R.E.A.C.H. Board Members Look Forward to Enriching Young Lives

REACH Board membersIn their inaugural meeting, board members for Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui’s R.E.A.C.H. initiative discussed ways in which they can enrich the lives of middle/intermediate school students through the program.  The Board is comprised of a consortium of community leaders who have joined the Lieutenant Governor to improve the outcomes of youth in the middle school years.  The board members are Kathryn Matayhoshi, Department of Education Superintendent; Duane Kurisu, owner of Aio Group; Bob Barlow, Oceanic Time Warner Cable CEO and President; Keith Amemiya, Board of Education member; Micah Kane, Kamehameha Schools Board of Trustees Chair; Kelvin Taketa, Hawaii Community Foundation CEO and President; Leslie Wilkens, Maui Economic Development Board Vice President; Kamanaopono Crabbe, Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO.

R.E.A.C.H., which stands for Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture and Health, is an initiative that intends to provide an organizational framework for after-school programs for students in grades 6 to 8 throughout the state.

A multitude of studies have declared that effective and positive after-school programs providenot only an educational benefit to students, but also a social value to the overall community by reducing juvenile crime. The state has long focused on providing after-school programs to our state’s elementary and high school students, however, there is no comprehensive program at the intermediate/middle school level. The majority of existing intermediate/middle school programs are supported by unpredictable federal funding. A more reliable source of funding is needed to provide greater stability and higher rates of participation. Using a community basedapproach, the initiative will utilize federal and state funds, while also partnering with the schools, parents and the private sector to provide necessary funding and resources.

R.E.A.C.H. will work with the organizations currently utilizing successful platforms throughout the state to bring these programs under one umbrella organization. This initiative seeks to help reverse the high school dropout crisis by stopping disconnection where it takes hold – in the middle school years. It will provide students at all middle/intermediate schools within the state, the opportunity to participate in after-school programs and improve outcomes in attendance, behavior, and course work/grades. Programs offered will be from three general categories—academic enrichment, arts and culture, and athletics.

The Honolulu Professionals Foundation (HPF) is coordinating a fundraiser for R.E.A.C.H. on Sunday, June 30 at the Pagoda Restaurant.  Tickets are $75 prior to June 20 ($90 after).  Go to REACHOUTHAWAII.org for more information. HPF, a 501(c)(3) organization, is a fun group of growing professionals dedicated to building a lasting positive legacy in the community through strategic partnerships and giving.  It has raised more than $55,000 for several local organizations, including Sunshine Kids, the Hawaii High School Athletic Association’s Save Our Sports Campaign, the Hawaii Chapter of the Aloha Medical Mission.  For more information on HPF:  honoluluprofessionals.org