Friday, June 5, 2009

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels Issues Executive Order on Behalf of R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana

A United States Senator wrote a letter of support. The Speaker of Indiana’s House of Representative issued a resolution. Three mayors across the state wrote proclamations. And, today, the Governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, issued an executive order on behalf of R.E.A.C.H. a Child! proclaiming July 2009 “Make a Difference to Children Month.”

My thanks to Governor Daniels for helping us to raise awareness of R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Indiana’s R.E.A.C.H. a Child! - The First 90 Days

R.E.A.C.H. a Child! was founded in Wisconsin by Paul and Chris Gilbertson in late 2007 with the mission of using books to put a smile on the face of a child in a time of need. In less than two years, the non-profit has expanded into California, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio, Texas, New York and Indiana, launching here on March 1, 2009. So, as we enter our fourth month on Monday, I thought I’d take a moment to review what R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana has accomplished in its first 90 days:

• The South Bend Silver Hawks donated 10 tickets for their 2009 season, as well as tickets to the opening game of their 2010 season. These tickets were auctioned to raise both funding for and awareness of our non-profit

• Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore proclaimed June 14, 2009 “With Wings & a Halo - R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Awareness Day”

• Mishawaka Mayor Jeff Rea proclaimed October 2009 “R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Month”

• United States Senator Evan Bayh provided a letter of support, calling the work that we’re doing on behalf of Hoosier children “truly inspiring”

• Elkhart’s Waldenbooks (Borders) sponsored a book drive on our behalf in March and April that collected 344 new children’s books

• Indianapolis illustrator, Sheri Garvin, provided 10 copies of a children’s book she illustrated called “Little Rhymes for Quiet Times”

• R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana provided the South Bend Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit with 100 backpacks (approximately 1,100 books)

• We supplied the Warren Township Fire Department with 8 backpacks

• WSBT (CBS), WNDU (NBC) and WSJV (FOX) each broadcast segments on our organization, as well as featured us on their Web sites

• We were also featured in the South Bend Tribune

• I was invited to speak at the Rotary Club of Mishawaka

• We supplied the La Porte Police Department with 40 backpacks (over 400 new children’s books)

• Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel proclaimed the week of May 11th “R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Week”

• We started both a blog and a Squidoo lens, and each not only ranks on the first page of Google for “reach a child,” but also ahead of the national office’s Web site. Also, the blog you're reading now ranks higher in search results than any other state’s R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Web site or blog

• B. Patrick Bauer, Speaker of Indiana's House of Representatives, issued a resolution, recognizing our non-profit for "its dedicated and outstanding service to the children of the state of Indiana"

This is what we’ve accomplished in just our first 90 days. Imagine what we might accomplish together by this time next year. Now, let’s make it happen.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Federal, State and Local Politicians Continue to Lend Their Support to Help Raise Awareness for R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana

First, the Mayors of Elkhart, Evansville and Mishawaka issued proclamations (the 3 Mayors representing over 220,000 Hoosiers). Then, U.S. Senator Evan Bayh issued a letter of support. Today, the Speaker of Indiana's House of Representatives, B. Patrick Bauer, issued a resolution...

"Thus, as a member of the One Hundred and Sixteenth Indiana General Assembly, I hereby honor With Wings and a Halo R.E.A.C.H. a Child by presenting to Mike Roe, Indiana Executive Director, this resolution in formal recognition of its dedicated and outstanding service to the children of the state of Indiana."

My thanks to both Speaker Bauer and his Executive Assistant, Dolly Starnes.

Monday, May 18, 2009

R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana & the Rotary Club of Mishawaka

Yesterday, it was a pancake breakfast, compliments of the Warren Township Fire Department. Today, it was lunch, compliments of the Rotary Club of Mishawaka. I could get used to this! BTW, I'm sorry that the picture here isn't the best. Still, I'm happy to say that everyone at the Rotary Club of Mishawaka was.

While the lunch was great, I was there to work. Specifically, I had been invited to present Indiana's With Wings & a Halo - R.E.A.C.H a Child! to the Rotarians. I can say with complete honesty that it didn't feel like work at all. And, I even reconnected with a friend from middle and high school! Great seeing you again, Scott!

Anyway, this blog is about the efforts of R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana's efforts to use books to put a smile on the face of a Hoosier child in a time of crisis. Still, I'd like to use this post to talk about the Rotary Club's "Four-Way Test of the Things We Think, Say and Do."

