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Nonprofit Highlight: Angel Reach

Angel Reach is a Texas-based nonprofit that focuses on breaking the generational cycle of abuse, neglect, and homelessness in order to enhance the lives of current and former foster youth.

The Problem

Sandra Carpenter and Debbie Zempel met in Conroe as parents of foster children. While navigating the system long term for their own children, both realized a pressing need arising for those children who aged out of foster care and had no place to go or resources with which to support themselves. They founded Angel Reach to provide a Transitional Living Program that would house these youth, provide educational and social services, and teach the living skills necessary to become independent adults. This initial need expanded into four groups of young people who are part of the Angel Reach umbrella of service programs. While Angel Reach houses some clients, the others live in different circumstances.

The Response

Angel Reach identified four vulnerable groups of people in their community and created programs to address the unique challenges each group experiences. These four groups and their corresponding programs are:

1. Children removed from neglect or abuse to live with a relative (Kinship Program)

2. Youth who aged-out of foster care and are homeless or at risk of homelessness (Aged-out Foster Youth Transitional Living Program)

3. Young mothers with a history of foster care who struggle to keep their babies and provide a safe and healthy environment (Angel’s Nest)

4. Homeless youth, ages 18-24 (Community Youth Outreach Resource Center)

The Result

Angel Reach has grown from a program housing two aged out foster youth to a registry of over 130 clients who participate in one of the four programs above. The program is successful because it combines housing, services, mentoring, counseling, education, job training, a driving program, individual budget and financial counseling and other living skills needed to be successful in today’s world. In short, Angel Reach squeezes into two years the lessons a fourteen year old needs to learn in order to succeed in life. It is not a straightforward path, and just as all youth make mistakes and need a fresh start, so do these clients. All clients experienced physical and/or emotional abuse, and many have used drugs to dull their pain. Unfortunately, foster homes have contributed to this pain as well. Staff and mentors are often the first person a client trusts and they constantly strive to present themselves as trustworthy.

Angel Reach desires their clients’ lives to move past mere survival. They desire clients to dream big and learn to work hard in order to accomplish these dreams. Through Angel Reach’s programs and mentorships, basic needs are met enhancing the health and well-being of the clients in whom they invest. As a result, clients are stabilized, obtain independence and begin to lead lives of purpose and success.

To learn more, visit www.angelreach.org.

Angel Reach is a featured WaterStone Kingdom Program. Click here to give to this life-changing ministry through your WaterStone Giving Fund.

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