angelina received her bachelor's degree in education from the University of Science and Art and her Master of Arts degree from The University of Oklahoma.
Committed to early childhood education, Angelina worked for over 45 years as a teacher and early education professional. She first began teaching in 1967 with Chickasha Public Schools, ultimately becoming the Director of Washita Valley Head Start. After 20 years with Head Start, she developed the Growing Up Strong program with The University of Oklahoma's Center for Child and Family Development, where she served as project director starting in 1987.
Throughout her extensive career, Angelina was a consultant and advocate for early childhood education. She published several journal articles, received numerous awards, and served on many notable boards and committees. She was also named a delegate to White House Conference on Children.
Angelina O'Bar passed away on February 22, 2020. Her legacy is felt through her posthumous commitment to early childhood education. Ms. O'Bar's memory will live on in the lives of Book Babies whose futures hold enormous promise, made even more possible through her generous legacy of establishing Bright Futures children’s savings accounts.
Book Babies Bright Futures was launched with a generous grant from the Angelina Merenda O'Bar Trust in 2021.
Thank you to our additional funders: John and Katie Anthony, Stacey and Mark Yusko, Noel Family Fund of Triangle Community Foundation