The 21st Century After-School Program has been helping Amarillo College club members mentor students at San Jacinto and Whittier elementary schools since fall 2011. The grant program was started to support the “No Excuses” philosophy.
Hilary Cordero, program coordinator, schedules the activities between clubs and schools. The goal of the program is to help motivate children to seek post-secondary education.
“We want kids to know they can go to college,” Cordero said. “It’s a rewarding experience.”
Trena Rider, mentoring program coordinator, said the program helps AC students grow in leadership.
“Mentoring students-to-students is a very powerful thing,” Rider said.
All AC students are welcome even if they are not part of a club. If a student wants to volunteer, Cordero will partner them up with a club for a specific activity. She said sometimes clubs join together.
The spring semester theme is, “We are AC!” The activities at the school include showing the students what the club is about and how it makes AC stronger. Each activity is ended with saying “We are AC!”
AC clubs can get involved by filling out a request form to reserve a date. All volunteers must fill out a background check form, including sponsors.
Forms can be picked up in the College Union Building basement. Cordero will help with activities if a club doesn’t have an idea of what to do.
The 21st Century grant also offers funds to participating clubs to help cover cost of materials. Each club is allowed a $150 budget.
The Amarillo College Photography Club visits San Jacinto Elementary twice a month. Rene West, a photography assistant professor, said the funds provide supplies such as ink, photo paper and SD cards.
West said AC students benefit by learning as they are teaching. Students take what they are learning here at AC and translate it to the level of a 4th or 5th grader. Eric Van Marter, ACPC president agrees with West.
“This program helps AC students reach out and impart their knowledge to others,” Van Marter said.
West said it’s important to bring things down to their level of understanding and let them know they can go to college. Kids get to see that college can be fun, she said.
For more information, contact Hillary Cordero at 806-371-5322.