To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you somebody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
- e.e. cummings
I am not sure how to explain the significance of this amazing thought by one of America’s noted poets. I can, however, tell you that with the help of REACH, hundreds of terminally ill kids infected by HIV/AIDS are learning the importance of self-worth, of their worth to God, to family, to the world we live in.
Now thirteen years in operation, we still strive to serve justly, we have bonded with our families; we have encouraged and emboldened our children as they fight the good fight against a brutal disease. We have learned, hard though it is, to operate on a shoestring budget by yielding to creative and frugal means. We’ve studied and learned what it means to "be there" for terminally ill children.
What we didn't expect, but what deeply engages us now is this: Our “children,” those with HIV/AIDS, the children of REACH, are living longer. Despite the complexities and difficulties of the disease, we find ourselves serving a community of adolescence and young adults. REACH finds itself on a cutting edge. We are trudging through uncharted territory with these developing young people and their families.
How can REACH walk faithfully with young people who know that they carry complexities into adulthood that are otherwise unknown to their peers? Dating? Marriage? Sex? College? Careers?
We have planned and are executing programs and curriculums to assist these young adults in transitions that only a few years ago would simply not have been anticipated. Like them, REACH steps into a maturing phase.
Please help us continue the good fight for the children of all ages in need. They are our children, yours, mine and the futures. My heart reaches out asking for your continued support and love.
Susan K. Slonaker
P.S. Come to Walla Walla University April 30, May 1st for a fundraising weekend with Tony Campolo and thank him for supporting this essential ministry. He knows we depend on your gifts to support our vital programs. Continue to give through the the United Way, matching funds at your workplace, online or send gifts to 309 S. G Street, Tacoma, WA 98405. We need your help now, more than ever!