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  • Writer's pictureShelly Peterson

The Reach Program - A Platform For Your Voice To Be Heard

Updated: Apr 14, 2022

NOTE: Since the time of the Hidden Gem visit, Sarah Mangan has resigned as the PCN coordinator. The new PCN coordinator is Cara Keinanen.

If you’ve met the staff from the Reach Program, you know the passion they hold for their jobs. The REACH Program is rooted in youth adult partnerships. So parents and educators in Carlton County, we have an awareness message for you. Reach provides support to youth ages 10-21 in most schools in Carlton County (they are not in the elementary schools) providing meaningful tutoring and group based mentoring opportunities, during and after school. In years past, youth activities have included recreational, social, and service-based ventures. Group activities have included skiing and snowboarding, hockey games, canoeing, movies, and local service projects. The crux of the program is to provide youth the opportunity for group social capital and support. “Partnering with peers lowers risks and increases protective factors for youth providing positive group community,” said Executive Director Dakota Koski.

REACH envisions a community where every youth experiences a variety of positive and encouraging relationships that provide a sense of belonging and allows each youth the ability to achieve their full potential both individually and as members of the community. REACH provides opportunities with youth who are looking for youth-adult partnerships in their life, to foster self-esteem, build developmental relationships, and a sense of belonging within themselves, their families, their school, and our community.

The goal of the organization is to build protective factors in youth that will lead them to thrive in our community. Positive indicators include: increase attendance and participation in school, prosocial behavior and activities, or engaging in the community with peers and supportive adults. REACH personalizes each goal with each youth. REACH Program challenges youth to step outside their comfort zone, to build trust, and to share fears and successes with their peers and adult supporters. One of the goals for the upcoming year, is to create stronger developmental relationships and youth-adult partnerships in a mutually respectful and safe community. This is done together through group programming, Students Offering Support (SOS) Program, Youth Advisory Board, and service-learning community projects. Increasing group activities created and developed by REACH participants, which helps REACH to develop innovative programming that positively address youths’ challenges. REACH engages and motivates youth, encouraging them to discover their strengths within our community. REACH’s safe, respectful, and caring environment helps young people to discover they are resilient and that their future is hopeful.

REACH Program has 250 active youth on a grass roots level in the County providing programs such as SOS in schools – students offering support and After School Activities. For your child to become a REACH participant in the schools, parents or guardians are able to sign their children up or another pathway is from referrals from working professionals, such as probation officers, social workers, in-school support workers, school councilors, etc.

You may also have seen various Reach fundraising events to support their work, annually they host a golf tournament. They also offer a limited number of scholarships for youth. If you’re an advocate for youth, REACH is also in need of Board members.

In July 2021, REACH received a $920,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services to further their work to reduce drug and alcohol use through positive community norms over the next five years in Carlton County. The goal is to come up with positive activities, people and ways students can spend their time other than using drugs and alcohol. Cara Keinanen was hired to work with the current REACH staff, including executive director Dakota Koski and program coordinator Anne Parish, on this goal.

REACH Program Office: 218-451-0183

1001 Stanley Ave, Suite 200 Cloquet, MN 55720

To learn more download the electronic business card for Dakota, Anne, Cara

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