"All kids need is a little help, a little hope, and someone who believes in them"
~ Earvin "Magic" Johnson
TRAM has a three-prong approach to helping our youth. We offer a mentoring program, an after school program, and a job preparedness program.
No matter who we are or where we come from, we can each look back in our lives and remember a few special people who believe in us. This person could have been a teacher, a coach, a neighbor, a friend's parent - some adult we looked up to and trusted. That person in today's language would be labeled a "mentor". TRAM matches volunteers from the community with school-aged children. Mentors are not intended to in any way replace parents, their role is to supplement and support.
A mentor is any caring adult who makes an active, positive contribution to the life of a child who is not his or her own. It's someone who has found ways to succeed in life and cares enough to pass those lessons along. By meeting as little as an hour a week or 4-7 hours per month with a child, our mentors provide the gift of time. This could make the difference between success and failure in the child's future.
Many local children are in need of a caring person who believes in them. It could be a counselor, a teacher, a preacher, a friend, or a MENTOR! It is tough growing up in this day and age. It's often a confusing world; but we try to make the world a better place - one child at a time!
"Dare to Dream" ~ TRAM's After School Program (ASP)
Our "Dare to DREAM" program focuses on helping our ASP kids DREAM: Discover - Ascertain more about themselves, the people in their lives, the world around them & how they can contribute, Relationships - learn how to build important connections with the people around them, Education - utilize focused homework and academic help on a regular basis and help the kids understand why its important, Arts - get exposure to different types of creative arts, Morals - go through our character education curriculum and find out what it means to be a person of good character.
Our program, which is held at the Masonic Lodge at 18 1/2 N. Main Street (above Lowry's Book Store), is open during the school year on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 3 - 6 PM. Enrollment is open to 2nd through 6th graders (some exceptions are made on age on a case by case basis). Our after school program began in September of 2004!
Our ASP offers a nutritious snack and incorporates homework assistance, games, crafts, hands-on presenters, & field trips in order to promote overall success through a safe after school environment.
TRAM's Old Fashioned "Walt's Popcorn Stand" ~ Job Preparedness Program
This historical stand from the 1940's was refurbished and reopened by TRAM in the summer of 2000. Through contributions, TRAM is able to employ youth in the community. The dual purpose is to provide lifelong employment skills and to offer guidance and support when needed, as a manager is always on duty. The youth go through a ten week course that takes them through different aspects of being a good employee, from timeliness to teamwork to attitude. In May 2007, TRAM was awarded a state-wide "Red Wagon" Award based on meeting the "Marketable Skill" needs of Michigan's Five Promises.
TRAM's After School Program is sponsored by Three Rivers Area Community Foundation.
TRAM is a recipient of St. Joseph County United Way Funds.