By Erin Hutchins, REACH Board Fellow
I come from a family of survivors. Many of the women I hold most dear have had to survive violence in their lives. Where I come from, the conversation around domestic violence is hushed. The resources for support are scarce, and many survivors do not feel they have a choice of leaving their abuser. They feel trapped. And what they need was somewhere to feel safe. I wish every day that they had a REACH, where they could go to for safety and support.
I am a graduate MBA student from The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, and I have had the pleasure of serving on the REACH Board of Directors as a Board Fellow for the past year. Upon applying for the Board Fellows program, I was immediately drawn to REACH. The organization is impressive in so many ways, with dedicated staff, expansive programming, evident passion for supporting survivors. But the aspect of REACH that impressed me most was the drive to improve. Not for themselves, but for the individuals they serve. REACH wants to do more, help more, support more. Upon being selected to work with the REACH board, I didn’t feel like I was only a board member, but a part of the movement to end domestic violence.
From my first board meeting I could tell that each member felt the same way I did. This was more than a position, it was passion. The board loves the work REACH does and the people they work with. Each board member goes through the same training as REACH volunteers for this exact reason. They want to be the best they can be for REACH. One of my favorite memories from the past year happened during my first board meeting. Each member spoke about how long they had been on the board, and most members had been working with REACH in some capacity for so long, that they couldn’t remember the exact amount of years! That is what makes REACH different. Every member of the REACH family is there because of love; first and foremost. I learned more than I can put into words over the past year, but the most important lesson I learned was the difference that can be made by a board who truly loves the work of the organization they serve.
Domestic violence is more than a problem. It is more than an issue. It is a threat that affects all people, everywhere, all the time. REACH’s ultimate goal is to not only reduce domestic violence, but to end it entirely. And they won’t stop fighting until that end is seen. By supporting REACH I was welcomed into a family of supporters, advocates, activists, and friends, and I will always be beyond grateful for that opportunity.
Consider supporting REACH today, and you’ll be welcomed into the same family I was. And be inspired that same way I was. If you want to see an end to domestic violence, REACH is the best team to join!