Finding A Solution For Something That Troubles Our Hearts

Paul Gilberston from Madison, WI saw what a book might do to help calm a child in a crisis. REACH a Child aims to put smiles on the faces of children in crisis across America through the power of books.  That's what started Paul Gilbertson to start Reach a Child!  Whether the children are in the hospital, victims of domestic disturbance, or automobile accident or  temporarily homeless, REACH a Child wants to help the first responders engage these children in a positive way. In 2007, Children's Book Author, Paul Gilbertson, and his wife, Chris, wanted to find a way to help children who are unfortunate victims of crises.  When the little town of Gays Mills, Wisconsin was flooded that same year, Paul jumped at the chance to try and improve the situation for all the children who were affected by the disaster.  Paul and his daughter packed up the car with boxes of children's books and started their journey.  A few hours later, the two arrived at the scene only to be greeted by yellow police tape, first responders and emergency vehicles.  Although this first attempt to "Bring a smile to the face of a child in the time of need" was not successful, it was just the beginning.  On the drive home that day, Paul realized in order to REACH a Child at the time of crisis, he needed to team up with the people who arrive at the unfortunate crisis first. Out of this experience the R.E.A.C.H. a Child "B.A.C.K. Packets" program was born, this initiative centers around providing approximately 10-12 various children's books to officers and first responders in a red backpack for them to give to children that they see at the scene of an accident, fire, domestic disturbance or in other traumatic situations. Currently these red backpacks are in over 15,000 squad cars and ambulances throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska and California.  Within our first two years we have donated over 175,000 children's books to children in crisis situations with the help of these First Responders, Police, Sheriff and State Patrol officers!  Likewise, we have a waiting list of over 2,000 squad cars and EMS ambulances in over 15 states wanting to get involved in this "B.A.C.K. Packets" program!   Literacy and love go a LONG way... and Paul is a TRUE leader: finding a solution for something that troubled his heart.


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