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.

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