About REACH-A-Child™

Vision Statement 

“The First Response is a Book for Every Child-In-Crisis.”


Mission Statement

To provide First Responders with REACH BAGs filled with books and drawstring backpacks to help comfort children-in-crisis.

The REACH BAG Program operates as follows: Each squad or emergency vehicle is equipped with a First Responder BAG containing the following: 20 children’s books & drawstring backpacks. When First Responders encounter a child-in-crisis, they offer the child a book which the child gets to keep. The First Responder also gives the child a drawstring backpack to put the book in – and anything else the child might have to keep with them. The cost of the BAG also includes one annual refill of the books and the children’s backpacks.

Our Results

Children are immediately comforted and their attention directed away from the crisis at hand. First Responders consistently report that the act of giving the child a book immediately calms them and helps them to cope with the situation around them. As one officer reported, “…after getting my REACH BAG, I offered a book to the little girl who was extremely frightened. She was instantly comforted and became far less fearful.”

A second result is that First Responders feel good about their jobs and what they do. REACH staff hear from First Responders all the time that the act of giving the book and seeing the child become less fearful, helps them to feel good about what they doing. After helping a homeless family, one officer reported that she “left feeling better about my job knowing that simple contacts aided with things like the donated books can really make a difference.”

Neuroscience Research reports that the brain can only concentrate on one thing at a time. By giving a child a book, their attention turns away from the crisis to the person with the book!

Marquette University study shows that this program can reduce the impact of PTSD in children in these instances.

Our Needs

REACH-A-Child™ is a Madison-based non-profit currently partnering with First Responders in many communities across Wisconsin. This effort involves the creation of REACH BAGs* which are then delivered to the offices of the First Responders. This takes time and money. As we aren’t selling the books or BAGs, we rely upon sponsors to support our program since local departments cannot include this costs in their budgets.

Given our local community focus — helping YOUR police, fire, ambulance, etc. — we hope you will agree this is a GREAT way for your business to support your local First Responders! Please join us as we help First Responders to put a smile on the face of every child-in-crisis.

* This program does not discriminate, as emergencies happen to everyone no matter what their income level, race OR beliefs.

REACH-A-Child™ is a 501(c)3. All donations are tax-deductible 

The REACH-A-Child™ Team

  • Curt Fuszard
    Curt FuszardExecutive Director
  • Jamie Gurgul
    Jamie GurgulDirector of Development & Marketing
  • Patricia Sugden
    Patricia SugdenProgram Coordinator
  • Eric Salzwedel
    Eric SalzwedelMarketing & Development Director

The REACH-A-Child™ Board of Directors

  • Tim Powers
      Tim PowersPresident

      President & CEO of Mass Mutual- Wisconsin

    • Cory Erickson
        Cory EricksonTreasurer/President-Elect

        President & CEO at Career Momentum, Inc.

      • Eric Ristau
          Eric RistauSecretary

          Attorney at Eustice, Laffey, Sebranek & Auby, S.C.

        • Kevin Campos
            Kevin CamposBoard Member

            Real Estate Broker at Campos Realty Group/Howard and Williams

          • Chariti Gent
            Chariti GentBoard Member
            President, Chariti Gent Coaching and Consulting
          • Kay-Tee Olds
              Kay-Tee OldsBoard Member

              President – Engaging Results Communications

              Co-Founder – Madison Noteworthy

            • Phani Palety
                Phani PaletyBoard Member

                CEO – Technoviz

              • Jeff Schroeter
                  Jeff SchroeterBoard Member

                  Community Relations and Charitable Giving at Metcalfe’s

                • Tracy Schweitzer
                    Tracy SchweitzerBoard Member

                    Talent Development Vice President
                    American Family Insurance

                  • Natasha Vora
                      Natasha VoraBoard Member

                      Director of Consumer Strategies at Rev360

                    The REACH-A-Child™ Advisory Council

                    • Deputy Kristine Camarillo
                        Deputy Kristine CamarilloDeputy

