"For I know the plans that I have for you" declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to
give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
What a promise! But does it apply to everyone? And if it applies to all, what are the practical ways that these plans will work in the lives of the REACH kids and their families? How will these plans be accomplished in a dynamic environment?
Huge questions. Complex answers, but with God always at the center of each solution. The path forward lies within the changing lives and life expectancy of these isolated kids. REACH must offer programs that provide a choice between a life filled with meaning or one tarnished by cynicism. These programs must be relevant to the teens and young adults who have been given the gift of longer life.
The families and caretakers of the REACH kids focused on keeping the little ones healthy and protected, not on what they were "going to be". There was no "going to be". Limited lifespans have a way of prioritizing the here and now.
But medicines have improved both the quality and length of the kids' lives, and the older ones focus on the same things that all young people do...acceptance from peers, dating, school, career and how to cope in the ultra competitive environment that exists in our age.
This process proceeds from the innocence of childhood, to the discovery and awareness of youth, to life's meaning and responsibility of adulthood. And all of us pass through it. On its own, this is quite enough to deal with.
But we don't live in a bubble, and hurricane force economic winds are tearing at the fabric of our families' lives. This Great Recession has caused employment worries for many of our families. It has forced some to move from their homes. It is putting pressure on food purchases and on transportation. It is changing relationships within the family units.
We see dysfunctions magnified in this environment, and life is tenuous and uncertain for many of our families. So, what about the "plans to give you a hope and a future"? This is the question that the staff at REACH has been working on. We know that our mission has expanded, and that we are called to offer more for the kids. The most significant of our expanded services will be Life skills.
"You are my sunshine and my delight". "You are my favorite"! "You are my first choice"! "I love you beyond measure"! "You are my work of art"! "You are a miracle... and all the angels marvel at you"!
Go tell it on a mountain.
Life skills and learning skills training will enable our kids to connect their own unique skills, interests, aptitudes with God- focused values to give them the vision of their place in the world as well as contributions to it.
We have a real enthusiasm about our expanded mission. REACH could never occupy a static or fixed position on this journey, and so we change...and grow.
The mentoring program, family visits and events, and camp will continue as our most important services. But more is necessary.
We implement this new strategy knowing that we are a part of a larger whole. You also occupy a place in this journey to provide a hope and a future. For we move forward together. We are face to face and side by side with our kids and families. Our kids will flourish when they have access to the community of teachers, supporters, and mentors necessary for learning that God is trustworthy and He in fact has a plan for their lives.
So, this year is the year of change. Big change. We will continue with the important work that is the core of REACH and add critical services. We have a chance to show the power of a touch to the REACH family.
Will you help? Face to face and side by side we stand for these kids.
Washington and other states are struggling with crushing budget deficits. Legislators are cutting all but the most essential services. Training programs and education funding for at risk youths are being dramatically reduced or eliminated.
The REACH LIfe Skills program can stand in the gap. We can accomplish it through your financial support, prayers and time.
We have enclosed a giving envelope for your use. There is power in your contribution beyond the monetary value. It is your outstretched hand to kids and families who need you. And they see the power realized in their lives.
The REACH Team
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