Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Special #Education Day - Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Today is Special Education Day. This day, in 1975, marks when United States President Gerald Ford signed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, known today as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) into law.

Special Education Day, first celebrated in 2005, marks the anniversary of that very first special education law. The landmark law guarantees, “A free and appropriate public education to children with disabilities.” The law provides equal opportunities and access for more than 6 million students with disabilities and special needs. Since the law’s enactment, several programs have been implemented to help students with disabilities due to Special Education Day.

The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services has programs and services related to infants and youth with disabilities and their families. These programs range from early intervention, preschool special education, access to nonpublic schools, Medical Assistance for school-health related services, autism programs and other mental health initiatives.

Find out more about programs and support available for children with disabilities in Prince George’s County, Maryland at and nationally,, and

Monday, November 30, 2015

Great Public #Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility

In Reach was pleased to celebrate American Education Week with and the National Education Association. The week-long event, November 16- 20, 2015, celebrates public education and honors individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child in America receives a quality education.

This year’s theme, "Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility," reflects on the National Education Association’s vision of calling upon every American to do their part in “making public schools great for every child so that they can grow and achieve in the 21st century.” Each year, In Reach works with one of its partner schools to hold a special event and this year was no exception. Our amazing Youth Ambassadors at Parkdale High School showed their appreciation for teachers, substitute teachers and support staff with thank you cards, delicious delights, and by making their very own video showing gratitude for the amazing individuals that dedicate themselves to providing students with the best support and quality education.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Turn the Lights On Afterschool!

On October 22, more than a million people in thousands of schools and communities across the United States will turn their lights on for afterschool by joining the only national rally for afterschool programs.

According to the Afterschool Alliance, more than 8,000 afterschool programs are expected to participate in the 16th annual Lights On Afterschool. The day will take shape in various community service events, museums, parks and recreation facilities, state capitols, malls, and other settings.

Here in Prince George’s County, we are honored and excited to take part in our third Lights On Afterschool event in collaboration with our partner school, Carrollton Elementary, at their Fall Harvest Festival on October 23with crafts, relay races and workshops that celebrate afterschool programs as they keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance to bring attention to the need to invest in afterschool programs, which provide homework help, healthy snacks, mentoring, physical fitness, robotics, computer programming, community service opportunities, art and music, college readiness, and countless opportunities for hands-on learning.

“Quality afterschool programs help students hone their skills and discover their passions, preparing them to succeed in school and in life,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “Lights On Afterschool events give children and youth the chance to showcase the talents they develop at their afterschool programs, which offer hands-on, engaging activities that are both educational and fun. But too many afterschool programs are without the resources they need to serve all the children in their communities who need them and families, schools, communities and the country suffer as a result.”

During the 2015 celebration, In Reach is looking forward to raising awareness about the value and necessity of afterschool programs in Prince George’s County, MD. In Reach's Executive Director, Toni Smith shared, "Afterschool programs are an extremely valuable extension of the school day that all children should have access to."

Help us protect afterschool funding. Sign the petition! For more information visit:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What are you doing for Teen Read Week?

As an organization that provides academic afterschool programs to students, we are naturally concerned with the development of their literacy skills and abilities and encouraging their life long interest in reading. These are a few reasons why each year we join the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) in recognizing and celebrating Teen Read Week™, a national adolescent literacy initiative created to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users. 

An annual celebration, this year’s theme, Get Away, encourages libraries to help teens escape from the day to day grind of school, homework, family responsibilities, part time jobs and other activities by picking up something to read. 

In Reach found the Teens' Top Ten "teen choice" list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year, to be an amazing resource. Readers ages twelve to eighteen vote online and the winners for that year are announced the week after Teen Read Week. Below is the Top Ten for 2014. Encourage a teen to read at least one of these today. It's a great list to use as encouragement for reading throughout the year, i.e. read-a-thon, book club and so much more. We can barely wait to see what teens from across the country select for 2015.

2014 Teens’ Top Ten

1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (Macmillan/St. Martin's Griffin)
2. Splintered by A.G. Howard (ABRAMS/Amulet Books)
3. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (Tor Teen)
4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Penguin/Putnam Juvenile) 
5. Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends)
6. Earth Girl by Janet Edwards (Prometheus Books /Pyr)
7. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
8. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (Random House/Delacorte Press)
9. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (Macmillan/Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
10. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (Random House/Delacorte Press)

#ThankaPrincipal During National Principals Month

National Principals Month recognizes the essential role that principals play in making a school great. Here at In Reach we know just how important the role of the principal is in facilitating not just all of the happenings in the school, but also in building community partnerships to make each of their schools even better. This is what each one of our principals have in common. They understand their vital role in shaping and leading a robust academic community.

