Our Imperative

The REACH Imperative is to strengthen the fabric of the community by engaging university and community partners to eliminate social and financial inequities in college towns around the country.

REACH History

The REACH Project is a nonprofit organization founded in 2017 by Max Gerall, an A&M undergrad whose friendship with a cafeteria worker led to his realization that the 3,000 contract service workers on campus were virtually unknown and unseen, but essential members of the community. They cook the meals, clean the dorms and classrooms, fix the toilets, and keep the campus beautifully maintained, yet they are poorly paid, anonymous, and their value unacknowledged.

Not a legislator, politician, or institutional administrator; what could he do to ameliorate the hardships workers endured because of their unsustainable wages? He realized that what he and other Aggie students did have were time, knowledge, and a commitment to selfless service. With those resources, he developed High Impact Service-learning Opportunities (HISOs), a platform that provides mutually beneficial engagements between students and the service workforce. HISO’s leverage student knowledge critical to the workforce in overcoming multigenerational poverty, while offering students opportunities for experiential learning, soft skill development, and relationships that instill and nurture empathy for a life of service,

REACH kicked off its first programs in 2018, in response to the expressed need of the uninsured workforce for healthcare. Staffed by students from the Health Sciences Center, REACH hosted pop-up clinics and Health & Wellness Fairs on campus. In 2018 and 2019, more than 400 workers and their families attended these events. At the same time, REACH was helping students create their own AgsREACH organization, working with BUILD on the design and construction of its free health clinic (generously funded by a Strategic Philanthropy Grant) and the development of its lifelong learning, personal finance, and homeownership programs.

Early in 2020, COVID-19 came to Texas A&M.  As the campus emptied out, service workers were laid off and furloughed. REACH pivoted and implemented its COVID Emergency Response. Over the course of the next 12 months, approximately 700 families were served 200,000 pounds of produce, 40,000 locally sourced restaurant meals, 7,500 USDA Meal Boxes, and 6,000 pounds of frozen meat, by 240 student volunteers. REACH initiated opening on campus Warming Centers, and drive-thru health clinics.

In the second half of 2020, REACH delivered its first courses in finance, ESL, and homeownership. Since then, the number of participants doubled each course offering (with a 98% retention rate), as has the number of student volunteers and interns. Today, more than 300 students representing 28 different majors regularly serve more than 800 families by providing access to food and healthcare, including vision, dental, and breast health clinics, food-producing home gardening, pet Vet clinics, as well as Everyday ESL, and the REACH Journey Home. Three participants have become homeowners; 7 more have qualified.

Max and Mrs. Melissa


Founder and Executive Director

Max Gerall


Director of Operations

Jillian Warriner, MPH

Entrepreneurial Journey Program Manager

Gabriela Barberena


Housing Navigation Engagement Manager for The REACH Project

Coque Olaosebikan


Family Engagement Coordinator

Kristen Lachelle


REACH Board Of Directors

The REACH Board of Directors is a small but dedicated and hard-working team of founding members and community leaders. As the organization continues to grow, so too does its board, increasing its capacity to accomplish its goals.

William Brown

Professor, Director of the Center for Nonprofits & Philanthropy, & Director of the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management

Dr. William Brown


Immediate past Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences Center at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Regina Beard

Vice President

Human Resource Consultant, and have been working with AmeriBen

Dr. Jonathan Shipley


Personal Banking Officer, Frost Bank

Katherine Moore

Director of Community Services at City of College Station

Debbie Eller

Area Missioner at Episcopal Diocese of Texas

Rev. Andrew Terry

Senior Vice President Government Relations & Public Policy at Operation HOPE

Jena Roscoe

Health Equity Coordinator, Brazos County Health Department

Felicia Benford


AgsREACH is a chartered student organization supporting REACH’s work on the Texas A&M campus by fostering meaningful connections between students and the service workforce, and creating a pipeline of student volunteers.

