Initially our founder, Judy LaBuda, was taking suitcases of school supplies to rural hill tribe villages, schools and orphanages during her travels in Southeast Asia. After discovering a small children’s home in Northern Thailand in 2008, Judy was profoundly moved by the daily struggle of these children to have their most basic educational, housing and emotional needs met.
The financial resources available to the children was minimal at best. Based simply on the geographical place of their birth, these children often seemed destined to a life filled with daily struggles to survive and little hope to improve their situation.
The children resided in an area of Thailand known as the “Golden Triangle,” which is plagued with human and drug trafficking. In an effort to provide opportunities that would keep the children from falling prey to these types of trafficking, Judy initiated a long-term fund raising project committed to enhancing the educational and vocational opportunities available to impoverished hill tribe children in northern Thailand. Over the years Judy took more than fifty committed volunteers to Chiang Rai to work at children’s homes and various educational endeavors.
From those endeavors Charities Within Reach, a nonprofit organization, was created in 2010. A dedicated board of directors has continually worked to improve and alter the lives of hundreds of impoverished children in northern Thailand. These children may be only a very small part of a large global community, but they are children whose lives will now develop and grow beyond any prior expectations and dreams. The horizons of hope have opened to each of them. The change in their lives will impact everyone they touch and provide a better life for those that surround them.
Charities Within Reach founded Promise Home, a children’s home in Chiang Rai, in April of 2013. Our current president, Heather McCarthy, sold her home, car and belongings and moved to Chiang Rai to be the first “house parent” of Promise Home. After launching Promise Home, Heather returned to the U.S., and later became the third and longest serving president of Charities Within Reach. Prior presidents were Judy LaBuda and Faye Victora.
Promise Home has provided housing, education, food stability and love to each of the ten children who resided at Promise Home. Generally, children living in hill tribes achieve a limited education, often only to 3rd or 4th grade. Since Promise Homes inception, three children have graduated from high school, two are graduating from university, one is attending technical school, and the rest remain in their later years of elementary school or are in high school.
Due to the educational success of our children, we have elected to now support the remaining children in their local communities, either with a family of origin member or a family that is provided for the child’s care. Charities Within Reach is committed to continuing the support of each of the children through high school, and if we are financially able, to provide education through technical or university.