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Jubilee REACH Empowers Students & Families Across Bellevue

March 10, 2022 - by Sandy Vo

Jubilee REACH Empowers Students & Families Across Bellevue

Jubilee REACH started in 2005 as a warm place for nearby elementary students to stay before and after school. They’ve since grown into a city-wide organization that provides support for students and families across Bellevue. Theresa Larsen, investor relations manager at Jubilee REACH, said the biggest thing that makes them shine is their strong relationships with the local community.

“We’re here to listen to our community and meet the needs of the Bellevue community,” she said.

Jubilee REACH's mission is to bring healing, build community and transform lives. Many of their services are funded by donations and their annual Festival of Trees Gala at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown Bellevue. Every November, guests attend this night of hope and inspiration, and bid on unique items to support the nonprofit. Last year, 400 people attended the event, with more watching through an online broadcast. They raised 1.2 million dollars to support local children and families.

Guests bidding at the annual Festival of Trees Gala

“We really couldn’t do it without our local sponsorship from The Bellevue Collection, El Gaucho, Bellden Cafe, and more,” Larsen said. “It’s been a long, challenging year through the pandemic. It’s amazing to see how supportive and generous our community can be.”

Funds from sponsorships and donations go straight into various programs and events put on by Jubilee REACH, including their school outreach. The partnership between the Bellevue School District and Jubilee REACH staff gave them an opportunity to implement Site Coaches into 14 different public schools. They provide services ranging from relationship building, classroom support, academic coaching to facilitating after-school athletics like chess, soccer and art.  Larsen said once Jubilee REACH settled into schools, they saw a positive impact in students’ lives.

After school program facilitated by Jubilee REACH

“Most of the students we serve come from disadvantaged homes. Their grades are lower and they tend to struggle with school,” she said. “Once we are able to get in and help, we see grades go up and happier students overall.”

Another major service they run is the Jubilee REACH Thrift Store where they provide free clothing, furniture and home goods. Larsen said this is a massive help for vulnerable families.

“Our thrift store is in place to help those transitioning from homelessness, escaping domestic violence, or experiencing financial devastation,” Larsen said. “It’s a wonderful resource for the Bellevue community.”

Groceries for Families launched in March 2020

Services have become more essential during the pandemic. In addition to the thrift store, Jubilee REACH launched Groceries for Families in March 2020 to serve those financially affected. More than 25 organizations and churches have partnered to provide over 200 families with groceries, diapers, baby wipes, and other essential items. As the pandemic continues, Larsen said they will continue to adapt to the needs.

“It’s challenging work, but the hope and resilience we see from families that come in for help is what keeps us going,” Larsen said.

Jubilee REACH is always looking for volunteers to help manage programs and events. Charitable donations also make it possible to support students and families. To learn more about their organization and how to get involved, visit their website!

This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.