Non-Profits: REACH Prep


Many years ago I was introduced to the non-profit REACH Prep. From the moment I met them I was blown away by their dedication to leveling the scales of iniquity in the world of education. REACH Prep offers a supplemental education program to qualified children – following them and helping them from the summer prior to their fifth grade year right through their college graduations and beyond.

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A select group of 4th grade graduates from Fairfield County and Westchester County as well as The Bronx are accepted into Prep Academy, a summer school that meets Monday through Friday for 6 weeks of the summer. The students then go on to attend Prep Academy classes on Saturday all year long. The goal is for each of these children to then secure a spot in a private independent school after their 5th grade year.

REACH Preps Fabulous Female Students

The program has been so successful that over the years they have added on weekend and summer courses that give their Prep Academy graduates extra help while they are at private independent schools. They also help them with the application process for high school and college, and they help their families with the often daunting financial aid process once they are college bound.

GCDS Head of School Adam Rhodie with 2 REACH Prep Scholars

Many of their scholars come back to volunteer and work at REACH Prep – and when their graduates speak of REACH it is with a great sense of pride and gratitude. As they say, “It takes a village.” REACH Prep relies on a small but profound staff and volunteer teachers from independent schools in our community to run their programs. If there ever was a “village leader” that’s worth her weight in gold it would be Peggy Sarkela, Executive Director of REACH Prep. Peggy is smart, well-spoken, incredibly dedicated, and creative. She walks the walk and talks the talk. Having been at REACH for almost 11 years she is responsible for much of their growth and transformation.

Peggy Joan and Joe

Peggy Sarkela (left) with a special guest and Board Chair Joan Duncan

I was honored to have been hired by REACH this past year to make a video celebrating their 20th anniversary. I spent two days interviewing their students, parents, and administrators and was blown away by their dedication to academic excellence. These rising 5th graders are turned on to learning and committed to making a difference in the world. I hope you enjoy watching this video as much as I enjoyed creating it!

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