Samantha recalls the day as if it was yesterday, she was standing in the office of my daughter’s elementary school when a mom walked in with her young son clearly out of breath and upset. She said to the secretary, “Please tell me breakfast isn’t over, can he still get something to eat?” She remembers the look of relief on her face when the secretary responded that it wasn’t too late.
This saddened her because she saw a mother who was so desperately trying to support her child and didn’t have the means to do so. The secretary noticed Samantha’s stare and said, “Samantha, this is normal for many in our area, on the outskirt of the beautiful houses and cars in the driveways are homeless and needy families. Over 50% of the students who attend this school is on the Free and Reduced Lunch meal program.”
Her journey towards building Reaching Out Now (RON) started from that moment when she became a volunteer to support the school in reaching out to the community. This was back in 2007, and by end 2008 the paperwork to establish Reaching Out Now as a 501 (C ) (3) was approved by the IRS.
With the support of friends, principals, and teachers, the organization began with the focus of supporting low-income families, the public schools, and teachers. The mission was accepted by most, but with the start of everything, challenges arose. They persevered, kept our eyes on purpose, and forged forward. Samantha, in particular, had to forge ahead through a painful divorce, homelessness, jobless, and other struggles. She became that mom desperately trying to support her children—her children too were enrolled in the Free and Reduce Meal Program, and she received assistance from the Department of Social Services in getting food stamps and Medicaid for her and her children. It was a painful and challenging season, but the passion for supporting families in need became even stronger.
She was offered a job by the principal of one the schools RON supported and over the next three years Reaching Out Now was a pillar in the community. The organization was awarded the honor of being the non-profit organization of the year twice. They supported the summer meal program by having community food drive in partnership with large food chains to feed students over the summer months. The annual bookbag program yielded enough donated bookbags filled with school supplies to support students in need of school supplies in all of Charles County Public Schools.
In 2012 RON added the mentoring programs for girls called Inspired to Lead and the Lotus program for boys. They partnered with the public school system to mentor students in 6th -12th grade. Students who remained in the program received scholarships towards post-secondary education.
The season for RON in Charles County closed when her family moved to Alexandria, Virginia, but her love and support for students continue as staff at T.C William High School in the College and Career Center. Years passed, and she often thought of the great work they did in Charles County, Maryland, but life, family, and the work she was doing at T.C had to be her focus.
Today, five years later, after the door closed to RON, her family has moved to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. The flame has ignited, and a dream and passion for empowering and leading young girls and young women to become their best selves is once again a reality. As an entity, Samantha hopes to support and guide these young girls and women to believe that success is within reach, they can and will become a positive influence in society and in their community. They will reach their full potential and no matter the circumstance, it is possible to live a life of success and not defeat.
Chairman of the Board, Director of Finance & Business Strategies
For more than 30 years, Joe has worked as a general manager, leader, and advocate for serving for three very highly respected and Fortune Five Hundred Companies. He started his career as a general manager with a family-built company, The Hechinger Home Improvement stores, that he credits his love and passion for serving his customers and taking care of his associates. Joe said that the family values and the core beliefs that his first employer represented and instilled early in his career set the foundation and a platform for service to the community. Joe has also worked and manager for the Walmart/ Sam’s Club Company where he got involved in supporting veterans, and the wounded warriors returning from the war in Iraq through Walter Reed Hospital and the Malone House. Around this same time, Joe was introduced to a nonprofit organization supporting teachers and helping young children that were on free and reduced lunch program, Reaching Out now Inc.
He became aware of the unfortunate needs of young children that of no fault of their own became underserved and many cases overlooked. Presently Joe works as a manager for the Costco Wholesale Company. He has recently relocated to a simpler life in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where he lives with his wife and is raising two amazing children, a son that has just entered into high school and plays year-round baseball, and a daughter that is in her third year at James Maddison University studying International Relations, and Political Science. Along with his wife, Samantha, they are re-establishing their non-profit organization Reaching Out Now, Inc., to support their new community. When Joe is not working or shuttling his son to travel baseball or helping Samantha with planning events for Reaching Out Now, you will likely find him riding his Harley-Davidson Motorcycle all around the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains.
Message from the Founder
It is with a heart filled with joy, yet emotions of sorrow for an abundance of need in our community that I write to you our partners, contributors, affiliates, parents, teachers, family, and friends. I have such a desire to serve and make a difference in the lives of school-aged girls, young women, and our public-school teachers; thus, my passion for starting Reaching Out Now was born. I am but one, but I am thankful to God who has surrounded me with passionate individuals who share the passion and vision to make a difference and leading the next generation to believe that their true potential is within reach.
I am very much aware of how it feels to be in need, not to trust, to feel neglected, to feel ashamed, and to be lost and hopeless with no one in sight to help or to comfort. Coming together as a community is what Reaching Out Now is all about. We desire to work together, not apart. With your help and support, we can make it happen. We are committed, dedicated, and focused, to create programs that will serve students and families in the public schools’ community. RON will challenge those we serve to build a bridge that reaches victory, make confident decisions that will set them on a path to success. We will incorporate our core values of focus, love, dedication, and commitment by providing the tools they need during this crucial phase of their young lives.
We care for our teachers and recognize that they are the heart of our community and the educational development of our children. Everything starts with a seed, and our teachers plant seeds of greatness in the lives of our children; they are indeed the core of helping our children. Successful individuals often attribute part of their success to the nurturing and positive impact a teacher made on their lives. We at Reaching Out Now appreciate the relationship and partnership with teachers and want to alleviate the stress by supporting the classroom. The ripple effect of this support will help students, schools, and the overall community. Thank you for your assistance in being a part of the Reaching Out Now family as we work together to make a difference in the lives of our female students in our community.
Samantha N. Barber
Founder and President
Reaching Out Now, Inc.