It’s fitting that the linchpin of community fundraising efforts to leverage resources to help provide free tutoring for more than 5,000 youth revolves around an event with a bowling bowl and has the name Antone Raymus attached to it.
Saturday’s 17th annual Give Every Child a Chance Antone Raymus Bowl-A-Thon taking place at Manteca Bowl & Family Fun Center is still in need of participating teams. What money they can raise — a minimum of $250 per team of five is required — allows the community-based organization to leverage $1.9 million in federal grants to offer after school programs at campuses in the Manteca Unified School District as well as with programs in Ripon, Escalon, and Banta.
Not only did Raymus — the late home builder and Manteca philanthropist — use $300,000 of his own funds for seed money 19 years ago with the founding of GECAC, but Manteca Bowl that he owned provided free bowling for years as a reward for Manteca Unified students that got good grade son report cards.
Manteca Unified School District Superintendent has noted that test results show that children involved with the free tutoring program — many who are struggling and are on course to fail before being referred to the community-based effort — end up getting a better grasp on learning. Eighty percent of students with GECAC end up gaining at least a year’s worth of education comprehension.
Raymus was inspired — some say driven — after he witnessed an angry teen throwing objects in a shop class at the California Youth Authority in Stockton years ago when he was on a tour there with the Manteca Kiwanis. Raymus wanted to find a way to make sure that other young people didn’t end up like the frustrated teen he encountered behind bars.
Give Every Child a Chance is an outgrowth of his efforts.
The heart of GECAC is the one-on-one mentoring/tutoring that takes place at locations in Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon, Escalon, Weston Ranch, Banta, and Tracy.
Volunteers, who are carefully matched with students, commit to two days a week either on a Monday-Wednesday or a Tuesday-Thursday schedule for an hour each day between 3 and 6 p.m.
The one-on-one program is supported entirely by fundraisers such as this Saturday’s bowl-a-thon. Over 400 struggling Manteca Unified students are in the one-on-one tutoring program.
Other GECAC programs
The free After School Advantage Programs provides a safe, structured and fun after school program. It is open to any student attending the school where the program is located.
There are three components: homework assistance/support, enrichment activities, and recreational/physical activities.
Enrichment activities align with California’s school standards. Activities include arts and crafts, games, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) projects, health education, field trips, guest speakers/instructors, drama productions, and music.
ASAP also has a health education component that stresses wellness, nutrition education, physical activity, mentoring, and healthy snacks.
Other programs include:
Technology Outreach Program (TOP): This consists of a mobile bus set up with computer labs that teaches students computer instructor. It travels between various school sites in South San Joaquin County.
Computer Assisted Instructional Training: The summer program conducted in June and July is for students attending fourth through sixth grade in the upcoming school year. They meet with no more than 10 students per instructor and receive computer based instruction in basic reading, math, and language skills.
Summer Drop In: The program is offered Monday though Thursday during the summer. GECAC provides worksheets and educational games. Students come once e a week at pre-selected times although they are encouraged to attend twice a week.
Reading to the 2nd Power: The program is based on the successful Reading Recovery Program. It has been expanded to include the Read Naturally concepts. Books in packs of six are used with children to assist then with comprehension and memory. There are no more than five students in a group for the endeavor conducted at Stella Brockman School.
Homework Assistance Program (HAP): HAP allows students to bring their class assignments and work independently with help from an instructor.