About Reachout America
Reachout America was incorporated in the state of Georgia in 2005 and received IRS 501(c)3 public charity status in June of 2006. All donations are tax exempt to the fullest extent of the law. Reachout America is dedicated to helping kids across America. While sending kids to camp is our main focus, here are some of the other things we have done to help the children across America.
Education is so very important in today's surroundings and conditions, and we want to make sure the kids have just what they need to make the grade. Help us help the kids with your donations of educational software, school supplies, book bags or cash donations. We will apply these donations to the schools or needy students across America.
Kids without obvious needs need our help too! Children are living on the streets in major cities, small towns, and in most suburbs in the United States. Some kids manage to stay with other kids they meet in cheap hotels, motels, in the parks and abandoned buildings, on the streets, and many other unsavory places. While we can't help every kid directly, we can help the many youth shelters across America.
A percentage of the funds we receive will also be allocated to the development of a new outreach program to assist displaced and homeless at risk youth. Reachout America will cover the travel expenses for kids who have a loving home to return to, and we have preliminary plans in place to offer safe refuge in a supportive environment, and the chance to learn essential life and work skills, for those who don’t. To fully realize the positive impact Reachout America can have in the lives of deserving children, we need the help of people like you.
Children in your community: Do you know of a family in need of our help? Are they just too proud to ask for the help? We would like to hear about these families to see if we can help in some way. You just let us know - we're here for the kids and their families.
Reachout America's Leaders
Reachout America has a volunteer Board of Directors who offer vision and guidance to our mission. Our founder, Bill Chafin, has "a heart for the children" and is actively involved in the day-to-day operations of Reachout America. Mr. Chafin is particularly fond of Hippotherapy camps (Therapeutic Horse Riding), but any camp that serves disabled or special needs children holds a special place in his heart.
The Story of Bill
It was a bitterly cold January evening in 2000, the end of a day Bill thought would never come to an end. It had seemed like an exceptionally long day because the illness that he had been diagnosed with only a few weeks prior suddenly felt real to him. He had been in denial of this disease of Multiple Sclerosis. After all, he thought, how could he - a husband, a devoted father of two beautiful children, a man who had been healthy his whole life - be struck with such a potentially-debilitating, life threatening disease? Bill went through all of the emotions after that chilling diagnosis - denial, sadness, despair, anger - everything anyone could possibly feel. But that particular January evening he felt something very different - as if God himself was whispering to him.
After being totally blind for 5 months and then regaining his vision and was able to behold his wonderful family again, he felt compelled to give back to the universe, to do more to help others, to be of service to the less fortunate. That's when Bill had an epiphany - he would cope with and strive to rise beyond his illness by focusing on the needs of others. Then he asked himself, "Whom should I help?"
Bill always loved children and that was his first thought. He then decided he wanted to focus his energies on helping children with illnesses and disabilities. And so, Bill started the non-profit foundation Reachout America with the mission to send kids with illnesses, disabilities and other hardships to camps that not only could help them be with other children who were dealing with some of the same things they were dealing with, but also help them with other types of therapy.
Since June 2006, with Bill at the helm, Reachout America has not only sent many kids to various camps across the country, including awesome horse riding camps that offer Hippotherapy and space camps for children who dream of flying to the moon. His efforts have not only helped children with Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism, Congenial Heart disease and countless other challenges by coordinating many of the details necessary to have them attend the camps, but also contributes funds to these camps so they can help other kids continue their therapy.
Reachout America continues to both raise money through various unique programs and seek volunteers so that many other children can continue to go to camp and therapy. With your help - the help of individual people and corporate contributors - Bill's personal nightmare has transformed into a blessing and a dream has come true for hundreds of children across America.
Director of Development
Elena Fennell has over 15 years of marketing and advertising experience and has worked for non-profit organizations while on the job as well as volunteering in her personal time. After receiving her Journalism degree (with emphasis in advertising) from the University of Georgia, she worked for Kaiser Kuhn Bennett and Sharp. While there, she worked for clients such as Christian Children's Fund, Alzheimers Foundation, Arthritis Fund and Father Flanagan's Boys Home. Later she worked for Ogilvy and Mather advertising, where she volunteered for the United Way and Habitat for Humanity. She also believes in supporting local non-profit organizations, such as North Fulton charities and now SendAkid2camp.