REACH Community Leaders Subcommittees

The REACH Community Leaders Subcommittees give voice to the workforce REACH serves. The Community Board ensures that REACH programs and services reflect the workforce’s needs and priorities, are easily accessible give and are delivered with respect and dignity.

Mrs. Irma Ramirez
Mrs. Irma RamirezFood Service, 46 years
Mrs. Cathy Robinson
Mrs. Cathy RobinsonCustodial, 20 years
Mrs. Angie Ramirez
Mrs. Angie RamirezFood Service, 44 years
Tonja Mooring
Tonja MooringBryan ISD Employee 8 years
Mrs. Melissa Martinez
Mrs. Melissa MartinezFood Service, 10 years
Mr. Melvin & Mrs. Lisa Floyd
Mr. Melvin & Mrs. Lisa FloydFood service, 8 years

REACH Highlights

Jan. 2017

Founding members incorporated The REACH Project in the State of Texas

Jan. 2018

Recieved IRS 501c3 status

Oct. 2018

Launched REACH Community Leaders Board

Dec. 2018

Finalized community survey of 181 families

Mar. 2019

Hosted first pop-up clinic

Partner: TAMU College of Pharmacy

May 2019

Launched the REACH12 A&M Faculty and Community
Leaders Advisory Board

Sep. 2019

Launched first semi-annual Family Health & Wellness Fair (101 attendees)

Partners: TAMU Colleges of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Public Health

Jan. 2020

Received largest grant in class history from Strategic
Philanthropy for BUILD Container Clinics

Apr. 2020

Launched REACH Community Alliance to purchase 34,000
meals for laid-off families during COVID-19 pandemic

Partners: Papa Perez, Good Bull BBQ, The Village, Hungry Howies, Double Daves, Laynes, Admiral Catering, Chartwells Catering, and Mad Taco

Sept. 2020

Innovation X Grant for Care Sheds

Partner: TAMU College of Architecture

Oct. 2020

Launched 7 Step Journey to Homeownership Course (51

Partners: Junior Achievement, American Momentum Bank, Frost Bank, and City of College Station

Dec. 2020

Hosted first Family Farm Day

Dec. 2020

Hosted first Angel Tree Drive-Thru (128 families)

Partner: Ags REACH

Jan. 2021

Acquired permanent office and classroom spaces

Partner: McFerrin Center for Entreprenuership

Feb. 2021

Collaborated on TAMU Warming Center

Feb. 2021

Administered 181 Emergency Response Grants from
winter storm

Partner: Stylecraft Builders

Apr. 2021

Hosted first Pet Health Fair

Partners: TAMU College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical
Sciences and Banfield Foundation

Apr. 2021

First graduate of 7 Step Journey to Homeownership qualified for a home loan

May 2021

Donated first car to REACH family member

Partner: OnRamp

Jun. 2021

Launched first ESL course (35 participants)

Jul. 2021

Hosted first Von’s Vision Day

Partners: Von’s Vision, TAMU Student Health Services, and Aggieland Credit Union

Aug. 2021

Held first free mammogram screenings

Partner: The Rose

Sep. 2021

Partnered to build 5 homes for REACH family graduates

Partner: Stylecraft Builders

Oct. 2021

Gained partnership with Operation Hope

Nov. 2021

Fall Festival

Partner: AMC

Nov. 2021

Thanksgiving meal giveaway on Thanksgiving Day

Partner: Agape Church

Dec. 2021

First Angel Tree Drive with Agape Church

Partner: Agape Church

Feb. 2022

Launched One Million Black Businesses (1MBB) Program

Partner: Operation HOPE, Square Inc, The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship

Feb. 2022

Hosted first REACH for the Stars Fundraiser

March 2022

Hosted first REACH Eye Clinics

Partner: Noon Lions Club

April 2022

Hosted first REACH Leadership Workshop for Davila Middle School

May 2022

1MBB Pitch Competition