(The staff at REACH is anxious to reach its capacity of 49 at its new childcare facility adjacent to the Opportunity Foundation in Redmond. (LR) Rhiannon Safford, development director; Jenny McKenzie, executive director and Gale Stoner, lead teacher | Photo by John Bruce)
For the first time in seven months, REACH Redmond has resumed services at the main site on SW 15th Street and also at the new eastside location adjacent to the Opportunity Foundation at 835 East Hwy. 126, Redmond.
In addition to the school age activities REACH has been providing for more than seven years, it has expanded to include a licensed childcare, able to serve 49 youth from infant through pre-school. The facility reopened with two preschoolers on September 20. The staff is anxious to rapidly reach capacity with its unique program, according to Jenny McKenzie, executive director.
In partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Redmond, the project, spearheaded by Redmond’s 2021 Citizen of the Year, Alan Unger, has been a labor of love to bring together two nonprofits which have stood the test of time for over 25 years in the Redmond community. “We have been trying to solve the childcare problem in Redmond for nearly three decades,” said Unger. “By joining the Redmond Learning Center and Childcare with REACH, we are eliminating dual overhead costs and providing stability for long term sustainability.”
“We are creating connections for our youth to thrive in our community,” said McKenzie, who has been leading the advancements at REACH since 2014 when it was still the Boys and Girls Club.
“We provide meaningful, fun, real-world experiences, so they can find themselves and their strengths,” she added, noting the inclusion of Pawsitive Choices, Stretch and Grow and Parents as Teachers curriculum has raised the level of services that really make REACH stand above traditional childcare models. “Our focus is on the development of the whole family. We provide a continuity of care from infancy through adulthood.” Home visits are an option to provide support to families as they navigate the ever changing landscape of child development.
REACH was able to expand its programs to pre-school children after receiving a $200,000 grant for start-up costs spearheaded by Rep. Jack Zika from the Oregon Legislature.
With grants from such businesses as Hayden Homes, the facility has been remodeled and furnished and the curriculum purchased specifically for that age group.
Both REACH programs have suffered during the pandemic. Because it lost its bus drivers during the pandemic, the westside location is serving only elementary students from Lynch Elementary School because they are within walking distance of the facility, McKenzie said.
In November, they will begin using a 12-passenger van to bring students from John Tuck Elementary to REACH after school. The middle school activities will begin for youth who attend Obsidian. She is hoping to re-establish the REACH before-school program, but without reliable bus drivers, it will be a challenge to return to the robust 100+ students that were attending daily before the pandemic.
Pre-school enrollment is open to all families, McKenzie said. The Early Child Development Site accepts DHS payment and operates from 7:30am to 5:30pm Monday through Friday. Due to the commitment to ongoing advancement, REACH is closed the first Friday of each month for staff preparations, planning and training.
Full-time cost for three- to five-year-olds is $800 a month and $1,000 for two- to three-year-olds. Half-time attendees are welcome. Infants six weeks through 23 months ($1200) will be accommodated with the addition of grant funding in November. Food service will be added when enrollment increases, until then, families are asked to send a healthy sack lunch.
Enroll on-line at reachredmond.org or in person at the REACH Early Child Development Site. Phone 541-923-4854.