Fayetteville Mayor meets with REACH friends

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There are opportunities everywhere when you open your heart. The REACH Program and the City of Fayetteville have built a great partnership on the opportunity to help each other, and they celebrated the bond as the school year winds down and the students look toward a bright future.

REACH (“Reaching Educational and Career Heights”) is a program for students with developmental disabilities ages 18-21 that helps them get into the workforce and become independent and productive citizens, and the City of Fayetteville has employed REACH students for three years in a variety of roles at city hall.

Fayetteville Mayor Ed Johnson was part of a recent celebration of the REACH program, and he lauded the students, some of whom have become members of the City of Fayetteville’s team.

“We know that you don’t always get opportunities to use the gifts and the skills that God has given you because people may judge you quickly and deny you that opportunity, but we believe in giving every citizen of Fayetteville opportunities to be an important part of our community,” said Mayor Johnson. “We want you to know that we are very proud of you.”

The city has been employing REACH grads during their partnership going back three years, and they will be adding another to the fold this year in Zachary.

“It has been very beneficial, not only to you, the young adults in the program, but for the city because we have realized the gifts that you bring and have done tremendous work for the City of Fayetteville,” said Mayor Johnson. “We want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts for what you have done for the city.”

Fayetteville City Manager Ray Gibson echoed the Mayor’s sentiments and said he is encouraging other local governments to partner with REACH.

Mayor Ed Johnson greets REACH student Zachary, who will soon be joining the team at the City of Fayetteville.

“You’re all committed, and you’re doing great things,” said Gibson. “We’re here to create opportunities for you, and you’re helping us.”

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Julie Turner is thrilled with the work the REACH program is doing with Fayetteville.

“I so much appreciate the partnership with the city,” said Dr. Turner. “Thank you for giving our students the opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways and make a difference in the lives of other people by making their workload easier and adding their charm and spirit to the work place. It enriches everything.”

Exceptional Children’s Services Director Rosie Gwin thanked the students for their kindness and dedication.

“This is a group of young adults who are going to have a great impact on our city and our community, and we’re proud of you, very much so,” said Gwin.

Gwin also thanked the students for their charitable hearts. Among other activities, they have started a closet offering hygiene products at no charge, and they also held a supply drive to send much-needed supplies to families effected by the devastating tornadoes in Coweta County.

“A lot of people have wondered what can I do, and you guys have wondered what can I do and you did it,” Gwin said. “That’s awesome.”

REACH is under the direct leadership of teacher Ivory Cloud and paraprofessionals Nancy Akin and Tina Bavaro.

“All of my kids are amazing. I’m so proud of them,” said Cloud. “I’m blessed to come in each and every day and work with this group.”

Mayor Johnson knows the students’ impact will reach far beyond just Fayetteville.

“We know that you are the future, not only of our community, but you are the future of the world. As we see the world in turmoil right now, we know that you are the ones that are going to make a difference, to make the world a better place,” said Mayor Johnson. “Thank you so much for being someone who realizes you’ve got something to contribute to the world and your community, and you’re doing what God has placed in your spirit to do.”

Fayetteville Mayor Ed Johnson and City Manager Ray Gibson visited with REACH program students and teachers.