Community Papers

Face to Face: Reach hopes to raise the roof

Joni Wright is the event coordinator for Reach for the Stars: Raising the Roof for Reach, which happens Saturday, March 1, at Harris Barn. - Robert Mangelsdorf photo
Joni Wright is the event coordinator for Reach for the Stars: Raising the Roof for Reach, which happens Saturday, March 1, at Harris Barn.
— image credit: Robert Mangelsdorf photo

Joni Wright knows how to throw party, and she’s hoping this year’s Reach for the Stars event is the best yet.

Wright is the event coordinator for Reach Child and Youth Development Society’s annual fundraising gala, which will benefit Reach’s Building for Children Together project to build a new, community-based child development centre in Ladner for children with special needs and their families. The Ladner-based non-profit charitable organization has been providing services to children and their families since 1959, currently serving more than 1,000 children and their families. Reach provides an array of services for children with developmental disabilities, including children with autism, Down syndrome and FASD.

As a former volunteer with Reach, Wright has seen firsthand the amazing work the organization does and the positive impact it can have on a young person’s life.

While a volunteer, Wright helped develop a cooking program for high functioning youth.

“The idea was to give the kids some basic cooking skills so when they’re on their own, they won’t be living off of McDonald’s and pizza pops,” she says.

Unfortunately, many families have difficulty accessing Reach’s programs because their current location is in a remote corner of rural East Ladner on 72nd Avenue, and isn’t serviced by public transit.

Wright says Reach’s proposed new facility, to be located in Downtown Ladner, will change that.

The project is a partnership between the Corporation of Delta, Reach Child and Youth Development Society and the Ladner Tsawwassen Kinsmen Club, with the municipality providing the land, valued at more than $1 million.

With help from businesses, individuals, and service clubs in the community, the campaign to build the new facility has already raised $1.3 million of its $4 million goal.

Wright says she hopes this year’s gala will get them even closer to their goal.

This year’s event, called Raising the Roof for Reach, has a western theme and will take place at the Harris Barn in Ladner. The event features a barbecue buffet dinner, live bluegrass music, inspiring youth speakers and performers, silent auction, Air Canada Foundation complimentary ticket raffle, a 50/50 raffle, and a live auction with auctioneer and Delta Councillor Ian Paton.

Last year’s event raised more than $50,000 towards the new facility, and Wright hopes to top that this year.

“It’s a great opportunity to help build our community,” says Wright.

It’s also going to be a lot of fun.

“We’re going to make sure every guest who leaves the event says, ‘Wow, that was fantastic!’”

Reach for the Stars: Raising the Roof for Reach takes place Saturday, March 1, at the Harris Barn in Ladner. For tickets call 604-946-6622 ext. 0, or visit www.reachforthestarsevent.org

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