Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You've Read About R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana In the News. Now, Watch R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana On the News

WW&AH - R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana Article on WSJV Fox 28

South Bend police have a new outreach program

It's not easy to comfort a child who has been through a crisis.

But South Bend police will be trying to help connect with them by giving them a backpack full of new books. It's part of a program called, "With Wings & a Halo - Reach a Child."

The program is giving the department 100 backpacks containing 10 - 12 new children's books.

Officers will give them out to kids they are trying to help, for example, at a house fire, an auto accident or domestic dispute.

Sgt. Lee Ross of the South Bend Police Department says, "We feel it's a great opportunity to engage the children, to help them read, and it helps relieve the stress of the kid who is in crisis."

The With Wings & a Halo program is a non-profit organization which relies on private donations and book drives at major retailers.

And it is the fastest growing crime prevention program in the Midwest.

South Bend Tribune Article About R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana

Books used in police outreach
Officers get kids books to hand out during crises, patrols.

Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — South Bend police officers were handed a new crime-fighting tool on Tuesday — backpacks filled with children's books.

Police received 100 backpacks, each filled with 10 to 12 children's books, from the "With Wings & a Halo — REACH a Child" organization, which provides police departments with books to hand out to children.

With Tuesday's donation, the South Bend Police Department became the first in the state to use the program, which started two years ago in Wisconsin and has spread to 10 states. Next week, police in LaPorte also will begin participating in the program.

The fast-growing program relies on a simple concept — providing police with children's books to distribute during emergency situations.

Sgt. Lee Ross said officers can hand out the books to children they meet — at the scenes of car accidents, patrolling through neighborhoods or while officers talk with their parents.

Ross said the books will help build relationships with children as well as calm them down during emergencies.

All of the books and backpacks were donated to the department from the nonprofit "With Wings and a Halo" organization, which received many of the books as donations.

Mike Roe, executive director of the organization in Indiana, said the goal is twofold: to help encourage literacy in children and to put a smile on the face of a child in a time of need.

There are no costs to the department for participating in the program, and officers can volunteer to carry the backpacks in their cars. Each backpack will carry a variety of books, suitable for children up to 12 years of age.

South Bend Police Chief Darryl Boykins praised the program and said it can help reduce crime in the future.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Executive Director of Indiana's R.E.A.C.H. a Child! To Appear On WSBT

Mike Roe, Indiana's Executive Director of With Wings & a Halo - R.E.A.C.H. a Child!, is scheduled to appear on WSBT's morning show Tuesday, April 28. Currently, he's scheduled to be interviewed around 6:40 AM.

Following the interview, he'll conduct a joint press conference with Sergeant Lee Ross of the South Bend Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit. The press conference will be held at 701 W. Sample Street, and begins at 10:00 AM.

If you're up early Tuesday morning, be sure to tune in to WSBT's morning show. And, if you're in the area and have the time, be sure to stop by the press conference.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

S.B.P.D. & R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana Announce Joint Press Conference


Sergeant Lee Ross
South Bend Police Department - Crime Prevention Unit
701 W. Sample Street
South Bend, IN 46601

Mike Roe
Executive Director
With Wings & a Halo - R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana
622 Donmoyer Avenue
South Bend, IN 46614
574-707-2727 [blog] [lens]


Endorsed by Senator Evan Bayh, as well as Mishawaka and Elkhart Mayors Rea and Moore, With Wings & a Halo - R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana partners with the South Bend Police Department to distribute new children’s books to area children experiencing a crisis situation.

South Bend, IN -- April 22, 2009 -- At 10:00 AM on Tuesday, April 28, the South Bend Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit and With Wings and a Halo - R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana will conduct a joint press conference to announce their partnership in distributing backpacks with new children’s books to South Bend children experiencing a crisis situation. 100 backpacks, each containing 10 - 12 new children’s books will be provided free-of-charge to the department and, ultimately, distributed by various uniformed police cars, the detective bureau and other specialty units within the South Bend Police Department. The press conference will be held at the South Bend Police Department at 701 W. Sample Street in South Bend, Indiana.

