The Riverside Educational Center provides structured tutoring and diverse extracurricular activities in the after-school hours for students in grades 1-12 in order to improve academic achievement and foster positive social and emotional development in a safe and supportive environment.
Riverside Educational Center believes that every student, regardless of race, disability, socioeconomic status, or other barriers, deserves an equal opportunity in life. To this end, REC provides after-school tutoring and extracurricular activities for qualifying Mesa County students to improve academic achievement and foster positive social and emotional development.
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.