The late Coach Kara "Cobby" Bright of Smithfield had big dreams.
Both professionally and personally, he made a very real difference in the lives of many of the students who passed through his athletic programs - and oftentimes in the lives of those who were simply friends of his students.
When his former students left the area when heading to college, continuing connections to "Coach Kara" and his mentorship proved a welcome resource for many former area scholar athletes - but was equally available to all, whether an old friend or a soon to be made friend, according to the man at the helm of what has come to be known as the Brightway Center, Columbus-based businessman Daryle Griffin.
The Brightway Center, located in Smithfield, is a non-denominational, Christian leadership development program. The youth-oriented program’s mission states that the center provides an environment for people to come together through culturally relevant athletic and educational programs as well as Biblical studies to develop Christian values, growth, and leadership.
Dreams have a way of transforming into the brightest of realities when connected to the seemingly endless supply of positive energy fueling the already busy schedule of programs and services available at the Brightway Center Inc. in Smithfield.
The Brightway Center Inc., and all the good works taking root there, are being built on the solid foundation centered on the belief in the value of each child and their respective potential, a personal belief held dear by Bright, and which is clearly evident among the efforts put forward by volunteers and staff alike at Brightway.
At its core, Brightway Center Inc. is a non-denominational, Christian youth-oriented program and community resource.
As a community resource, Brightway is itself in a fledgling stage, as programming and resource structures are beginning to be established and the organization is gaining a more public standing across the region as those who attend and participate in events there spread the word about the well-structured programs offered at and through Brightway.
Bright's home today is now referred to as "The Homestead" and is the operational center of Brightway.
The 175 acres that make up the campus were once a working family farm, and the house there was home to Coach Kara "Cobby" Bright.
It has not been a working farm for some time, but there is plenty of energy going into establishing programs designed to help nurture youth at a time in life when there is almost no real way to measure the importance of mentoring; of connecting to proven and passionate life guides; and to growing a stronger sense of self worth, of self confidence and self respect - and respect for and of others.
Today, the traditional farmhouse seen sitting just back from the roadway seems to have become the palpable energy source at the start of a wave continuing to reach farther and farther into surrounding communities in an effort to connect residents to the growing slate of opportunities being centered at the Brightway Homestead.
Much of the programming taking shape today at the center in Smithfield is being led by a leadership core group of adults, many of whom were personally guided through some of their own formative athletic and life lessons by the much loved man behind this entire effort, longtime local Coach Kara "Cobby" Bright.
Through a personal bequest shared in his will, Bright provided the financial foundation and the physical location for the program to be developed.
He had long before made his plan clear to those around him.
He asked several of those closest to him to commit to continuing to build what he had begun, something he knew would have a continuing potential to reach more young people - even after his death.
Bringing Coach Kara's dream to its full realization will take several more years, but the popularity of programs and resources being made available there is already strong and only getting stronger.
Participation in many workshops and programs is made available free or for a nominal fee.
Here is a sampling of some of the current and upcoming programming offers at the Brightway Center.
There are several ways to access information about the always developing nature of the schedule of events at Brightway. The organization maintains a webpage at www.brightwaycenter.org and also maintains a Facebook page. Phone calls, registration and general inquiries can be directed to Project Manager Cathy Takach at 740-733-7480 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming events at Brightway Center Inc: