Updated: Feb 24
Dear REACH Friends & Family,
As the summer heats up and you take moments to enjoy the outdoors, I'd like to tell you about the exciting plans we have for young refugees in Chicago who depend on REACH for those quintessential summer get-aways in nature.
This is our biggest season yet with 50 young people successfully registered to participate in REACH's 2018 Summer Adventure Camp! Activities officially started on June 25th and we've already had 3 full-day sessions with all of our summer participants plus two days of leadership development with our Peer Mentors at World Refugee Day Chicago events. This summer is exceptional for several reasons: 1) we're now co-ed; 2) we've doubled our numbers; and 3) we've added a 4-day sleep-away camp to our summer schedule!
Some of you know that I started REACH three years ago while working a full-time job, teaching part-time at DePaul, and raising my son as a single mom. As with any start-up endeavor, it has not been easy and I've found myself wishing I could do more better and faster to build this organization and fill what I believe to be a crucial gap in refugee integration services. Yet, the kids, their families, and our phenomenal partners have fully supported this effort, and persuaded me to eschew any doubts about our vision to develop a strong organization that provides a sense of place and belonging for so many. Just take a look at the video above to understand why there is no turning back now!
REACH has been run on a shoe-string budget with funds from my own pocket and a group of first-time individual donors, in-kind donations from local businesses, and in-kind services from partner institutions. This summer, it will cost us $300 per youth participant to deliver 8 full-day adventure camp sessions, an overnight tent camping trip, a 4-day sleep-away camp experience, and a family picnic finale. That's such a small sum for a lifetime of memories, new friendships, and spirit-building activities for an amazing melting pot of kids. If you support the idea of a welcoming America, care about developing future stewards of our planet, and believe in the positive benefits of the outdoors, particularly for vulnerable adolescents, then your money will connect to all of these values with a DONATION to REACH
In the year ahead, we'll receive seed money from a large foundation, which will allow us to build our organizational capacity. But individual donations like yours help us to transport youth from place to place, provide essential meals and snacks, and secure access to places and gear that are typically inaccessible to our refugee families.
Please make a DONATION HERE now.
With sincere gratitude for your interest and support of our mission,
REACH Executive Director & Founder