What is it that makes the Reaching Higher Class so special?

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What is it that makes the Reaching Higher Class so special?

Susie DahlmannMany times it has been asked, “How can students make such dynamic and positive changes in their lives in just eight short weeks?”  Those eight weeks represent just sixteen hours of their lives, sixteen hours which can permanently alter their futures.  During those eight weeks, our students are exposed to a powerful combination of a positive curriculum; a safe, confidential atmosphere; the opportunity to be heard; being authentic; speaking their truth; and listening to others. All of these elements contribute to the success of the program and the success of the students, but it is the human component that brings it all together magically.  The other elements work best when combined with the selfless dedication, creativity, love, time, and enthusiasm of our Instructors and mentors that make this program succeed.

Our mentors selflessly give of themselves by giving up their days and evenings to care for the students we serve through the simplest but most meaningful of tasks such as baking cookies and cupcakes, celebrating students’ birthdays, and gathering Christmas gifts for families.  I remember one mentor making warm lunches each week for the inner city classes.  Similarly, our Instructors eagerly await the start of another semester, just so they can once again have the unique opportunity to change a life and deeply care about a child once again.  Yes, it is the magical formula of LOVE and attention that makes our program succeed.

Figure 1 Reaching Higher Leadership Program Expands to Elementary School. Students smiling with Mentor at Southeast Elementary in Howell, Michigan

Figure 1 Reaching Higher Leadership Program Expands to Elementary School. Students smiling with Mentor at Southeast Elementary in Howell, Michigan

I once heard a saying that “Nothing that is seen or touched is important, only what is felt by the heart.”  No one “needs” Reaching Higher, but every child deserves the opportunity to thrive.  Never has there been a greater need for what we do!  Every person involved in Reaching Higher, the mentors, the Instructors, and the students, leaves our classrooms forever changed by the tragedies and challenges our students face and overcome.  Our Reaching Higher Instructors and mentors are there only for one reason: to bring a smile to a child’s face and hope to their hearts through which they can see a glimpse of a better tomorrow.

Let’s all stand together, committed to making a difference in the life of a child.  There is nothing more important or rewarding than that.