We are pleased to join the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA) in honoring these unsung heroes for their tireless efforts in pursuit of excellence in education.

In Reach salutes the awesome principals of its partner schools. They rock!!!

Dorothy Clowers, William Paca Elementary School
Nancy Schickner, Carrollton Elementary School
Maha Fadli, Kenmoor Middle School
David Curry, Charles Carroll Middle School
Tanya Washington, Parkdale High School

 #ThankaPrincipal today!

We smile when you select us on Amazon. Bring a smile to our faces today!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What does public lands, partnerships and service have in common?

September 15, 2015
Contact: Arielle Reynoso, Partner Engagement Specialist

The LEAPing Frogs Community Garden
The Value of Public Lands, Partnerships and Community Service

On Saturday, September 19th Students, family members, teachers and volunteers “LEAP” (Learning. Environmental Engagement. Awareness. Productivity.) into a day of active volunteerism and ownership in beautifying school grounds prior to and in honor of National Public Lands Day.

In Reach and Carrollton Elementary School have planned a day of activities to raise environmental awareness, encourage an active lifestyle and build community in the New Carrollton city of Prince George’s County, MD. A collaborative event, funded by a grant from the Maryland's Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism, will take place on September 19th from 9am to 11am.

The day will consist of a general clean-up of the garden area, removal of invasive plants, planting of tulips and preparing the garden for the winter. Additionally, volunteers will take part in pre-planting stretching and light exercising inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move Outside” children’s health initiative as it aligns directly with the vision and goal in our growing partnership with Prince George’s County schools and in this event. In a report provided by Alliance of a Healthier Generation, Maryland is the 21st most obese state in the U.S. for children at a shocking 32% while the physical inactivity rate is at a solid 25%. Our event will help decrease screen and couch time and get the children of the Carrollton Elementary community on their feet and outdoors to take part in a meaningful day which will bring the community together and create something beautiful to bloom.

Although National Public Lands Day is formally taking place on September 26th, it is the nation’s largest volunteer event acknowledging public lands. According to the National Environment Education Foundation in 2014, about 175,000 volunteers took part in this event at various sites across the nation! National Public Lands Day is a fantastic opportunity to get off the couch and out into the beautiful outdoors. Volunteers can participate as a family, with a school, community or other national organizations and non-profits. All volunteers will undoubtedly get the satisfaction that comes from preserving and protecting public lands, along with physical exercise and family and community togetherness in a day full of, planting, enhancing and beautifying.

For more information about National Public Lands Day and if you want to learn more about how to get involved at site near you visit their website at publiclandsday.orgTo learn more about In Reach visit our website.

In Reach is a nonprofit organization with the mission of preparing students for college, work and life. It organizes on-going events with its students, their families, partner schools, and other community members and entities to raise awareness, educate and build relationships to reduce the issues that challenge its mission specifically those associated with poverty. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

How amazing are Prince George's County parents?!

2015 Amazing Parent recipients (c) flanked by In Reach staff and presenters.

Largo, MD | On June 14, 2015, In Reach, Inc., held its Fourth Annual Celebrating Amazing Prince George’s County Parents Awards Program, an event honoring outstanding parents with children currently enrolled in a Prince George’s County Public School.

“Each year, I am more amazed than the last of our wonderful and diverse pool of nominees. Prince George’s County has many amazing parents and it is time they are recognized. It is my hope that In Reach can be a vessel for which these incredibly engaged and involved parents can someday, collectively, raise their voices on behalf of all children in the county especially those living in lower income and under-served communities. Our children deserve the best we have to offer,” said Executive Director, Ms. Toni Smith.

Congratulations again to our three 2015 Amazing Parent Award recipients:

Mr. Robert Mathieu, recipient of the Ingrid M. Turner Amazing Parent Award for demonstrating a strong sense of community as a volunteer, coach and mentor. Mr. Mathieu represents the Barnaby Manor ES community.

Ms. Sharon Lewis, recipient of the Parks and Recreation Amazing Parent Award for being an awesome and dedicated bridge builder in the lives of children. Ms. Lewis represents the (High Bridge ES) Samuel Ogle MS community.

Ms. Dina Bell Nance, recipient of the In Reach, Inc. Amazing Parent Award for being an all around selfless individual, active in the school and community, and an incredible parent who best demonstrates a well-rounded presence. Ms. Nance represents the Walker Mill MS community.

