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Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club plans to get computer tablets for students with new Alcoa grant

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AKWESASNE - After successfully utilizing a grant from the Alcoa Foundation last year, the Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club has received a new grant that is 13 times higher than last year’s.

The club plans to use the new $39,000 grant for the three-year-old “Be Great Graduate Program,” while also hiring two tutors for their after school program, hosting an after hours tutoring session and adding to their tech center.

The “Be Great” program performs a multitude of tasks, according to Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Jessica Cree-Jock.

“We were awarded ‘Be Great’ in May 2010. It’s a four-year program that not only tracks grades, but behavior, attendance, and also participation at school. It pairs up a mentee with a mentor to help them ensure they graduate,” Ms. Cree-Jock said.

Last year’s $3,000 Alcoa Action Grant saw the company’s employees volunteering to clean up the club building’s exterior among other jobs.

“This is the second grant from Alcoa. They reached out to us last year at about this time. They asked us if we wanted the Alcoa Action Grant,” Ms. Cree-Jock explained. “That grant came up this past spring and helps clean up and spruce up here. It was for $3,000 which we used to fix our fence which was broken down.”

Ms. Cree-Jock added that she will be posting the tutor positions next week and the hours and availability of the after hours service will be discussed with the new employees.

One of the biggest additions stemming from this grant will be the increase in computers and tablets in the club’s tech center and classrooms.

“We currently have 16 computers and are looking to add between seven and 14, depending on space. We have no tablets and are looking to add however many that will be fit our needs,” the executive director noted. “We have intentions on receiving tablets for the kids so they can read from them. They will also have resource pages for homework.”

The Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club has 250 current members and in addition to their after school program they have two summer offerings and a GED program as well.

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