The Riverside Educational Center provides structured tutoring and diverse extra-curricular activities in the after-school hours for academically and financially qualifying K-12th grade students in order to improve academic achievement and foster positive social and emotional development in a safe and supportive environment.
As a former third grade teacher, Riverside Educational Center founder, Mary Spirio Gonzales, saw first hand the limited academic support many Riverside students were receiving at home due to several factors. Factors such as parents holding down more than one job, parents whose primary language was Spanish, or students coming from single-parent homes.
Determined to make a difference in the community, Mary approached the Riverside Task Force Inc. in the Fall of 2005 to determine the need for a student academic support program in the Riverside neighborhood. Her vision was to provide low-cost, after-school tutoring for the Elementary and Middle School kids of this special neighborhood with additional efforts made to provide them with diverse learning opportunities through enrichment classes.
On January 31, 2006, in partnership with the Riverside Task Force Inc., Mary opened the doors of the Riverside Educational Center (REC) as a non-profit 501 (c)3 assisting 22 students with their homework
By REC’s Tenth Anniversary in January of 2016, REC had grown to serve 150 Kindergarten through 12th Grade students in three locations! Mary had moved on, but she left the organization in the capable hands of current REC Executive Director, Joy Hudak, with the strong support of a dedicated Board of Directors.
The Riverside Educational Center program has developed to so much more than after-school tutoring. Enrichment classes include an emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) based topics. Outdoor programming is supported by strong partnerships with other organizations within the Grand Junction community. A focus on community building is strengthened through parent engagement and by developing Youth Leaders amongst REC’s High School kids who assist with the younger students’ programming.
Riverside Educational Center’s mission to provide academic support in a safe and supportive environment, to provide diverse learning opportunities, and to foster social and emotional development will continue to be a guiding force as it looks for new opportunities to impact kids in the Grand Valley who need it most.
Riverside Educational Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is licensed by the State of Colorado, Department of Human Services’ Office of Early Childhood to operate as a Neighborhood Youth Organization within Mesa County.