By Jesica Garcia, Program Manager
Vista Community Clinic Project REACH (Recreation, Employment Readiness, Academic Achievement, Communication and Healthy Lifestyle) youth development program provides vital support to middle and high school students from low income backgrounds to help them succeed in school while setting goals for their futures. Since it began in 1996, Project REACH has touched the lives of more than 3,000 boys and girls by steering them toward success and preparing them for college and careers. Students enrolled in the program receive critical after-school supervision from mentors that have already gone through the college process, understand the community, and are able to supply the tools to help them reach their full potential.
REACH is more than an after-school program, it’s an after-school community. Counselors provide homework help, advice on choosing classes, applying for college, financial aid, and more. Students also receive education on how to prevent drug use, gang involvement, and teen pregnancy. While field trips to university campuses, businesses and amusement parks help students realize a world beyond their neighborhoods, volunteer service projects foster a sense of community, helping students discover ways that they can have a positive impact locally.
The program isn’t as simple as just signing up.
Students have to make the choice themselves to show up every day and stay committed to the process.
Seniors are rewarded for their dedication at the end with a graduation of their own as they prepare to move on to pursue their goals after high school. Those that receive a certificate of completion at the REACH graduation have completed 180 hours of life and academic skills (per school year). The ceremony is intimate and includes dinner with students, mentors, and parents, or parental figures, and, of course, the certificate they are awarded for all of their hard work. The 2018-19 school year ended with 21 REACH graduates being honored with a ceremony that took place on May 16th in decorated classrooms at the Vista Community Clinic Vale Terrace location.
The path to college graduation is not simple, especially for students with limited resources. REACH steps in to help ease concerns over finances, troubled neighborhoods, the need for academic support, and positive outlets. The program even includes scholarships, made possible by the generosity of VCC donors, to help alleviate financial burdens faced by students, many of them the first in their families to enter college. REACH truly provides the vital support students need to succeed in their journey toward college graduation.
About Vista Community Clinic
With eight state-of-the-art locations in North San Diego, Orange and Riverside Counties, VCC provides affordable, high quality health care to more than 66,000 community residents. Services offered by VCC include primary care, pediatrics, prenatal and women’s health, optometry, chiropractic care, dental health, podiatry, acupuncture and behavioral health services. VCC also offers a wide array of community health education programs which are free and open to all community residents. VCC is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Level 3 (highest) Patient-Centered Medical Home, and is the recipient of the HRSA National Quality Leader Seal for exceeding national clinical quality benchmarks. For more information call 760.631.5000 or visit www.vcc.org.