#AlwaysThere – My Father

This post was authored by Mark Hecker, Reach’s executive director, and is part of our year-end #AlwaysThere campaign.

In the first post of this campaign, I told the story of my mother. It was her presence that allowed me to succeed where others might have failed. Though gone shortly after my 13th birthday, my father also played a key role in my development. In fact, he lived by a quote that, since the first time I heard it, has remained a challenge:

541253_10100192329297354_2056454645_nI shall pass through this world just once. Any good I can do, therefore, or any kindness I can show, to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it, nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

No one really knows who said it. It’s most often now listed as a Quaker saying. But, I feel challenged to live up to that expectation – defined by my father – each and every day.

My father remains in a more literal way as well. Reach’s name was invented as part of a grad school assignment. And it stuck. One of the reasons it stuck was that my father’s initials, ACH, sat looking back at me every time I wrote it. It was a constant reminder of him asJunior Staff a driving force in everything Reach does.

My father’s initials – his presence – are literally present everywhere Reach’s name appears…on teen-authored books, in newspaper articles, and on the curriculum manuals that drive the work our participants do every day.

But, most important, they sit on the hoodie. The hoodie is Reach’s highest honor. Only 13 tutors have earned it. Instructors only get it after a year of service. Full-time employees are told to wear it with pride. I wear mine a lot. And there, sitting on my heart, my father’s initials.

Gone for more than 22 years, he’s still #AlwaysThere.


Through the end of the year, we’ll be sharing stories that demonstrate our year-end campaign theme: #AlwaysThere. It’s what inspires Reach’s work, and it’s what we try to be for our kids. We hope you’ll use #AlwaysThere to tell us your stories using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

And, when so inspired, we hope you’ll visit www.reachincorporated.org/alwaysthere to make a contribution.

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