Riverside Educational Center provides Mesa County students with high-quality academic and extracurricular experiences during out-of-school time to foster individual growth and to create community within a safe, diverse, equitable, inclusive environment.
Riverside Educational Center envisions a community where all students realize their goals and fulfill their dreams.
Mary Spirio and Joy Hudak
As a former third grade teacher, Mary Spirio saw first-hand the lack of academic support many students experienced outside of school. She envisioned a program that removes the barriers to learning and opportunity that many kids face.
In January 2006, Mary opened the doors of the Riverside Educational Center (REC), a nonprofit organization assisting 22 students with their homework. Her initial vision was to provide no-cost, after-school tutoring for the elementary and middle school kids of the Riverside neighborhood, with additional efforts made to provide them with diverse learning opportunities through enrichment classes.
By REC’s 10th anniversary in 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. (We are happy to report that Mary is back with REC, serving as the secondary program director.)
Since then, in partnership with Mesa County Valley School District 51, REC has expanded to a total of 15 tutoring sites serving more than 750 students.
REC programming has developed into so much more than after-school tutoring. On-site 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 Valley community. A focus on community building is strengthened through parent engagement and by staff committed to creating a nurturing environment for learning.
REC’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.