2018 was a tremendous year for the team at Reach For Outer Space (RFOS). To round up our year is no easy task, but we want to update everyone who is following our journey on what we got up to! Keep reading to find out about a few of our milestones from 2018.
RFOS Reading Corner
-Over 1000 Books
In every book that RFOS donates, we stick in one of our stickers that shows our colourful logo and location. In February we ran out of our stickers for the first time, which signalled us surpassing 1000 books donated to our reading corners across the world!
Our vision is to bring RFOS worldwide! This year, we continued reaching further across the world, and you can now find our reading corners in 22 locations across the globe. In March 2018 books for our first African reading corner arrived in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo! Closer to home, our brilliant new Toronto team setting up four reading corners in the Toronto area to benefit their local refugee community.
RFOS Youth Ambassadors
-York House School
In September 2018 we welcomed some new young members to our team after our founder Bianca Fusco Zanatta received a heartfelt letter from an enthusiastic and inspiring young student at York House School, Vancouver, BC. This student gushed about her awe for the organization and asked to get involved with Reach For Outer Space as part of service for her and her peers. Understandably, our team was thrilled at the idea, and we now have eight new Grade 10 & 11 York House Ambassadors, helping us with everything from fundraising and creating reading corners to social media and sticker sorting. We could tell that they were going to be a valuable addition to the Reach For Outer Space team, and they’ve proved us right by almost reaching their entire fundraising goal within 2 weeks of it being set!
A local Girl Guides unit chose RFOS as their service project for 2018, so they spent the year collecting and sorting books for us. Seeing young children rallying together and enthusiastically working to help children less fortunate than themselves is heartwarming and a testament to the Girl Guides of Canada.
December is traditionally the busiest month for Reach For Outer Space, as our organization originated from the holiday parties Bianca and her family threw for local underprivileged children, and December 2018 was no exception.
-RFOS Ladies Charity Luncheon
This year Bianca hosted her 18th Annual Ladies Charity Luncheon at La Terrazza Restaurant. The event was, as usual, an outstanding success and we’re grateful to each and every participant, from the corporate sponsors to the ladies who lunched. The luncheon raised awareness of our cause and raised money for plenty of Christmas presents for the children, as well as bringing together part of the Vancouver community and spreading Christmas cheer!
-RFOS Children’s Christmas Party
At the annual RFOS Children’s Christmas Party, which in the past has been coordinated in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast BC hosting over 2000 children, we aim to make Christmas wishes come true. This year, RFOS Children’s Christmas were at shelters hosting 120 underprivileged children a magical Christmas by granting the children two wishes from their wish lists, as well as providing gingerbread cookies, a stocking full of treats, new boots, hats and mittens, and a warm lunch for all of them. We also delivered eight oversized boxes of brand new presents to a transition house in Smithers, BC, to make sure that everyone, including mothers and grandmothers, received a Christmas present. With all the presents we delivered and the joy we spread, volunteering with RFOS at Christmas is the closest you can get to being Santa Claus!
We are very happy with the impact we made in 2018 and we’re not going to be losing momentum in 2019. So far this year we have already set up our first reading corner in Victoria, BC, and plans are in motion to launch our RFOS Outreach Backpacks Program in early June 2019. The idea of the backpack program is to equip children with some essentials and some fun activities for the long summer months away from school. We’ve been lucky to enlist the help of some fantastic ladies from the UBC Panhellenic house, to help us put together these packs. We’re really excited to be beginning a partnership with some more ladies in the local community.
In the year ahead we’ll be celebrating the 2 year anniversary of the RFOS reading corner program in mid February, Also, we’ll be continuing to look for opportunities to expand to other locations where we can help make a difference, and create comfortable spaces for children to explore the world through words!
Reach for Outer Space… more to come…