Strengthening Our Community
Chances are if you asked a random person if they cared about bettering their community, the answer would be yes. However, most people don’t know what it looks like to take the next step and turn that desire into action. Fortunately, there are groups and individuals working to bring these dreams to life. One such organization is Reach Out, a locally-based nonprofit with a reputation for getting the job done. Read on for this month’s Client Spotlight with Sherrie Guerrero, Chief Development Officer of Reach Out to learn how the organization has grown and made a positive impact in our community.
Reaching Out & Breaking Barriers
Founded in 1969 in Ontario, Reach Out began as a drop-in center to help individuals struggling with substance abuse. Opening their doors in an era when this was becoming a social epidemic, Guerrero explains, “Reach Out was a place where people could come stay to receive counseling and support… And farm and garden – it was the 70s!”
As time went on and the community evolved, Reach Out felt inspired to do more as well. Looking at their vision of cultivating healthy communities, they asked a new question. “What would it take to stop substance abuse before it started?” From there, Reach Out began incorporating prevention as a key component in their initiatives. With this focus in mind, Reach Out began building relationships with local school districts. This allowed them to provide support to at-risk youth through behavioral counseling sessions and a variety of programs to uncover and address the causes behind students’ academic issues. Guerrero continued,
Reach Out truly cares about the quality of life in the Inland Empire. Ultimately, we want to create equity and access for everyone, whether they are struggling with substance abuse, mental health, physical health, economic health – anything that creates a barrier to success!
Soon to celebrate their 50th anniversary, Reach Out has just come out of another growth spurt. One key catalyst of this growth was the addition of Executive Director Diana Fox. With a heart to serve the community she grew up in, Fox contributed heavily to the diversification of Reach Out. Growing the nonprofit from offering 1 program with only 4 employees to 25 programs and nearly 60 employees, Fox’s passion has been critical to Reach Out’s success over the past decade. Fox was even acknowledged with the Academy of Grassroots Organizations’ Executive Director of the Year award this year!
The Building Blocks of Change
Reach Out is composed of three departments that work together to create safe, healthy, and innovative communities. The first is the Youth & Family department. This group focuses on prevention by building relationships with the youth and equipping them to face the challenges in their lives.
Next is the Policy & Prevention department, which actively works with law enforcement, city councils, and local government to address policies that are relevant to each individual city.
Lastly, the Health Career Workforce department works with school districts to create health career pipelines in high schools. Additionally, this department assists out of school youth to help them get the necessary skills to earn living wage careers. Together, these departments work to enable all community members to grow, thrive, and lead.
A client of SDP since 2016, Guerrero met our Regional Sales Director Jeanne Huynh at an Ontario Chamber of Commerce event. Jeanne had brought a supply of Labor Law Posters and was giving them out to Chamber members. Guerrero recalls that back then, “I didn’t have a budget for labor law posters… It was like my Christmas present!” As it turned out, the timing was perfect because Reach Out just so happened to be in the market for payroll!
As a nonprofit with very specific reporting requirements to maintain funding, Guerrero had been given the recommendation to begin working with a third-party payroll processing company with automated timekeeping. However, every payroll company she talked to seemed to have the same response: “No, that’s not something we can do.” She explains how,
For me, the highlight of working with SDP was the willingness of [the team] to come in, really see what our needs were, assess those needs, and then go back – because [there wasn’t already] a system to meet those needs – and create a hybrid of the different platforms to be unique to Reach Out.
Guerrero went on to share that as a fellow local business, it was also important to her to support the local business community. She says, “SDP wasn’t in a different state with no access; they were right down the street.” But the key differentiator was the willingness to provide next-level customer service and support, and initiative to figure things out even if there wasn’t an answer just yet.
Reach Out with Us!
One key facet of Reach Out’s work in the community is their Health Care Workforce department, the Inland Health Professions Coalition. Together with Reach Out, we would like to invite you (whether you’re in the healthcare industry or not!) to make a difference in these students’ lives through a job shadow partnership. Looking for other ways to help? Reach Out is also currently looking for volunteers and toy donations for their annual Holiday Party attended by 600+ children and their families. Contact Sherrie at [email protected] to learn more!
SDP Client Spotlights: Celebrating Our Clients
Every month, we highlight one of our amazing clients with the SDP Client Spotlight. Here at Southland Data Processing, we’re in the people business, and strive to always put our clients first. If you or your organization is interested in becoming our next Client Spotlight, please contact us at [email protected] and we’d love to hear your story!
Photos by Reach Out