Grant funds Riverside Education Center expansion

Joy Hudak
Joy Hudak

The Riverside Education Center in Grand Junction will offer services at five more Grand Valley schools with $600,000 in grant funding.

The center expects to provide after-school academic support and enrichment activities to an additional 250 students in Mesa County School District 51 during the 2018-2019 academic year.

“This grant award is about our community coming together to show how much we care about our kids,” said Joy Hudak, executive director of the Riverside Education Center.

The center provides tutoring and extracurricular activities after school for students in kindergarten through 12th grades who qualify academically or financially. The services are designed to promote academic achievement as well as social and emotional development.

Hudak said some students and their families face challenges, including poverty, single-parent households and academic and behavioral issues.

The center was approved for $600,000 in funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant Program sponsored by the Colorado Department of Education. The grant award will be for five consecutive years. Mesa County School District 51 provided $150,000 in additional funding for one school site.

The center will provide services to the Bookcliff, Mount Garfield and Orchard Mesa middle schools as well as Rocky Mountain Elementary School. The center will collaborate with the school district to provide services at Dos Rios Elementary School with support from Cathy Ebel, director of student options for the district.

The Riverside Education Center also provides services at Riverside School and Grand Junction High School.

The center is recruiting additional staff to provide services under the expansion. The center also is recruiting volunteers to help with tutoring services.

Hudak said the program constitutes a partnership involving the center, school district, other government entities and local nonprofit organizations providing services for youth and their families.

“REC is proud of the relationships we have built over the years with our partners, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to reach more kids with a team of providers and community members.”