Decades ago, Rotarian Herbert Taylor was asked to take control of a company that was on the verge of bankruptcy. In 1932, Mr. Taylor created the following questions for employees to ask themselves in all of their personal and professional dealings:

Of the things we think, say or do...

* Is it the truth?
* Is it fair to all concerned?
* Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
* Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Wouldn't the world be a better place to live and work if we asked ourselves these same questions today? Members of Rotary Clubs around the world do.

Once again, my sincere thanks to Jim, Margaret and all of the members of the Rotary Club of Mishawaka for everything that the club does in practicing "Service Above Self."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Indiana's R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Partners With the Warren Township Fire Department

Just minutes after news of R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana's partnership with the South Bend Police Department hit the airwaves, I received an email from Lee Schmidt, a firefighter with the Warren Township Fire Department. He expressed interest in our B.A.C.K. Packets program ("Become a Cheerful Kid"). Just about 10 days later, I supplied the fire department - our first since launching here in Indiana - with 8 backpacks, each containing 10 - 12 new children's books that Lee and his fellow firefighters can handout to children during a crisis situation.

To help spread the word about Indiana's R.E.A.C.H. a Child!, Lee generously invited me to the station's pancake breakfast this morning. The Warren Township Fire Department even provided me with a booth, so that I could discuss the B.A.C.K. Packets program with those in the community. Not only was the food - pancakes, eggs, hash browns, sausage links and patties, and biscuit and gravy - delicious, but I also had the opportunity to speak with a gentleman who works with the South Bend Fire Department. Now, he's interested in partnering with R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana, as well!

My thanks to Lee for the opportunity to help him and his fellow firefighters to offer yet another service to the community of Warren Township, and for helping me to connect with the South Bend Fire Department. Of course, I'd also like to thank him and all of the Warren Township firefighters for all of the great food. Thanks!

Friday, May 8, 2009

May 11-17 Is “National Children’s Book Week,” and...

“R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Week” in the City of Evansville, thanks to a proclamation from Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel. Mayor Weinzapfel joins the Mayors of Mishawaka and Elkhart in issuing a proclamation, and I would like to thank them for their efforts to raise awareness of our non-profit.

Regardless of whether or not you live in Evansville, here are some ways that you can help Indiana’s R.E.A.C.H. a Child! to help both first-responders and Hoosier children during Children’s Book/R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Week:

* Click the “Donate” button at the bottom of this post and make a tax-deductible financial contribution using your PayPal account
* Arrange a corporate donation
* Join the With Wings and a Halo - R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana facebook cause
* Add a link to Indiana's R.E.A.C.H. a Child! on your website
* Work at a bookstore? Then, consider following the lead of Olivia Jobe - the Store Manager at Elkhart’s Waldenbooks - and host a month-long book drive on our behalf
* If you’re a student at one of Indiana's colleges or universities, and if you're also a member of a student organization, please consider holding a campus-wide book drive
* Politicians can issue a proclamation, resolution or letter of support to help raise awareness of our non-profit
* Finally, if you're a first responder (police, sheriff, fire or EMS), please contact me by either calling 574-707-2727 or emailing me at to set-up a short presentation. Note: there’s no charge whatsover in supplying your department with backpacks

And, if you can’t lend your support next week, please mark the following dates on your calendar:

June 14, 2009: "With Wings and a Halo - R.E.A.C.H. a Child Awareness Day" (Elkhart)

October 2009: "R.E.A.C.H. a Child Month" (Mishawaka)

Again, thank you Mayor Weinzapfel.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Book Drive At Waldenbooks In Elkhart Ends. But, At R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana, It's Just the Beginning For the 300+ Books.

On April 20, I wrote a post here about how Hoosiers in Elkhart were helping Hoosiers across the state by donating books to Indiana's R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Over 140 books were donated. That was really great, but it gets even better. That's because, this past Tuesday, Olivia Jobe - the Store Manager at Elkhart's Waldenbooks - delivered another 214 books!

Because of the generosity of Olivia, her team, and the people of Elkhart, 344 children in Northern Indiana experiencing a traumatic situation will receive a new book from a police officer or firefighter. On behalf of those kids, as well as everyone at With Wings & a Halo - R.E.A.C.H. a Child!, thank you Elkhart, Olivia and the entire team at Waldenbooks.