In Reach would also like to thank all 18 of the 2015 nominees: Mr. Mark & Mrs. Monique Adams, Ms. Gwendolyn Allen, Ms. Nicole Barnett, Ms. Gayle Brown, Ms. LaShawn James, Ms. Mary Lane, Ms. Sharon Lewis, Ms. Janice Lofland, Mr. Robert Mathieu, Mr. Jerrod Mustaf, Ms. Dina Nance, Ms. Lisa Ojeda-Brown, Ms. Christine Price, Ms. Sherry A. Rather, Ms. Debbie Robinson, Ms. Ayanna Niambi Shorter and Ms. Cynthia Weaver.

"Our children are our future and we need to build strong and vibrant communities and institutions to support them. We must support and encourage effective parenting, which is the most essential ingredient in child development.  I am encouraged by the work of organizations like "In Reach, Inc." that have enhanced parent involvement and child advocacy as a primary goal," shared Alvin Thornton, Ph.D.

In Reach thanks all of the individuals and sponsors who helped make the Fourth Annual Celebrating Amazing Prince George’s County Parents Awards Program a success especially our passionate guest speaker Dr. Alvin Thornton; the Honorable Ingrid M. Turner, former Council Member, District 4; Ms. Shawna Fachet of the Prince George’s Department of Parks and Recreation; Mr. Jaracus Copes, President of New Destiny, LLC and Master of Ceremonies; and Kelly Bell, In Reach Board Directors, all pictured above.


In Reach, Inc., is a tax exempt 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization designed to prepare students for college, work and life. Founded in 1999, In Reach envisions healthy, productive and prepared young adults in every family. To learn more about our work, visit

Monday, May 11, 2015

Upcoming Opportunities

Who Is In Your Posse?
We want to nominate you!

In Reach is a community-based nominating organization to the Posse Foundation, a national organization that identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes.

In Reach can nominate 10 rising seniors (currently in the 11th grade)  from Prince George's County for the chance of a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship. The Posse Foundation will extend to selected students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams - Posses - of 10 students.

If you are a rising senior who is just awesome and believe you should have an opportunity to join a "Posse" and you are not being nominated by your school, please email Mrs. Katrina Robinson, manager of college access programs, for more information. In the subject line of your email type: Posse. Mrs. Robinson will contact you with further information or call 240.334.6167.

For more information about both organizations, visit In Reach and the Posse Foundation.

High School Training Internship Program

In Reach is planning the launch of its High School Internship Training Program this summer. A training program for rising juniors (current 10th grade students), the four week program is designed to equip students with the appropriate employment, social, and workplace etiquette skills to thrive in a professional environment.

Students will receive training and then be placed in a two week internship to practice utilization of their new skills. If interested, please send an email to Ms. Samantha Trotter, partner engagement specialist, at In the subject line of your email type: HSITP. Ms. Trotter will contact you with further information or call 240.334.6167.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Children's #MentalHealthMatters

May 8, 2015
Contact: Samantha Trotter In Reach, Inc.

The Day May Have Passed but the Work Continues 
In Reach, Inc. and Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

What is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day?

In 2006, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services launched an annual national initiative called “National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.” Awareness Day is designated as a day in May of each year to coincide with May Is Mental Health Month. This day presents an opportunity for children’s mental health initiatives within SAMHSA to promote positive youth development, resilience, recovery and the transformation of mental health services delivery for children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families.

The theme of Awareness Day is “Thriving in the Community.” Children’s mental health initiatives will hold similar events and other activities throughout the country to build awareness that children’s mental health needs are real and that progress is being made toward developing effective strategies for achieving the vision of a life in the community for everyone.

Why does In Reach participate in Awareness Day?

In Reach participates in Awareness Day to magnify one of the often forgotten entities of the well-being of our youth, which is mental health.  Keeping in line with our vision of healthy, productive and prepared young adults, it is our duty to make mental health resources readily available.

Where can I get more information about Awareness Day and Child Mental Health?

For information and materials, and to learn more about children's mental health contact the Maryland Coalition of Families for Children’s Mental Health and Children's Mental Health Matters

Congratulations to our 2015 Nominees!

In Reach is pleased to present the 18 amazing parents nominated for its Fourth Annual Celebrating Amazing Prince George's County Parents Awards. 

