Our mission is to empower the people we serve to attain their individual goals and aspirations.
Who They Are and What They Do
The English poet Alfred Austin once said, “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” Recently, the Bozeman Area Community Foundation had the chance to partner with Reach, Inc. for a project that will bring this glory of gardening to someone who is passionate about it.
Reach is a private, nonprofit organization that serves adults in Gallatin Valley with developmental or other disabilities. With over 100 clients, Reach has grown substantially since they became an organization in 1974. In fact, they now have over six residential facilities which provide clients with an opportunity to live independently while still receiving support from staff. Due to their impressive fleet of vehicles, Reach is able to provide transportation and recreational services to clients in order to further empower them to be self-sufficient and lead fulfilling lives.
Reach also provides clients with vocational services so they are able to be involved in the community, earn a paycheck, and be independent. In fact, Reach boasts a 94% employment rate, meaning almost all of their 111 clients are employed in the Gallatin Valley, well above the national average of 18% for other agencies with vocational services. Their client’s employers include the Community Food Co-op, The Ridge Athletic Club, Sola Cafe, and many others. Reach also has a Work Center, where clients are able to come for a variety of work, such as assembling truss rods for Gibson Guitar. Through these job placements, they have greater opportunities to connect with other people and engage in meaningful work.
The Willow Townhouse Garden and BACF
One of the supported living locations operated by Reach is called the Willow Townhouse. It is comprised of two houses connected in the middle by an office. Each section has four bedrooms and two bathrooms, housing eight people total. One of the eight clients living at the Townhouse started growing tomato plants in buckets and quickly grew to love gardening. It became apparent that he experienced an inherent joy and satisfaction that stemmed from these gardening projects. Therefore Reach decided to team up with the Bozeman Area Community Foundation to install a raised garden bed at the Willow Townhouse. Using the grant funding they received from BACF, they will be able to purchase the soil, plants, and the necessary materials to build the box.
Besides being a source of activity or fun, gardening is an opportunity for leadership and provision. The staff at Reach noted that having a garden bed will allow their client to contribute to the whole house by providing fresh produce, cutting back on grocery bills, and experiencing a new form of independence. It goes so far beyond simply gardening. It is the kind of gift and activity that continues to give back, to change with the seasons through the promise of growth and rebirth. With spring approaching, the rain and sun have been taking turns to help things grow. The prime time for gardening is upon us and plans for what to grow in the garden bed are already blooming at the Willow Townhouse. After all, gardening is not only something that provides food for the body, but food for the soul.
If you would like to contribute to Reach and the many, many wonderful things they do, you can get in touch with Dee Metrick at (406) 587-1271, or firstname.lastname@example.org. They are always happy to accept donations or volunteer services and they also currently have some job positions open. And don’t forget, this summer on July 4 they will be hosting their annual Race for Independence. Consider being a part of this incredible fundraising event by volunteering or by signing up to run in the 1K, 5K, or 10K.