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.
In 2005, the Riverside Task Force completed their mission to re-open the historical Riverside School as a community center incorporating various programs and services to foster relationships, family stability, and individual self-sufficiency. The Riverside Educational Center was opened in 2006 after Mary Gonzales, Riverside's founding director, secured programming space in the Riverside School. While working as an elementary school teacher, Mary saw first-hand the lack of support at home many of the low-income, minority students in her classroom received. With the passion to make a difference and a mission to help change the future of these deserving children, was the inspiration for forming the Riverside Educational Center. Since it's founding, REC has grown tremendously with support from the community. This year, Riverside Educational Center will serve over 700 students in grades 1-12 at fifteen after-school sites.
Paulina is an outgoing spunky 6th grader who attends REC on a regular basis. She has found that because of REC her grades are a lot better and in this semester alone she was able to go from a D to a C in Math and admits that thanks to REC, she enjoys school more. When asked to describe REC, Paulina responds with, "REC is fun because it's nice and calm. I get help on my homework, learn new strategies to help me remember how to do things and they make me review everything I learn. I love the people here at REC because they treat me with respect...it rocks." Along with having better grades, Paulina has also made some new friends and is enthusiastic about coming every day. REC is something that she looks forward to.
Frankie has been with REC since he was in 3rd grade, now currently in 6th grade, he still enjoys REC very much. When asked he felt about REC he replied with, "It's awesome. They help me do my homework and I get to make new friends." Currently, Frankie is sitting with A's and B's in all his classes and says that REC is to thank for that, "I don't like school, but I like REC because they help me with my homework and I get treated with respect."
Veronica is the mother to two boys who attend REC and she agrees that REC has made a huge positive impact on her boys Juan and Julio. "Oh my gosh!" Veronica exclaimed, "Yes, I have seen a HUGE difference in my boys especially Julio. Before REC his grades weren't that great and he was very shy. But now, his grades are WAY better and he actually is more outgoing and has a really great group of friends now. I really think it was REC that did all of that." Veronica is very enthusiastic about REC and is so grateful for everything they are doing for her boys, "I appreciate everyone that is there, they are really great!"
Luis is a 6th grader who is not afraid to share his thoughts about anything. When asked about REC, he enthusiastically responded with, "They help me with homework and school. When I don't go to REC my grades get really bad but when I do go to REC my grades are a lot better." He also added that the leaders with REC are really friendly and cool and he enjoys getting to hang out with them even during break time.