Mark & Monique Adams
Gwendolyn Allen
Nicole Barnett
Gayle Brown
LaShawn James
Mary Lane
Sharon Lewis
Janice Lofland
Robert Mathieu
Jerrod Mustaf
Dina Nance
Lisa Ojeda-Brown
Christine Price
Sherry A. Rather
Debbie Robinson
Ayanna Niambi Shorter
Cynthia Weaver

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

“Libraries are for making . . . communities stronger.” #TTW15

Fairmount Heights Library
On Wednesday, March 18, members of In Reach's Girls of Worth Literacy Club at William Paca Elementary (sixth grade girls) and the Quantum Project at Kenmoor Middle School (eighth graders) celebrated YALSA’s Teen Tech Week “Libraries are for Making...”at Fairmount Heights Library. Teen Tech Week is when libraries make the time to showcase all of the great digital resources and services that are available to help teens succeed in school and prepare for college and 21st century careers.

The staff at Fairmount Heights Library rock! They engaged students, each group for ninety minutes, in a session of coding and a session working in the new Dream Lab which is set up like a studio with all of the bells and whistles, and students were encouraged to check out books at end of the visit, which many of them did. From the computers that students can learn and practice coding on, to simply checking out books, whether online or in-person, there are so many wonderful options available to children, youth and families right at their neighborhood library. Options that can help make our communities stronger by increasing and supporting literacy from every angle. The Prince George’s County public library system has even made it easier for students to apply for their own library card.

One of our goals, this school year, was to engage as many students as possible in the use of their neighborhood library. The PGCMLS offers homework help electronically or via telephone and assistance with preparing resumes and much more for adults. Our libraries offer teens a space to extend their learning beyond the classroom where they can explore, create, share content and connect in meaningful ways to gain the digital literacy skills they need to be successful.

For more information about library services in Prince George’s County, MD, contact

YALSA - Young Adult Library Services Association,

Monday, March 23, 2015

What do adults and Dr. Seuss have in common?

On March 17, In Reach staff and guest readers from Kentland Palmer Park’s Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNi) celebrated Read Across America day with eager elementary-aged students from the area. Each year, on Dr. Seuss' birthday, March 2, students everywhere celebrate his life and legacy by reading a good book. Inclement weather conditions may have delayed the celebration this year but not the fun of two events enjoyed in one - Dr. Seuss and St. Patrick’s Day. The Kentland Community Center’s Aftercare program services all school-aged students, while most commonly students are kindergarten to sixth grade.

After In Reach staff gave a hearty welcome, students watched Dr. Seuss on the Loose, a short film collection of three Seuss sing-a-long stories The Sneetches, The Zax and Green Eggs and Ham. Shortly afterwards, students were separated by grade level and our guest readers took over. Each guest reader read as many of their favorite childhood stories as they had time to read. With enthusiasm and the excitement of young children themselves, it was apparent, by the brightness in the children's eyes, that the adults were fully engaging each one of them and having a great time as well.

Before dismissal everyone enjoyed a delicious treat of St. Patrick’s Day themed cake and each student was able to choose one Scholastic book and a bookmark to take home. This celebration marked the official launch of In Reach’s Catch Them by Third Power of Literacy Program pilot at Kentland Community Center for second grade students designed to inspire and help them build literacy skills, ensure that they are able to continue to develop literacy skills throughout the summer, and help families foster language and literacy skill development in their young children.

Thank you to our awesome TNi guest readers: Lavinia Baxter, Ralph Moultrie, and Alexia Clark, and In Reach’s Dream Team: Katrina Robinson, program manager; Samantha Trotter, AmeriCorps VISTA partner engagement specialist and organizer of the day’s activities; Randi Coward, afterschool program facilitator; and Toni Smith, executive director.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Celebrating Amazing Prince George's County Parents 2015!

If you are a parent with a child attending a Prince George's County Public School 
or know a parent who does, we encourage you to nominate yourself 
or another parent for one of three awards, and then plan to join us at the 
dinner event on Sunday, June 14, for a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon.

We are planning a delightful celebration of parents. 
Download the Nomination Form.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Register Today - Youth Empowerment Summit 2015

Registration is Now Open for 
Youth Empowerment Summit 2015

YES sells out quickly so register today! 
This year's event promises to be the very best. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Take Action! January is #Poverty Awareness Month

In recognition of Poverty Awareness Month, In Reach has prepared an informative calendar of useful resources for everyday of the month, and an accompanying infographic that provides a snapshot of Prince George's County's poverty indicators.

Poverty is the number one challenge to our mission - preparing students for college, work and life. So many of our students and their families are affected by poverty. It rears its ugly head in every imaginable way, all usually recognizable in an educational setting. We see its affects when we work with a student who can not read proficiently, who may be homeless, receive inadequate health care, is food insecure, and/or lacks self confidence. 

Please share the calendar and infographic with your family, friends, colleagues, political and civic leaders and others to raise awareness about this often misunderstood and polarizing epidemic and join us in becoming a part of the solution, a poverty buster, to reduce its horrible affects.