Chautauqua County enjoyed one of the longest, warmest, and most beautiful summers in recent memory, but as leaves turn and fall to the ground, it is time to return to the classroom and begin a new and exciting school year for area students.
For some, this is their first experience being away from home and parents, while others look forward to completing their secondary education and moving into college or careers. Regardless of where children might be in their academic lives, Chautauqua Striders is available and ready to assist them every step of the way by providing tutoring, mentoring, outreach, and athletic opportunities across this corner of Western New York.
Chautauqua Striders has taken a holistic approach to the "mentoring and guidance of youth through education, advocacy, and athletics" for the last 33 years, specifically providing services to nearly 2,000 children and youth during the 2011-12 school year. These children and their families benefited from the interconnected approach taken by the agency in an effort to offer assistance in whatever areas are needed.
Students at Washington Middle School participate in a math challenge during Striders tutoring.
Tutoring is a primary agency focus for Chautauqua Striders to support all county students. In addition to every school in the Jamestown district, extra academic help is available at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Jamestown and Northern Chautauqua County, the Eastside YMCA, the Lighted Schoolhouse and C.A.R.E. (grades K-12 at Chautauqua Striders' main office), SAFARI (Jamestown High School during the day), Brocton, Fredonia, Panama, Ripley, Sherman, Silver Creek, and Westfield. Please call Chautauqua Striders at 488-2203 for specific details and registration information, as individual programs vary.
PSAT and SAT workshops are also being offered. This year, PSAT review will begin on Sept. 20, and is open to all high school students, grades 10-12. To register, please contact Pam Gustafson, academic coordinator, at 488-2203. This test is the "warm-up" for the SAT, necessary for acceptance to most colleges and universities. Students will be given tips and techniques to enhance confidence in test-taking and overall scores.
Another fast-growing and student-centered program is Chautauqua Striders Mentoring. It is available at all Jamestown schools for children in grades 2-12, Southwestern Central Elementary School, Dunkirk Elementary School 3, and Dunkirk Middle School. A mentor is a member of the community willing to volunteer time with a young person to assist in achieving academic, career and personal goals.
This person is a role model and guide providing support, encouragement, friendship, advice, and is willing to share his or her life experiences with a young person. Mentoring takes place in school (usually during lunch periods) or in the community, depending upon the program, the availability and comfort level of the mentor. The saying holds true that mentoring one child changes two lives. Please consider sharing an hour of your day with a young person and contact Amanda Gesing, mentor coordinator, at 488-2203. She currently has a special need for elementary mentors.
The Chautauqua Striders' website, www.chautauqua-striders.org, has much more information on upcoming events, track and field, advocacy programs, contact numbers, dates, times, and locations. Feel free to also contact 488-2203 with any questions or to reach any coordinator for further information. The future depends on the success of its young people, and Chautauqua Striders is committed to doing all it can to help each child reach his or her potential.