The REACH Mentoring Ministry began in 2016 officially, but it began long ago in my heart. All my life I felt drawn to help and encourage those in hard situations and it was cemented in my mind with a dream from God about having a camp for kids and helping orphans when I was a teenager and was involved in helping others whenever I had an opportunity.
I became a foster parent in 2012. I watched the movie CAMP in 2015 and learned about the Royal Family Kids Camp which existed just for foster youth. I became the camp nurse for RFKC camp in 2015 which then led me to volunteer for TeenWorks, the follow-up mentoring program after the camp ended. After learning that Johnston County did not have any program like this, it began my catalyst to start the REACH Mentoring Ministry.
We began having prayer and planning meetings in 2016 at the First Baptist Ministry center and planned a PrayerWalk at Smithfield Park and invited the community to come and pray with us for this ministry for foster and at-risk young people.
We officially became a non-profit in 2018 and our first outreach was our backpack project. We had learned that foster youth are given trash bags for their belongings when they are brought into care, so we began collecting hygiene items, coloring books and crayons, a stuffed animal, and a journal and pen in a tote bag and began distributing them and continue with this outreach today.
We also began having fun events at Falcon Children’s home and Middlesex Children’s home and continued until Covid hit us. We then had to become more creative and so we began collecting items for our “Party in a Box” and distributed them to all the young people that were being isolated in their cottages. This is also an on-going outreach that we do at Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In 2020, we planned a Princess Party and since then we have had birthday parties, graduation parties to reach out to those that need to be reminded that they are not alone, and that God loves them and so do we. We now also have a volunteer that is willing to coordinate planning all the upcoming parties which is a great blessing.
We launched our 1st annual summer REACH camp in 2021 with 4 girls and we had a wonderful summer intern that helped us with this. We have continued to have a camp and we have had lots of fun with the girls, and it provides lots of time to mentor and share God’s love with them.
In 2022, we had another intern that suggested starting a REACH mentoring club at South Smithfield Elementary School and we began with 6 girls. It was so successful that we are now doing 3 mentoring clubs, one for 10 Middle school girls, and 2 others at Smithfield Selma high school. We have wonderful volunteers who have grown to love our girls and are always eager to help with transportation, delivering goody bags, or other ways that we need.
In addition to this, we have been able to help assist with housing for aged-out youth which provided mentoring opportunities to help them navigate adulting.
We are now beginning mentoring training for our volunteers who would like to pursue more opportunities to mentor young people and help them learn life skills they will need to succeed in life.
In 2024, we have been blessed with office space so that we can collect, organize, pack and distribute donations more easily and are always looking for available volunteers to help with this ongoing need.
We are so thankful how we are continuing to grow which enables us to meet many of the needs all around us, but as we grow, we do need more volunteers to help with a variety of needs.
One thing that I always share when I have the privilege to speak to churches or businesses is 3 things I know, 1 - It is God’s heart to care for the orphans, 2 - He has given me a very strong passion to help support, and 3 - the need is great.
If you would like to partner with us or learn more about our ministry, please feel free to send us an email or text or call and we will be happy to share more about opportunities you could participate in.
R.E.A.C.H Mentoring Ministries is an IRS registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.