COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The goal of The REACH Project at Texas A&M is to not only make a difference within the university, but also in the Bryan-College Station community.
This non-profit organization was founded in 2017 by Max Gerall. Six years later, multiple partnerships have been made to bring educational resources and opportunities to students and our community.
During their second annual awards ceremony and luncheon Friday afternoon, Gerall and other members of The REACH Project brought all of the work they are doing in the community to light.
“Everything we do is actually powered by university students, so we get to empower students to practice what they learn in the classroom and benefit the families and the communities that we’re within,” said Max Gerall, Executive Director, The REACH Project.
Gerall says the reach project aims to expand and enhance their entrepreneurial journey.
“The past week, we launched our second entrepreneurial cohort,” Gerall said.
“We have 60 entrepreneurs that want to take their side hustle and turn it into a full-time gig, and we have worked tirelessly to be able to sponsor each one of those families, so that $5,000 value is completely free of charge for the end user.”
One recent graduate of the entrepreneurial cohort is Shontay Jones, owner of Desired Treasures Boutique, a plus-sized women’s boutique.
“It is going very good,” said Shontay Jones, awardee and REACH Graduate.
“I sent my first out of state order back in December and I just did another one recently, so we’re moving up.”
Jones had the vision to create her own business for a few years.
Now as an awardee, she’s spreading her wealth of knowledge with others.
“I’ve also helped five or six other businesses come out with the help of the REACH Project, and what they have taught me — I’ve been teaching them,” Jones said.
Through multiple partnerships and programs, Gerall has found a way to bridge the gap by providing resources to help individuals and families.
“We have 34 unique programs — everything from health and wellness fairs, ESL and GED classes, financial literacy classes, home ownership, entrepreneurship classes, really anything that we can to support our community — that’s what we want to do,” Gerall said.
Jones shared this token as a takeaway for the audience.
“[I'm] letting them know that it’s okay to follow your dreams, because I didn’t follow mine for the first two years and then I came with it,” Jones said.
Anyone wanting to learn more about The REACH Project can visit their website here.