First Niagara helps provide educational enrichment opportunities for local youthby jmaloni
The First Niagara Foundation and Willie Hutch Jones Educational and Sports Programs are partnering to provide instruction for local children, at no cost, in fundamental life skill development, sports skill development, as well as academic support in science and math.
The First Niagara Foundation is providing $10,000 in grant funding to provide access to various instructional programs and character-building activities.
The Willie Hutch Jones Educational and Sports Clinic has been in existence for more than 29 years providing free educational and sports programs in Buffalo and Lackawanna. Each summer, the program offers 16 sports clinics, including, basketball, football, baseball, crew rowing, volleyball, tennis, soccer, swimming and more. During the school year, the program offers an afterschool program, which includes homework assistance, computer labs, STEM math and science program, and extracurricular activities such as acting and tap dancing lessons, chess club, steel drum instruction and personal finance.
"When we heard about the Willie Hutch Jones Educational and Sports Programs, we knew it was an opportunity for First Niagara to help make a real difference in the lives of young people," said Buford Sears, First Niagara Buffalo market executive. "We are proud to provide the support needed to help our community's children develop the life skills necessary for independence and success."
"We thank First Niagara for not only investing in our program, but also in the future of the kids in our community," said program namesake Willie "Hutch" Jones. "More than 10,000 students have graduated from our program in the past 29 years, participating in sports and academic curriculums, opportunities that may not have been readily available to them and certainly not free of charge. It's been an absolute privilege to serve the community in this way."
Program administrators at Willie Hutch Jones said hundreds of children participate in the educational opportunities they offer every year. These programs encompass a full range of learning, which translates to higher test scores, self-esteem, motivation and respect for self, others and community.
The mission of the Willie Hutch Jones Educational and Sports Program is to provide underserved children, at no charge, equal opportunities to engage in the highest quality program and to offer character-building activities through academics, sports and the arts.