Bedwell Named Acting REACH Director

Cannon County Executive Mike Gannon announced Monday a change in the leadership of the county's afterschool program.

Linda Bedwell, who has been serving as Executive Assistant  and Outreach Site Coordinator of REACH, will now be serving in the capacity of Acting Director, Gannon said.

Angela King has been serving as REACH's director, but she has requested a leave of absence, Gannon said.

Gannon said that he does not have a timetable for King' return.

Gannon said he has asked Bedwell to perform a complete review of the REACH program, which has been suffering a funding shortfall the last two years due to cuts in state grant money.

Two grants totalling $121,000 received last year were not available this year, Gannon said.

"We need to do a complete evaluation of everything we do at REACH," Gannon said. "It is important that we try and do everything we can to keep the program operational, because it serves well over 100 kids in this community each year. To end it would put a hardship on a lot of parents."

Gannon added, however, that it was also vital that REACH operate within it budget. In recent years the program has had to borrow money from the county's General Fund to transition from one budget year to the next.

Along with focusing on providing a safe and secure place for children, REACH offers academic help, fitness and enrichment activities, a nutritious snack, and stresses a fun learning environment for participants.

In its almost 11 years, REACH has served over 5,000 Cannon County children and has helped to increase graduation rates at the high school.

Last year, the REACH program was the subject of some adverse findings returned following a State audit. Gannon said additional auditing assistance was brought in to help correct the problems.