The mission of R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana (Reading Enjoyment Affects Childhood Happiness) is to put a smile on the face of a Hoosier child in a time of need. Thanks to the efforts of South Bend Mayor Luecke’s office, specifically those of his Director of Communications, Mikki Dobski, as well as to those of Sergeant Lee Ross of the South Bend Police Department, R.E.A.C.H., the partnership is the first step in fulfilling the 501(c)(3) non-profit's mission in every city across each of Indiana’s 92 counties.

Founded in Waunakee, Wisconsin in late 2007 by Paul and Chris Gilbertson, With Wings and a Halo - R.E.A.C.H. a Child! has since expanded throughout Wisconsin and into California, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio, New York and Indiana. R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana provides law enforcement and other first responders (fire/EMS), as well as social workers, with a backpack containing 10-12 new children's books that they can then distribute to children at the scene of a crisis or emergency such as an auto accident, house fire, domestic dispute or natural disaster. Referred to as the B.A.C.K. Packets program (Become a Cheerful Kid), the program does not cost departments a single penny, and does not require any paperwork as to when, why or to whom the books are distributed.

R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana is supported by Hoosiers through the private donation of time, new children’s books and money; booksellers throughout Indiana, such as Olivia Jobe, the Store Manager at Elkhart's Waldenbooks/Borders, that conduct book drives on R.E.A.C.H.’s behalf; corporate donations; and, grants.

For more information about Sergeant Ross and the South Bend Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit or Mike Roe and R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana, please visit or

# # #

About Sergeant Lee Ross:
Sergeant Lee Ross is with the Crime Prevention Unit of the South Bend Police Department. The S.B.P.D.’s Crime Prevention Unit is tasked with providing citizens in the community with the information, tools and resources to not only keep themselves from becoming a victim of a crime, but also to make South Bend a safer place to live and to do business. A security expert and crime prevention specialist, Sergeant Ross has been interviewed on and has appeared on radio shows such as Let’s Talk Home Security. In 2005, the American Crime Prevention Institute certified Sgt. Ross a Crime Prevention Specialist.

About Mike Roe:
Mike Roe is the Executive Director of With Wings & a Halo - R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana. Born in South Bend, Indiana and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Mike lived in Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo, California for almost 15 years, where he worked in advertising and marketing as a copywriter. During that time, he concepted campaigns and wrote copy for the motion picture industry, toy companies, interactive gaming publishers, plastic surgeons and Vegas casinos. In 2009, he returned to his home state to head-up the efforts of R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hoosiers In Elkhart Helping Hoosiers Across the State

We’ve all heard the news about how bad Elkhart’s economy is. Well, here’s some good news. When it comes to lending a helping hand, Hoosier’s there are still willing to lend a helping hand, in the form of donating a book, to help a child in a time of need.

It started when Oliva Jobe, the Store Manager of Elkhart’s Waldenbooks, agreed to hold a book drive during the month of April for R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana. During that time, she and her team collected over 140 books, including:

* Scholastic’s “I Spy Letters & Numbers”
* LIFE’s “Can You Spot the Differences? Original Picture Puzzle”
* “Believe. The Words and Inspiration of Desmond Tutu”
* “Ptolemy’s Gate,” Book Three of Jonathan Stroud’s "Bartimaeus Trilogy"
* Baby Einstein’s “Animal Homes”
* Cranium’s “Data Head Book of Outrageous Fun!” (Illustrations by Baseman)
* Sesame Street’s “Follow Elmo”
* “Incredible 3D Stereograms - Eye Tricks”
* Eric Carle’s “10 Little Rubber Ducks” (Winner of 2003’s Laura Ingall Wilder Award)
* Disney’s “5-Minute Stories of Friendship”
* Ed Emberley’s “Big Purple Drawing Book”
* “The Icky, Sticky and GROSS Fascinating Fact Book”

That’s how it started–Olivia saying “yes." Then, hundreds of other Hoosiers said the same thing. And, that’s truly great. But, it gets even better, because it’s not over. Oliva extended the book drive through the first week of May! So, if you’re looking for a good book to read and you happen to live in or around the area, please visit the Waldenbooks in Elkhart. When you do, be sure to thank Olivia and her team. And, of course, please consider donating a book to R.E.A.C.H. a Child! Indiana.

Thank you, Olivia, and thank you to all of the Elkhart men, women and children who, in donating a new book, helped to make a difference in the lives of over 140 Hoosier children.