Updated: Feb 8
By Stephanie Ferrera, Letters to the Editor, Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest - Thanks to Wednesday Journal for publishing the story of Shana Wills and her organization, Refugee Education and Adventure Challenge (REACH), and to Amanda Tugade for telling it so well [Using the great outdoors to connect refugee teens, News, Nov. 3]. The article captures the spirit of REACH as it is expressed in the words of a mother and several of the refugee teens who are part of the REACH community. The sense of community that is built as the groups explore a wide range of natural environments and acquire important new English, service learning, and outdoor technical skills, all while having fun, is the essence of this organization. In the process, Shana is recognizing and encouraging the leadership qualities that emerge as young people form bonds and develop confidence.