Friday, January 25, 2013--5:40p.m.
MADISON--Paul Gilbertson is the co-founder of R.E.A.C.H. a Child. He and his wife were inspired to create the non-profit on a visit to a Ground Zero memorial in New York. "Children had drawings hung on a wall that reflected their perspective of that tragedy and those were kids that all lost a loved one in that event," he said."We thought how traumatized they are the rest of their life from that one event....why not give books to kids right at that critical moment to help the child shift their focus to something positive."
The organization has since given out more than 350,000 books, geared for kids ranging from toddler age to early teens."Collects childrens books from around the country and we put them into backpacks like this and provide the backpacks for first responders to give a book to a child at the scene of an accident or domestic crisis to help that child shift their focus to something positive," he said.
Gilbertson said the program started here in the Dane County area and has since expanded to 12 states, including recently reaching out to Newtown Connecticut.
And eventually they'd like to see it go national. But right now, their funding is at an all-time low, so they're looking for help. "We're sitting here riding on fumes," said Gilbertson.
He said they're trying to get to $15,000; right now they've only got $2,500. He said if they can't reach their goal, they may have to significantly scale things back.
If you're interested in helping out, check out: http://withwingsandahalo.homestead.com/index.html