Literacy Center

REACH – Reading Enhances All Choices for Humans
Literacy Center Building Project Information Sheet


“Individuals need an opportunity to enhance their ability to read – REACH is that opportunity.” Barbara Clarkson, Program Founder, Lacey Washington


What is the REACH Program?

  1. is a community-based literacy program. The mission of is to “improve lives through literacy.” At its core it is about empowerment to break the cycle of poverty. It was established in 2018 and currently provides a summer boost for grades K-5 in language, computers, and math. The existing program is maintained by volunteers at minimal cost, with space donated by St. Andrew’s Methodist Church.

What is the Literacy Center Building Project?

The REACH program is expanding its scope and capacity and has incorporated as a Community-Based Nonprofit Organization. As of 7-8-19 documents have been submitted to the IRS for a 501c3 designation.

The goal of the expanded program is to build a nonprofit literacy education center to house REACH. The expanded program will offer its services to adults, all grades 1-12 and will also teach ESL. The expansion to all grades is evidence based, the data Indicates that if a student cannot read by the 4th grade there is a high probability they will not graduate from high school.

The expansion will include a new facility on land donated by St. Andrew’s Methodist Church, and will be a stand-alone organization, separate from the church. A local firm, KMB Architects, has donated design services for the building. The facility is holistic and includes classrooms, laundry, kitchen, showers, and an office.

The expansion of services is data driven and based on the established needs of the Tanglewilde community. It answers the call to welcome the stranger and love your neighbor as yourself.

The Setting

REACH Program is located at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church. address is 540 School St SE, Tanglewilde, Washington. Tanglewilde is part of the Lacey Urban Growth Area, is in unincorporated Thurston County, and is a Census Designated Place (CDP.)

Lydia Hawk Elementary School is located across the street from St. Andrews United Methodist Church and because of this proximity the church has forged a close relationship with the school community. A second elementary school, Olympia View, is located just over a mile away in the same CDP, and the church provides volunteer services at that school as well. Students from these two elementary schools go to Nisqually Middle School and River Ridge High School in the North Thurston School District.

Community Profile

Tanglewilde community is diverse, with many ethnic communities represented, including SE Asian, Pacific Islander, Black Americans, Latino, African immigrants, Muslims, Native Americans, households with family members serving in the military, and students and families that are unhoused. It is not unusual for a Lydia Hawk student to be in a home where English is not spoken, where a parent is deployed, or where there is food insecurity.

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From the OSPI 2018-19 Report Card for Lydia Hawk Elementary:

  • Only 26 percent of the children entering kindergarten are “ready” using the six basic measurements - Social-Emotional, Physical, Language, Cognitive, Literacy, and Math.
  • Over 20 percent of the students missed more than two days of school each month.
  • Less than half met grade-level standards for English and math, and less than 1/3 met science standards.
  • Over 20% of the students had a disability.
  • Over 5 % are homeless.
  • 72 percent are low-income and 67% participate in free or reduced-price meals.

From the 2010 Census for the Tanglewilde CDP:

  • Median age is 37.5 years.
  • Median household income is $60,928, and per capita income is $25,089.
  • 16.5% of the population is below the poverty level, with children overrepresented in the data.
  • Off-base housing for JBLM personnel is significant, with the City of Lacey population comprised of 16% military households, and Tanglewilde having a significant portion of this.

Sponsors/Partners (* indicates conversations planned yet haven’t taken place as of 7/8/19)

  • St Andrew’s Methodist Church, First Methodist Church, Tumwater United Methodist Church, and Shelton United Methodist Church
  • St Martin’s University
  • KMB Architects
  • South Puget Sound Community College
  • South Sound Reading Foundation
  • North Thurston School District
  • ESD 113
  • Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction*
  • Nisqually Tribe*
  • JBLM*
  • Murdock Charitable Trust*
  • Gates Foundation*
  • State Department of Commerce*

Operational Budget Estimates

Approximately $290,000/yr based on serving 100 students/year. This represents funding for a full-time program manager, one or two teachers full time, a part-time administrative assistant, two teaching assistants, a bookkeeper/accountant, and a custodian. The REACH Board of Directors will be pursuing grants and funding to sustain the operating budget.

Building Cost Estimates

Approximately $2.5 million, based on estimates by KMB architects, who have donated the design services.

Bottom Line - Return on Investment

  1. and vocabulary skills are strongly correlated with health, wellness, and success, and children’s early skills are linked to their economic backgrounds. The Tanglewilde community is a place where many children face economic challenges and daily hardships, and these children and their families will benefit from the REACH program and the Literacy Center.


  May 2021  
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