REACH Pikes Peak, originally the Pikes Peak Community Action Agency, has a long local history of helping thousands of those with low incomes and the unemployed achieve self sufficiency.

Celebrating more than 54 years, REACH had a fun evening, the 14th annual Groovin’ in September, on Sept. 21 at Norris Penrose Event Center. The report: More than 9,000 people were helped last year with 3,679 services through programs including one-time emergency help; a Transition to Independence Program including case management and education assistance; and Individual Development Account financial case management.

During the evening, donors, volunteers and sponsors laughed every time they heard about dynamic Executive Director/CEO Patrice Ravenscroft inviting people out for coffee.

Keynote speaker District 11 Superintendent Michael Thomas said Ravenscroft invited him to have coffee to tell him about REACH, “and here I am. The work they’re doing is generational.” His history of growing up in dysfunction and without a solid foundation was difficult because “I didn’t have an organization like REACH with those types of support. Today public education is my ministry.”

On-air radio talent Johnny Joy was the evening’s emcee, and Ravenscroft’s invitation to have a cup of coffee also led him to be a board member as well. And Ravenscroft was teased that she must have invited Bart Givens to coffee because he received a “legacy of service” honor.

Norris Penrose manager Evan Park had that cup of coffee and was host of Groovin.’

Ravenscroft acknowledged the nonprofit has had its ups and downs and thanked those “who have rooted for REACH Pikes Peak at a time when people thought it wasn’t worth rooting for.” Those cups of coffee worked because their Pathway out of Poverty has soon-to-be-announced plans to double the number of people helped each year to 20,000. “We have thousands more people to reach,” she promised.

Put on the coffee pot. (reachpikespeak.org)

Photo gallery: gazette.com/life/around-town

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