Nick Bayard, Director of the Reach Center

Nick Bayard has led one of the most involved lives we’ve come across. A graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Bayard went on to work in Paraguay with the Peace Corps for three years; was involved in the placement of preschools in low-income neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.; has played with several bluegrass bands and rock bands; and even launched an all-girls academy while in Liberia as a Harvard Fellow. Of course, none of this includes the work he’s currently doing with The REACH Center in Tacoma. The center is a one-stop service center for those ages 16-24, with more than 30 programs and services that range from rapid rehousing to peer mentoring. The Tacoma resident shared with us a little about how his work has impacted him, as well as the community. 

Favorite Places

To Relax

I love to take our kids down to Titlow Beach to wade in the water and skip rocks. I would also recommend Happy Holistic Health and Healing for any massage enthusiasts out there.  

For Dinner

Photo by Rachel Coward

The Monday night all-you-can-eat fish and chips at Anthony’s is pretty spectacular, and Cook’s Tavern is a family favorite of ours. 

To Grab a Drink

Stack 571 has the most impressive selection of spirits I have seen in a while, and a couple of their drinks actually arrive at the table smoking.

Inspiration Board

What are you reading?

Loving What Is by Byron Katie. It teaches a method of inquiry into our own thought patterns that can shift our perspective in a radical and helpful way.   

What are you listening to?

On days I feel like getting fired up, I turn on the Grateful Dead’s 5/8/77 show at Cornell University, which never fails to disappoint. It is helpful that my office is nearly soundproof.  

Favorite movie

The Big Lebowski. The dude abides. 

Favorite places to travel

We love getting away to Portland for day trips or long weekends. My 3-year-old daughter especially loves the monsters at the Freakybuttrue Peculiarium.   

Best advice you’ve received

Once, when I was deeply upset at my parents about something, my mother said, “Don’t care so much about what Dad and I think.” It helped me see that I was the only person with the power to free myself from anger.

Who inspires you?

My oldest son, Ukweli, is wise and dignified well beyond his 16 years.  

When I’m not working —

I’m playing guitar, hanging out with my family, or working on some kind of home-improvement project.   


You’ve led a rich life so far and are involved in the community. Could you share one thing you’ve done that’s impacted you?

I have played folk and bluegrass music for the past 15 years, but in 2014, my wife suggested that my oldest son and I team up to record and produce an album of original children’s folk music. That album, Wishing Well, ended up being picked up by radio stations across the country and won a couple of awards. The big lesson there is that we often create artificial rules about what we are and what we aren’t — and what we do and what we don’t. But there is nothing stopping us from doing something totally unexpected and fun. It’s a lesson that’s too easy to forget.   

What attracted you to The REACH Center? 

When I moved to Tacoma in 2014, I was fascinated to learn about this place, where all of the regional youth service agencies and educational institutions were working together on common goals. I had never heard of anything like it. We get to work on young-adult housing issues, behavioral health, education, workforce development, equity and social justice, and general community development. We also get to work on solutions to short-term and long-term problems, which can be arduous, exhilarating, and gratifying all
at once.    

is an assistant editor at South Sound magazine. Email her.
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