About REACH-A-Child™

Vision Statement

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

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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.

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.

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
Executive Director
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Sarah Braun
Director of Development & Marketing
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The REACH-A-Child™ Board of Directors

Cory Erickson
Board President
Natasha Vora
President-Elect
Eric Ristau
Secretary
David Fahey
Treasurer
Deputy Kristine Camarillo
At-Large Board Member
Stephanie Hayden
At-Large Board Member
Tara Hembree
At-Large Board Member
Phani Palety
At-Large Board Member
Jeff Schweitzer
At-Large Board Member
Hywania Thompson
At-Large Board Member

The REACH-A-Child™ Advisory Council

Chief Steven Davis
Madison Fire Dept.
Mayor Paul Esser
City of Sun Prairie
Chief Charles Foulke
Middleton Police Dept.
Officer Tommy Foy
Sun Prairie Police Dept.
Chief Chris Garrison
Sun Prairie Fire Dept.
Sheriff John Gossage (Ret.)
Brown County
Chief Aaron Harris
Middleton Fire Dept.
Chief Mike Koval (Ret.)
Madison Police Dept.
Captain Adrian Logan
WI State Patrol
Sheriff Dave Mahoney
Dane County
Officer Kate Mann
Oshkask Police Dept.