Kathy Reed Connects with Students in her Community


Whether it's planning an event to encourage students to engage with the local community, or helping older and younger students connect with each other, School Outreach Specialist Kathy Reed plays a part in many programs for students in South Windsor.

Reed, a South Windsor native, has held the position in the Youth and Families Department for four years. Her office being at Timothy Edwards Middle School makes her job more interactive, she said.

"It's great that the middle school allows this position to be here because it's a great way that I can connect with the kids and the staff working right in the school, as opposed to being in the Community Center," she said. "It's a great fit."

Reed's main objective is connecting the schools and community using appropriate outreach programs. She facilitates many major events and programs in town.

One of the biggest programs she runs in is the Jump Start program. In the program, high school students volunteer to tutor middle school students once a week throughout the year.

"It's really an amazing program because the tutors gain experience helping others, but the students at the middle school appreciate that the older students are taking time to really work with them," Reed said. "They really look up to them and get to know the high school kids." She added that there are 70 students involved each week in the program.

Another program that Reed is involved in is the mentoring program. South Windsor High School, TEMS, Youth and Family Services, and the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce all collaborate to connect the community with students.

"Kids get outside support in a structured environment at school for an hour a week and play games, eat lunch and just really bond," Reed said. "It's very casual and gives them an outlet to maybe have a little break from the stress of the day."

The mother of five is also the adviser of the high school's student-run Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) group. There are about 50 students in SADD, and they all encourage their peers to make positive decisions, Reed said.

Reed and the group will have a "Distractology" event at the end of the month, which simulates students being distracted drivers behind the wheel.

A major outreach event last year that Reed was responsible for was "Cops, Coffee, and Conversation."

"It was a way for people to meet the new Student Resource Officers and at the same time get good information from police officers," she said.

The next event will be April 24 for parents of students grades 5-8 and will feature Officer Tina Roy. The topic will be "Keeping Kids Safe on Social Media."

With a degree and background in human services and education, and a work history in South Windsor, Reed said she couldn't think of a better job for her.

"Because there's so many opportunities out there, I can be a self-starter and be creative," she said. "It's kind of nice to be given that freedom."

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