The REACH Center celebrates 10th year providing services and support to young people facing socioeconomic and racial barriers to success
The REACH Center (REACH), a Tacoma-based youth and young adult services agency, celebrates its 10th year providing career, education, housing, and life skills development programs to young people ages 16-24 throughout the Greater Puget Sound Region. The anniversary year is recognized with a new organization mission video and logo debuted at celebratory events earlier this morning with community partners and individuals who have received support from REACH over the years.
Since its inception in 2009, The REACH Center has been instrumental in helping tens of thousands of youth. At the forefront of housing interventions, REACH led the launch of Pierce County’s rapid rehousing work for young people in 2012 and more recently, the organization initiated a programmatic focus on preventing youth homelessness. REACH has also placed more than 800 Tacoma students into summer jobs, working with more than 100 regional employers through the City of Tacoma’s Summer Jobs 253 program. It helps hundreds more annually earn industry-recognized certifications with its onsite programs operated by Goodwill, ResCare, Job Corps and others. Onsite Goodwill programs offer barista training, a popular YouthBuild program, and a GED program that graduates, on average, three to five students per month. The regional community and technical colleges have also partnered with REACH to develop pathways to post-secondary opportunities for all young people.
Heading into its 10th year, REACH is celebrating incredible positive community changes, including a massive increase in Tacoma high school graduation rates from 55 percent in 2010 to 89 percent in 2018; a huge decrease in overall gang activity and the proportion of youth and young adults involved in gangs, from 65.5 percent in 2011 to 32.3 percent in 2018; and the creation of a strong continuum of care for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness.
“This major milestone year for The REACH Center would not be possible without the support of our partners,” said Nick Bayard, Director of REACH. “We look forward to many more years learning and growing alongside our community in order to continue to deliver tangible supports such as education, employment and housing services along with the intangible supports of community connection, personal growth and empowerment, and restorative practices.”
The REACH Center’s success and impact is built on community partnerships. REACH is hosted in Goodwill’s Milgard Work Opportunity Center, which was built with enormous community support for Goodwill’s workforce development programs and with the intention of creating and supporting the organization.
REACH is fiscally sponsored by Tacoma Community House, and its co-located partners include include Mockingbird Society, Consejo Counseling, Vadis, School’s Out Washington, Comprehensive Life Resources, Metropolitan Development Council, TeamChild, DSHS, and Oasis Youth Center.
It also garners support from private institutions with more flexible funding, like The Russell Family Foundation, which has provided critical support for its Housing 4 Success program that helps homeless youth transition into permanent housing. This support has encompassed covering legal fee costs, transportation assistance, professional work attire, apartment furnishings and other emergency needs to help young people learn how to live on their own in a stable environment.
“REACH is one of those organizations that acts quietly but is having a tremendous and important impact on our community and young people of promise,” said Holly Powers, Senior Program Officer at The Russell Family Foundation. “By supporting REACH’s Housing 4 Success program, we can help provide much-needed services, like clothing or transportation, that other less flexible funding may not be able to cover.”
Looking at the next 10 years, REACH is working to develop and act as an anti-racist institution aiming to combat ongoing disparities related to educational metrics, homelessness data, criminal justice outcomes and access to behavioral and physical health systems. It is focused on becoming more of a healing-focused organization, understanding that trauma is often the most critical barrier to self-realization and true personal freedom. REACH is also working to deepen its existing partnership and develop new partnerships that will expand the breadth of programming it offers.
“We are grateful for all of the community support that has allowed us to grow to our current level of impact,” Bayard said. “We aim to honor that support by working hard to keep that momentum going for this next generation of youth and young adults.”
For more information on The REACH Center, visit https://reachtacoma.org
About The REACH Center
The REACH Center is a nationally unique youth and young adult one-stop service agency built on community partnerships, developed as a response to extraordinary challenges facing young people in the Greater Puget Sound region, on the premise that a community can accomplish far more together than it can by operating in individual silos. The REACH Center co-locates a strong continuum of youth service agencies and educational institutions to provide low-barrier access to a robust continuum of resources and allies for young people facing barriers to success in their lives. Services include providing career, education, and life skills development programs to young people ages 16-24.
– The REACH Center