                        Milwaukee County Sheriff Department

                      • Chief Steven Davis
                          Chief Steven Davis

                          Fire Chief
                          Madison Fire Department

                        • Mayor Paul Esser
                            Mayor Paul Esser

                            City of Sun Prairie

                          • Chief Charles Foulke
                              Chief Charles Foulke

                              Police Chief
                              Middleton Police Department

                            • Officer Tommy Foy
                                Officer Tommy Foy

                                Sun Prairie Police Department

                              • Chief Chris Garrison
                                  Chief Chris Garrison

                                  Fire Chief
                                  Sun Prairie Fire Department

                                • Sheriff John Gossage
                                    Sheriff John Gossage

                                    Brown County Sheriff Department

                                  • Chief Aaron Harris
                                      Chief Aaron Harris

                                      Fire Chief
                                      Middleton Fire Department

                                    • Chief Mike Koval
                                        Chief Mike Koval

                                        Police Chief
                                        Madison Police Department

                                      • Captain Adrian Logan
                                          Captain Adrian Logan

                                          Wisconsin State Patrol-North Central Region

                                        • Sheriff Dave Mahoney
                                            Sheriff Dave Mahoney

                                            Dane County Sheriff Department

                                          Departments partnering with REACH-A-Child

                                          • Adams County Sheriff    (12)
                                          • Argyle Police, Fire, and EMS    (4)
                                          • Baraboo Police, Fire, and EMS   (25)
                                          • Belleville Police and EMS   (3)
                                          • Brown County Sheriff  (9)
                                          • Cambridge Fire & EMS (8)
                                          • Children’s Advocacy Center-Eau Claire   (7)
                                          • Columbia County Sheriff  (20)
                                          • Cross Plains Police  (3)
                                          • Cuba City Police  (4)
                                          • Dane County Sheriff  (30)
                                          • Deforest Police, Fire, and EMS  (9)
                                          • Fall River Police  (2)
                                          • Fitchburg Police and Fire   (20)
                                          • Fitch-Rona EMS   (5)
                                          • Green County EMS  (6)
                                          • Janesville Police, Fire, and EMS    (37)
                                          • Keewaunee County Sheriff   (20)
                                          • Kilbourn Fire and EMS  (7)
                                          • Lafayette County Sheriff   (24)
                                          • Lake Delton Police and Fire  (2) (Partial)
                                          • Little Chute Fire  (3)
                                          • Lodi Police Department  (4)
                                          • Madison Police and Fire  (111)
                                          • Marquette County Sheriff  (16)
                                          • Mauston EMS  (3)
                                          • Marshfield Fire and EMS (4)
                                          • McFarland Police, Fire, and EMS   (12)
                                          • Medford Police, Fire, and EMS  (8)
                                          • Mequon Police  (13)
                                          • Middleton Police, Fire, and EMS (21)
                                          • Milwaukee County Sheriff  (125)
                                          • Milwaukee Police   (1) (Partial)
                                          • Milton Fire (3)
                                          • Monroe Police and Fire  (16)
                                          • Mount Horeb Fire  (1)  (Partial)
                                          • Nunda Fire (5)
                                          • Oregon Fire and EMS   (5)
                                          • Oshkosh Police and Fire  (34)
                                          • Osseo Police  (2)
                                          • Platteville Police  (6)
                                          • Prairie Du Sac Fire  (1)
                                          • Poynette Police  (6)

                                          *All REACH BAGs comfort 20 children-in-crisis.

                                          • Richland Center Police (4)
                                          • Rio Police Department  (2)
                                          • Riverside Fire   (6)
                                          • Ryan Brothers Ambulance  (2)
                                          • Sauk City Fire  (6)
                                          • Sauk County Sheriff  (25)
                                          • Sauk Prairie Police  (5)
                                          • Slinger Police  (6)
                                          • Shorewood Hills Police  (3)
                                          • Southwest Health Center EMS  (3)
                                          • Sun Prairie Police, Fire, and EMS  (24)
                                          • Taylor County Sheriff  (18)
                                          • Town of Madison Police  (9)
                                          • Trempealeau County Sheriff  (24)
                                          • UW Madison Police Department  (20)
                                          • Verona Police  (10)
                                          • Village of Howard Fire  (5)
                                          • Waunakee Police, Fire, and EMS  (28)
                                          • Winnebago County Sheriff  (24)
                                          • Wisconsin Dells Police  (6)
                                          • Wisconsin State Patrol – All Regions  (408)