Who We Are


REACH was established in 1998 by educator, Kristin Hildum. The program involved a simple model: volunteers reading, crafting, and giving books to children in homeless or domestic violence shelters. The first Read Aloud Program was established at the Help and Emergency Response (H.E.R.) Shelter and has grown to eleven partner homeless and domestic violence shelter and nine community organizations in Hampton Roads. REACH is working to reverse illiteracy and improve education for at-risk children. REACH promotes youth literacy/education and continues to impact and support the literacy needs in Hampton Roads. Reading is an important foundation for success and our Read Aloud programs help homeless and at-risk children beat the odds and work to achieve future academic achievement. Our goal is to continue meeting the regional priorities of improving literacy and education for children ages 0-17, especially those living in poverty.


Dr. Jennifer Goff

Executive Director

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Leslie Clarridge

Volunteer and Program Coordinator

Prior to joining REACH, Jenny was the Director of CARE Now, an in and after-school program that promoted character and resiliency in youth who faced at-risk situations. She also taught at Old Dominion University for seven years in the Park, Recreation and Tourism Program, as well as worked at Busch Gardens Williamsburg for nine years, where she last served as the assistant buyer. She has presented at the national, regional, and local level, published many peer-reviewed articles, and continues to support her community through hundreds of hours of service. She received her BS in Therapeutic Recreation, her MSEd. in Recreation and Tourism, and her PhD in Sport and Recreation management with an emphasis in positive youth development and service-learning. Jennifer has an extensive background in positive youth development, grant seeking, community partnerships, and outcome focused programming that she is excited to share with REACH!

Leslie is a Hampton Roads local who grew up in a military family. She is a graduate of Salem High School in Virginia Beach, and attended Mansfield School of Business while working full-time for the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Epidemiology. While continuing to pursue her degree, she began to explore other opportunities through her volunteer work with the American Red Cross. Leslie’s non-profit career has spanned over 20 years where she worked at the American Red Cross Tidewater Chapter in financial development and volunteer management, served as the Director of Program Services for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, as well as the Food and Fund Drive manager for the Foodbank of Southeastern VA. Driven to help alleviate illiteracy, Leslie has been the Volunteer and Program Coordinator for REACH since 2013.

Our Mission & Vision

What We’re About

REACH’s mission is to promote literacy for children who are at-risk and homeless throughout Coastal Virginia.

Our vision is to invest, build, and support literacy by:
- Promoting reading comprehension and writing skills in collaboration with community partners.
- Providing the largest number of new and gently loved books to our community.
-Providing progressive literacy resources through continued access to books and programs.

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

– The Lorax, Dr. Seuss

REACH is a volunteer organization that promotes literacy for children who are at-risk and homeless throughout Coastal Virginia. Through our programs, advocates/volunteers spend time with children in both the community and shelters reading and providing a support activity. REACH programming now serves eleven area homeless and domestic violence family shelters and 45 community partners/initiatives!