As we continue to shine a spotlight on BRING IT! this month, we are pleased to share this eloquent recounting of their early days and notable events in their history.
Founding and Early History:
Operating since 2006, BRING IT! has an extensive record of successful work with Manchester’s refugee, immigrant, and low-income students. For the past seventeen years, BRING IT! has connected young people with community resources, academic support, and fun activities.
BRING IT! founders Brendan McCafferty and Hector Urria both saw pressing needs for more programming and space for students. Both saw the need for more socio-emotional support and character development. Both saw the need to help these students offset the variety of obstacles facing them. Both saw the need for these kids to have additional opportunities facilitated by caring and positive role models. Both agreed it would be unique to create these programs and opportunities from within the district, providing access to every student's teachers, counselors, and administrators as needed.
And today thanks to dedicated staff, board of trustees, and generous donors - the current BRING IT! program is doing just that.
Key Timeline Moments:
2002-2006: Family Understanding Nights (FUN) were inaugurated. These were Huge welcome events for newcomer families. There were thirty-five events in total. These were inspired by the local resettlement of refugees from Burundi and Somalia and the associated challenges that faced them. These events were to provide evenings of information and fun, helping to connect the latest newcomers with their new city and school and to help them better navigate their new home and culture. Events included transportation, meals, guest speakers, language interpreters, daycare, games and more. The average newcomer attendance: 250. The average number of volunteers: 90.
2005: Spinning off from the success of these FUN events, BRING IT! explored doing something on a more regular basis. The program BRING IT! (Bringing Refugees, Immigrants and Neighbors Gently Into Tomorrow) was named and several meetings were held to discuss and explore the possibilities and execution of a meaningful and impactful program.
January 2006: BRING IT! opened its doors at Beech Street School two evenings a week. This was a collaboration led by founders Hector Urrea and Brendan McCafferty. BRING IT! started with soccer, expanded to homework help, and then to dance. They later added volunteers from SNHU (Southern New Hampshire University), St. Anselm College, and City Year. Later they added offerings in health, arts & crafts, and various one-off collaborations with local organizations and universities, really anything to expose students to additional opportunities.
2019: At first, the Manchester Boys & Girls Club served as the organization’s fiscal agent. Then Southern New Hampshire Services. Then Granite United Way. Each of these wonderful organizations were instrumental to their survival and success. BRING IT! recognizes they owe them a great deal. In 2019, BRING IT! finally became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit and they now operate independently with an advisory board of trustees that meets bi-monthly.
Today: Academic support continues to be the lynchpin of the BRING IT! program. They are a familiar and trusted resource for hundreds of students in the city and well-equipped to help the city’s diverse student population continue on the path to academic and personal success.
We’ll be sharing more about BRING IT! throughout the month of November, including information about how you can support their mission.