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CEO AND CHAIRMAN’S ADDRESS

Welcome to The Reach Foundation’s 2015 annual report. We hope you enjoy our entry into the more modern era of digital annual reports.

First and foremost, we’d like to thank all of our volunteers, supporters, partners, donors, staff and of course, our young people. You are all the backbone of Reach and each and everyone of you play such an important role in ensuring our wheels keep turning.

We’d also like to say thank-you to Geoff Roberts, our former Chairman of the Board. Geoff has been with us since 2009, first as a Director of the Board before becoming Chairman in June of 2013. As well as thanking Geoff for all of his hard work and dedication over the years, we also want to give a shout out to both Sarah Davies and Trisha Squires, both of whome in their times leading Reach as CEO, made such an impact on the organisation. Geoff, Sarah and Trisha all made sure that Reach could continue to grow while still keeping our essence at the heart of everything we do.

In 2015 Reach celebrate it’s 21st birthday. As well as celebrating this in true Reach style, it also included a lot of hard work and dedication to realising our vision – that every young person has the support and self-belief they need to fulfil their potential and dare to dream. Reach’s Founders, Jim Stynes and Paul Currie had a collective belief in and passion for the power and potential of young people, and we are proud to say that we continue to chase that mission 21 years on.

In September 2015 we released the first ever report into the hopes and dreams of young Australians in partnership with Reality Check Research Communications. The report is the result of a multi tiered research process designed to provide a comprehensive story of the view of young people in Australia today. Over 600 young Australians ages 13-18 took part in the research, providing a diversity of viewpoints that ultimately make a meaningful contribution to the current conversation on what’s important to young people today.

Everyday at Reach we are exposed to the challenges and issues young people go through. But this is not the whole story, and young people should not be defined by what’s wrong with them. We must know their hopes and dreams and what they envision for the future, and when we do know, we must give them all the encouragement and support we can so that they know they are not alone in their efforts to achieve them. Unsurprisingly, it is the ‘pursuit of happiness’ for not only themselves, but everyone around them that is the most important thing.

For 21 years, Reach has had such a positive impact on so many thousands of young people and in 2015, we took the leap and expanded on our decades of experience to bring our work into the adult world. Thanks to a seed grant from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, we launched ‘Reach Enterprises’ in March 2015. By translating the intellectual property, we use in our programs for young people into relevant workshop for adults, we have not only found an innovative way to engage corporate Australia, but we have been able to take an important step toward organisational sustainability.

Our success in the corporate space has demonstrated a real need for our work across a broad audience. It has shown a need for connection and belief in oneself not just for young people, but for adults too.

We finished off the year being extremely proud of our achievements, and also grateful for the learnings we gained from the challenges we faced. As always, we continue to be inspired by the young people we work with and emulate the examples they set for us in always striving to learn and grow. As we step into the next 21 years, we will take these learnings in our stride and grow and develop ourselves with the aim to impact even more young Australians.

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