R.E.A.C.H. in the Pandemic
To say these are “unprecedented times” feels a little understated sometimes. As we reach out to connect with one another, I cannot help but feel the pandemic has been more of a bittersweet interruption to our lives. The nature of this pandemic has caused many sorrows; the loneliness that comes from separation of family and friends, loss of loved ones, economic hardships. It has also forced us to slow down, to take more time with family in the home, to reconnect in deeper and even more meaningful ways than usual…. bittersweet.
When R.E.A.C.H. came together, we were at the beginning of the process of reframing our program. We were busy refreshing and updating our website, looking through archived material to provide a window in the history of our social-cultural beginnings and then the pandemic struck. We had to make a decision, do we move forward, continue our work, or take a break and see how this situation played out.
Well armed with several optimists and a resolute belief in our abilities to face the challenge head on, R.E.A.C.H. decided to keep going. Here are a few of the activities R.E.A.C.H. was involved with during the summer months.
The R.E.A.C.H. Legacy Project – Graduates from 2019-2020
After spending many months researching, planning their actions, developing funding proposals, the Grade 8 leadership classes came together and made a decision to use their collective funds provided by the Rotherglen Children’s R.E.A.C.H. Foundation to answer the need of food scarcity. Because food products were not initially accepted at Food for Life, the agency with which the Grade 8’s had partnered. Their collective effort came to $20,000.00! R.E.A.C.H. was able to locate a strategic match so their total donation came to $40,000.00.
With the constraints of the initial lockdown, it became apparent getting together as usual was not going to an option. We were left with the reality that we would not be able to galvanize our community in ways usual to us. So with the “if you can’t do what you do, do what you can” attitude, we looked for another way to connect our families. Out of that came the idea to draw on the concept of a victory garden – again, to help with food scarcity issues that numerous food banks were still experiencing. The goal ? To have enough food grown and fresh fruit and vegetables provided to agencies at harvest.
Supporting our Front Line Workers
We introduced “Life is Beautiful Photography” artist, Donna Charles to our Rotherglen communities, to partner with R.E.A.C.H.. Donna was able to offer a professional photo shoot for Mother’s Day, to commemorate the day and as a enduring record of these historic times. All donations went to funding PPE at the The Oakville Hospital. The success of this initiative, means R.E.A.C.H. will partner with Life is Beautiful Photography during the upcoming holiday season!
R.E.A.C.H. continued through the summer months to work on our website, with the goal to launch by late fall. This site will provide a comprehensive look at our sociocultural education and initiatives through Rotherglen Schools and provide answers to questions on how our student-driven, student-led leadership program works with The Rotherglen Children’s R.E.A.C.H. Foundation.
As we move into fall and come to terms with the new reality that our environment bring us, we are committed to finding ways to connect with our community and provide opportunities for meaningful efforts. We are committed to a focus on reaching out to our community members, be they faculty, students, parents and the greater community. We will continue to operate intentionally and with hope.
© 2021 The R.E.A.C.H. Foundation (Rotherglen Educating in Advocacy, Character, and Hope) | All Rights Reserved
2050 Neyagawa Blvd., Oakville, ON L6H 6R2 | 905-849-1897 ext. 1258 | firstname.lastname@example.org