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Former WNBA player launches program privately fulfilling Benton families' needs

Shameka Christon hung up her jersey and is now a social worker in the Benton School District. She introduced Bright Futures, a program helping families in need.

BENTON, Ark. — A former WNBA player from Arkansas is now working to help better her home state.

Shameka Christon hung up her jersey and is now a social worker in the Benton School District.            

"Once I retired from that, I said, 'ok, I still have to find some way to serve,'” said Christon.

Christon recently introduced the program Bright Futures at Benton Schools.

"This program is to serve and meet the needs of our students,” said Christon.

Here’s how it might work: School staff may notice a child without school supplies or a cafeteria worker might overhear a child say they’re going hungry.

As adults keep their eyes and ears open to help better serve their students, Christon’s goal is to privately fulfill their needs within 24-hours.

"Whatever that need may be, we've delivered beds, couches, loveseats,” said Christon.

The program is new to the district and Christon is now working to build up a closet full of things to help those in need.

Throughout the pandemic, Christon said the need for food soared.

"I would definitely say food insecurity is our biggest need, and we have had quite a few utility and rental assistance— families needing that,” said Christon.

There are immediate needs the district said the community can donate such as gently used clothes and shoes of all sizes, toiletries, school supplies, snack foods, and monetary donations.

While organizers have yet to see the real impacts of the program because it’s new, they know that providing this type of help will make a big difference.

"We truly feel if the students’ needs are met, then they will be able to achieve academically and socially in school,” said Christon.

If you would like to donate to the Bright Future’s program, you can contact the Benton School District’s administration office.