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ERC has established a new partnership with the Greene County Teen Court. Teen Court is an informal diversion program designed to help youth learn from their mistakes, take responsibility for and repair any harm caused by their actions, and avoid a formal court process. This strong diversionary concept is a perfect match with the mission of the ERC and is a partnership that will help our youth as they have the opportunity to serve as jurors and look at cases from a different point of view. When discussing this new opportunity with ERC youth, our kids were very excited to serve with Teen Court!
Friends Against Hunger Pack-A-Thon
The ERC participated in the Friends Against Hunger Pack-A-Thon. This event is held annually at the Springfield Expo Center and operates over a three day period. During this time, volunteers from the community prepare more than 1.2 million meals that are then provided to areas in need throughout the world. This year, the ERC prepared and packaged more than 3,500 meals in just over two hours, bringing our two year total to more than 7,600 meals. This community engagement activity is an excellent opportunity for our youth to give back to our community and for them to participate in a global effort to fight hunger.
Homework Assistance Program (HAP) and Getting Involved For Today’s Students (GIFTS)
The Homework Assistance Program (HAP) and the Getting Involved For Today's Students (GIFTS) programming resumed for the 2014-2015 academic year November 17, 2014. The HAP program provides youth with homework assistance each day so that youth can thrive in school and helps make sure that assignments are completed each day. The GIFTS program is provided twice per week at the ERC and is focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. GIFTS programming at ERC provides youth with hands-on experiments and activities designed to support the concepts being taught at school, while practicing the concepts and implementing them in actual activities. We are very excited to have both programming components available for our youth!
The ERC team is welcoming our newest member of the team, Mercedez Nielsen. Mercedez accepted the position of Full-Time Youth Specialist and will start November 24, 2014. Mercedez is a May 2014 graduate of Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science degree. Mercedez has prior work experience at Worlds of Fun-Kansas City and the Greene County Juvenile Office. Mercedez has extensive volunteer experience and a strong desire to help youth reach their fullest potential. We are very excited to have Mercedez on our team.
ERC Site Visits
The ERC hosted two site visits in November 2014 with visitors from Dallas, TX and Jackson, TN, as well as Joplin, MO in March 2015. Site visits are an excellent opportunity for our agency to collaborate with other programs and to help new programs get started. During each site visit, our programs develop long lasting partnerships that create new ideas, develop programming opportunities, and find solutions for youth so that both agencies are able to best serve their kids. The feedback we receive from our parents and youth during site visits is instrumental in guiding our program and helping other programs see how beneficial the ERC concept can be for their community. We look forward to continuing to work with both agencies in the future and appreciate their visit to our program!
Expansion of the ERC Model to Include Youth on Informal Probation
Beginning September 22, 2014, the ERC will began accepting youth who are on informal probation into the program. While traditionally the ERC has been limited to formal youth, this change allows the ERC to reach more youth and provide those youth with the skills and lessons learned through ERC programming. The goal of this change is to continue our mission of diverting kids away from the "deep end" of the system. It is our hope that by providing the additional support of the ERC to our informal youth, we will be able to help more youth successfully finish informal probation and to provide them with the necessary programming to help them avoid coming back into the system at a later time. The ERC believes that our program should be open to all youth in need of its services and this step will move us forward in reaching that goal.
The ERC workouts are designed to help keep the youth healthy, as well as provide them with routines for when they exit the program. The workout starts off easy and gets increasingly more difficult as the youth advance in the program.
This group allows for the youth to be engaged in hands on activities to help maximize their knowledge on science. The group also gives the participants different ideas for careers in the field of science.