Wednesday, August 10, 2022
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UPDATE FROM REACH!

We want to thank District Governor Lorna Curtis, Joan Firkins, and the Rotarians of District 5020 for arranging for us to share the REACH! story at your District Conference. REACH! transforms lives. It was a privilege to share the experiences and stories of those who helped through our programs. Many Rotarians at the Conference said their hearts were touched. 

We were honoured to be plenary speakers at the recent Rotary District Conference on May 14th at the Victoria Conference Centre.   

REACH! (West Coast Reach Association), a registered charity serving lower Vancouver Island, celebrates inclusion and diversity, utilizing music and the other performing arts for social good. With the pandemic, all our programs became virtual, requiring purchasing electronic and video hardware and software. We could do this thanks to previous funding from the Sidney by the Sea Rotary Club. This was essential as many participants in our virtual programs, especially the elderly and those with a disability, were facing significant loneliness and anxiety due to Covid isolation measures. We also offered some additional free virtual music programming for the general public, with participants from many parts of the Island and beyond. Many said these virtual programs were a real lifeline for them. We can’t thank you enough for enabling this work through your help and support!

We have been transitioning back to in-person programs since April, and members of our integrated REACH! Performing Company (celebrating ability despite disability) is looking forward to performing at Folktoria at Centennial Square on June 4th. We are also looking forward to resuming our program at the Our Place Street Shelter, bringing members of the street community together with others through music. 

Many say these weekly sessions, and being able to share their music and camaraderie with others at soup kitchens around Victoria, are the highlights of their life.  

We also continue to provide a unique music program for young children of refugees and new immigrants at the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA). Many of these children have experienced severe trauma, and it is so rewarding to see how music helps them emerge from their shells and experience moments of true joy.  

Finally, we are hoping to produce our annual show “We Are One” in person again this December. This is the primary event for the lower Island commemorating Human Solidarity Day and the International Day of Persons With Disabilities. 

As we mentioned to participants at the Rotary District Conference, our world is currently in peril in many ways. Much of this is a result of polarization and self-interest. 

We are told that REACH! provides a beacon of hope for our members and the community. Through the power of the performing arts, our programs and shows show how inclusion and unity in diversity can bring healing, hope, and joy to so many. Thank you again for helping in this remarkable endeavor!

With the very best of wishes from  

Anne-Marie and Peter Brimacombe, Sidney B.C.

(REACH! Co-founders) 

For more information on REACH! please see our website: www.westcoastreach.org/or email us at: westcoastreach@gmail.com 

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