REACH Background and Guiding Principles

Sierra Health Foundation’s grant program, REACH: Connecting Communities and Youth for a Healthy Future, focuses on that critical time in a young person’s life — primarily age 10 to 15 — when youth begin experiencing growing independence, and when decisions can have a profound effect on healthy development and successful progression to adulthood. It is also a time when, provided with sufficient skills and support, youth can make decisions to avoid risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol use.

Youth development research shows that youth have a better chance of succeeding if they are engaged in positive activities in and out of school. The REACH program focuses on:

  • Increasing youth participation in quality programs
  • Providing opportunities for youth to develop leadership skills while contributing to their communities
  • Helping communities take action to create positive opportunities for youth

Guiding Principles
The following principles guide our work and the selection of partners in this grant program:

  • Youth are an asset in a community to be nurtured and developed.
  • Healthy adolescent development includes developing intellectually, socially, physically, psychologically and emotionally.
  • Youth are more likely to successfully cope with challenges and adversity when supported by a nurturing adult; good role models; a safe, supportive environment; and opportunities to learn and contribute to family and community.
  • All young people need to develop skills to become self-sufficient, participate fully in the workplace, assume family responsibilities and become engaged citizens.
  • The most successful approaches to youth development will be created and developed in partnership with young people, their families, providers and the community.

See Youth Development Information for more practices and principles.


REACH Program Strategies
Through three initial funding strategies, REACH targets youth, organizations and communities in the California Capital Region.

/?q=node/64">Community Action grants — Sierra Health has committed almost $5 million to seven broad community coalitions to create positive opportunities for their youth. In 2006, coalitions in El Dorado Hills, Galt, Meadowview, Rancho Cordova, South Sacramento, West Sacramento and Woodland were awarded nine-month planning grants of $75,000 each. In May 2007, the seven coalitions were awarded implementation grants of $600,000, which will be distributed over three years.

/?q=node/67">Program Improvement grants — Grants up to $10,000 are available to increase youth participation in quality programs. These grants help support existing youth programs for greater reach and impact, as well as promote the development of new programs.

/?q=node/65">Youth Engagement grants — In partnership with the Sacramento Region Community Foundation and the El Dorado and Placer community foundations, REACH supports the Grants Advisory Board for Youth to fund youth-led community service projects. This strategy supports the development of important life and leadership skills by creating opportunities for young people to contribute to their communities.