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.
The Riverside Educational Center is a collaboration with community partners which 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, Riverside Educational Center founder, Mary Spirio, 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.
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. 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.
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.
Since then, in partnership with Mesa County Valley School District 51, REC has expanded to a total of nine tutoring sites serving 450 students with plans to open more sites as funding becomes available.
Riverside Educational Center programming has developed to 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 community. A focus on community building is strengthened through parent engagement and by developing Youth Leaders amongst REC’s Middle and 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.