Posted on Jul 09, 2019
Executive Director of Reach Child and Youth Development Society, a non-profit organization that helps children with special needs reach their full potential, Renie D'Aquila, was recognized by the Rotary Club of Ladner with a prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award for helping people in the community with developmental disabilities during most of her working life.
 
Reach Executive Director Renie D'Aquila, left, receives Rotary's Paul Harris Fellow Award from 2018-19 President Kerry-Lynne Findlay -- photo by Chris Offer
In the 20 years she has held her current position as Reach Executive Director Renie has ensured that all Reach programs and services follow a positive, supportive and family-centred approach, leading to their great success. With that focus and her work with others to attract sustainable funding, over 1000 children now benefit from Reach programs and services so that families experience success and each child is given the opportunity to reach their potential.
 
Renie has been an untiring advocate for children and families and currently serves on the Board of the BC Association for Child Development and Intervention whose mission is to advocate for quality child development and therapy services which are inclusive and accessible to all children and families.
 
Among her many accomplishments, in 2010 Renie formed the Reach Foundation Board to raise funds to build a new child development centre.  The Building for Children Together project was a partnership between the Corporation of Delta, Reach and the Ladner Tsawwassen Kinsmen Club. The Corporation provided the land, valued at in excess of $1 million and the Reach Foundation raised $5.7 million to ensure completion of the new centre's construction.
 
The Reach Foundation Board’s first chair, Rotarian Irene Forcier, says: “The resourcefulness and persistence that Renie has displayed throughout her working life in fighting for vulnerable populations has resulted in the creation of the beautiful Reach children's centre in Ladner that serves children and youth with special needs and their families.”
 
Lois E. Jackson Kinsmen Centre for Children, which opened in February 2018, is the home for Reach Child and Youth Development Society
In February 2018, the 3-storey, 20,000 square foot Lois E. Jackson Kinsmen Centre for Children opened its doors. The new centre is a wonderful resource for the community, including therapy and counseling rooms, youth program areas, specialized lending libraries and an inclusive preschool with an accessible playground.
 
“Renie is a thoughtful and passionate leader for the team at Reach,” Forcier says. “She cares greatly for each individual's health and wellbeing and will always go out of her way to support her team both personally and professionally.”
 
Renie began her career teaching cooking and aerobics/physical fitness to adults with special needs. When she joined Delta Recycling Society she helped expand the recycling program across the community and attract grants to include cans, bottles and plastics along with paper. Most of the adults who worked at the recycling warehouse were adults with developmental disabilities. She eventually worked with the Corporation of Delta to take on funding of the recycling program and became Executive Director of the Recycling Council of BC.