On Tuesday, 9th April, Reach Society once again showcased talent in the Black community at its 8th Careers Conference. The attendance reached a new record of more than 1700 young people aged 13 to 24, and some parents. The turnout was a 50 percent increase on the year before.
Reach Society was conceived by Donald Palmer, Rob Neil and Dwain Neil who discussed their concerns about the government's decision to end the grant funding of the national REACH role model programme after three years. Each of them had been involved with the programme and saw its positive impact on Black boys and young Black men; and so they knew that something needed to be done to maintain this work that was transforming young lives.
Once they had conceived a model for Reach Society they lead a series of conversations with serving role models in order to identify other professional Black men who felt the same way; to test whether they would choose to continue to help boys and young men from their cultural backgrounds; and test whether they could work with the Reach Society model. In this way a movement of Black professional men choosing to help boys and young men was initiated.
Our vision is to ensure that every Black boy and young Black man becomes aware of the Reach Society, and is able to make a positive connection with one or more of its role models of Black professional men.
The Reach Society motto is "building connections."
This motto captures the spirit of the work that the Black professional men have chosen to undertake. It is our belief that only through the building of viable connections that our boys and young men will discover and learn what is required to succeed in adult life.
The Black community is rich in male pioneers and achievers; and the Reach Society ambition is to make it easy for our boys and young men to see them, to hear from them, to touch them and to be inspired by them; and in so doing Reach Society will nurture and increase their appetite and drive for self-development and achievement from an early age.
The core purpose of the Reach Society is to encourage, motivate and inspire our boys and young men to own the development of their potential and make viable transitions into adult life.
The Reach Society core principles are described in the four Cs - Clarity of focus; Communication; Connection; and Control. The core principles provide a high level indication of standards at the heart of the work that the Black professional men have chosen to undertake.
The Reach Society management team of seven professionals is responsible for the strategic framework that guides the work done through the three distinct programmes around networking, representation and foundation building - each of which is lead by a director.
The Reach Society networking programme is designed around a set of features that include building amity between Black professional men; exercising thought leadership on the corrosive issues that impact Black boys and young Black men; and contributing to the movement of Black professional men who are choosing to interact positively with boys and young men from their cultural backgrounds.
The Reach Society representation programme is designed around a set of features that include training of Black professional men in the unique EDILES methodology for sharing our core message; showcasing the impact of trained Reach Society role models; and recognising the work of local mentoring groups, parents and carers.
The Reach Society foundation programme is designed around a set of features that include the use of a set of services for generating income by independent effort; a diverse range of fundraising activities involving Black professional men, their families and friends; building long term relationships through a comprehensive programme that recognises significant contributors; and the creation of a Reach Society Foundation that will be the principle entity for establishing a financially robust and sustainable social enterprise.