Joy Peace Meadows
Joy Peace Meadows is a Volunteer at Reachout America. Joy is committed to our mission to provide therapeutic and empowering camp experiences to children with special needs. She is very excited to contribute to improving the quality of life for these kids in such a meaningful and memorable way. With her help, our impact and outreach is growing by leaps and bounds.
Joy's inspiration and driving force is her 9 year old son. Knowing firsthand the intensity of a parent's love and the deep desire it provokes to provide for her child's every need. Joy is especially grateful to have the oportunity to provide resources to help families of children with special needs. Along with this intense compassion and dedication, Joy applies many of the strategies and skills acquired in her extensive management experience to help Reachout America grow. Her knowledge of event planning, fundraising, service projects, and volunteer coordination enables Joy to practically construct sucessful endeavors for our organization. Joy dedicates her exceptionalabilities, enthusiasm, and heart to Reachout America and thr growth of our programming and funding.
One of Joy's most transformative life experiences involved helping a child with special needs attend camp. Joy grew up in Girl Scouts, achieving numerous awards. One summer, she had the distinct honor of participating in Hearts and Hands, a cooperative effort to give girls with limited abilities the opportunity to attend Girl Scout camp with the assistance of a Girl Scout peer who could help with day-to-day needs and functions. During Hearts and Hands, Joy met Sarah. Sarah had profound Down Syndrom and required a great deal of help to care for herself and participate in the various camp activities. Joy helped Sarah get ready for each fun-filled day, assisted her with meals, arts and crafts, and workshops. With Joy's coaching and encouragement, Sarah learned to swim, fish, hike, make s'mores, and sing campfire songs. This was a heart- and eye-opening time that impacted Joy deeply. The friendship she developed with Sarah is one that Joy treasures and remembers fondly, and it has propelled her to do work that has a possitive impact on the world. She dedicates her work here to Sarah, knowing there are numerous deserving children who, like Sarah, will benefit profoundly from positive and empowering camp experiences.
Bianca Palumbo is a high school Junior from Melrose, Massachusetts, and is proud to be the newest member of Reachout America! As an ambitious and dedicated young woman who is always looking for new opportunities and experiences to take on, and active model and spokesperson for various companies, Bianca has graciously stepped up to give of her time and talents to our cause. With her sights set on a Marketing major, and her love for children, she is a perfect fit to give a voice to the work of Reachout America!
Bianca is not your average teenager; not by a long shot. Between school, mentoring, volunteering, blogging, vlogging, writing poetry, and her profession as a model/brand ambassador, Bianca leads a very active lifestyle! She is a creative, energetic, hands-on person, who loves writing, doing projects and crafts, and any chance to dive into a good book. We are so happy that Bianca has volunteered to join with us in our mission to provide inclusive and therapeutic opportunities to children with special needs!
Bianca loves her life and the many ways she finds to help others. She is always striving to help improve people’s lives. Recently, she worked at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in her area. After school, Bianca acts as a student mentor where she assists with activities, helps with homework, and provides leadership for elementary-age children. She also has a great deal of computer experience from all of the school projects and research she does, and helping her grandparents with record-keeping for their business.
As busy as she is, somehow Bianca manages to keep up with her Honors classes, and currently hold a Position in Excellence at her high school. She’s always promoting healthy eating and everyday fitness to those around her, in one way or another. Bianca maintains a very informative and engaging blog, where she posts about everything from fashion and food to health and fitness. She loves communicating with people and her infectious energy definitely shines through in her YouTube videos. And we wouldn’t dare forget to mention that elephants are her all-time favorite animal!
Community Service Program
This program is really quite simple and can be accomplished anywhere. We can guide you through setting up a public fundraising campaign, such as: handing out flyers, beginning a recycling program, placing collection containers in retail market places, organizing car washes, yard sales, finding sponsors, etc., and the proceeds will sponsor a child or camp in your area.
Thousands of hours a year are volunteered to public, nonprofit causes by people who have run-ins with the law, need service learning hours for school, or are just really nice people that want to give back and help their community. Community Service is a valuable tool, and at Reachout America we have a "help the kids" community service program. This program was designed to fit into your community service hours objective, while helping the kids in your community. Our hope is to create an experience that affords you the opportunity to pause, think or reflect on what you have been through, and to assess (or reassess) your values and life goals.