Serving over 2500 school-aged youth and families a year across Erie County, the Youth Services Department's goal is to take a holistic approach to the growth and development of the youth of Erie County with the goal of promoting self sufficiency. This will be accomplished through academic enrichment, positive character development and youth leadership training in a safe, structured and supportive environment where excellence can be achieved.

All of our programs are designed to positively impact academic achievement and safety by providing parents with a reliable option for after school recreation and supervision for their children, while providing them with supervised recreation, academic enrichment, values development, group and individual mentoring, community service, career exploration and motivation.

Departmental Programs

(Neighborhoods United for Restoration Upliftment Recreation and Education)
The goal of this afterschool program is to improve the academic performance of school aged youth. The program's foundation is centered on four key clubs: Reading, Culture, Debate and Drama. Students are also provided with character education, arts & crafts, and recreational activities that assist in their social development. We serve youth in grades K-8.

NURTURE Summer Camp
This program operates various summer camp programs with the goal of maintaining and improving students' academic achievement levels, sustaining and improving their social values and personal gains from the completed school year. Students in our camp improve everyday life competencies through cultural enrichment activities. The camp is 6 weeks with at least 1 field trip each week and many recreational and educational activities to keep our students healthy and bright over the summer months. We serve youth in grades K-8.

Leadership Academy
(Preparation for Greatness)
This program will serve middle school children ages 11-14 years old. It operates 6 weeks in the summer and allows youth to engage and learn the fundamentals of becoming a great leader, participate in developmental activities including: community services projects, cultural field trips, book clubs and recreation. We serve youth in grades 6-8.

21st Century Learning Community Center Program
@ Early Childhood Center #17 & @McKinley High School
These programs work collaboratively with community stakeholders to provide a Sequential, Active, Focused, Explicit (SAFE) learning environment that addresses urgent needs and reduces barriers to academic success in under performing schools. This is done through various activities such as: digital beat making, graphic design, cooking club, performing arts, photography, fitness and much more. We serve youth in grades K-4 & 9-12.

Drive Academy - formerly known as Project THINK
etermined to Renew Immediate Vision and Enthusiasm
edicated to Reestablishing Individuals' Voice and Efficiency
Strengthen the attempts to divert youth ages 12-17 years of age within the 14215 and 14201 area codes (primarily but not exclusively) from placement/re-offenses in the Juvenile Justice System by changing their attitudes and behaviors.

Program Overview:
Juvenile Justice Students' will have (2) Guides who will meet with participants daily Monday-Friday and occasional Saturdays. Guides will get to know each participant individually and assist the participant in creating a vision for themselves, their families and futures. Guides will offer participants as many resources and supports possible to help them find their voice to stand up for their future and become an effective member of society. This program teaches youth how to make good choices and avoid risk taking behaviors. Guides will mentor students while ensuring that students referred to the DRIVE Academy do and receive the following:

  • Attend school daily.
  • Show up for meetings with Probation Officers on time.
  • Appear for court dates on time.
  • Receive homework assistance/tutoring.
  • Receive screening and counseling services as needed.
  • Participate in college/vocational tours (local and regional).
  • Participate in field trips for (cultural enrichment).
  • Participate in life skills workshops on the following:
    • Dressing for success
    • Court Etiquette
    • Applying for and keeping a job
    • Interview Skills
    • Public Speaking
    • How to be resourceful
    • Applying for college
    • Being financially responsible (paying bills, saving money, investing, etc)
  • Participate in Community Service projects including but not exclusive to:
    • Food Panty support (collections, bagging, handing out)
    • Cleaning up or set up for local youth, elderly or community events
    • Offering man-power for events at local not-for-profits
  • Assistance finding employment for applicable participants.
  • Assistance identifying their skills and potential interest for possible apprenticeships.
  • Successfully complete sustained reading of self help and personal life enrichment books:
    • 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, Steven Covey
    • Letters to a Young Brother, Hill Harper
    • Letters to a Young Sister, Hill Harper
    • The Secret to Success, Eric Thomas
    • Greatness is Upon You, Eric Thomas

Participants are enrolled for 16 weeks and are required to attend Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 2:30pm-6pm. Guides will also engage the family through home visits to provide updates on participants' progress and to gain imperative information that will assist the program with meeting the participants' needs.

Supplemental Education Services
(Rising Readers Club)

This is an intensive reading program that enables students in grades K-12 who attend a school that is on the State Education Department's list of in need of improvement to excel in reading. Students are placed in small groups with certified teachers to advance in comprehension, vocabulary development and raise their reading levels. Students enrolled in this program must be eligible for free or reduced lunch. We serve youth in grades K-8~Currently Inactive~

Parent Councils
Established to provide assistance to the NURTURE Academy in order to maintain educational, recreational and financial needs. The objectives of the Parent Council are:

  • To work in partnership with NURTURE Academy to create a welcoming after school/summer program which is inclusive of all parents
  • To promote partnership between NURTURE Academy, the community, students, and all parents
  • To develop and engage in activities which support the activities and welfare of all students enrolled in the NURTURE Academy
  • To develop, organize, and engage in all fundraising activities which will financially support the activities of all students enrolled in the NURTURE Academy
  • To identify and represent the views of parents on the activities provided by NURTURE Academy and other matters affecting the activities and welfare of the students enrolled in the NURTURE Academy.

Education Task Force
A collective unit of educators, administrators and corporate partners whose mission it is to encourage, recruit and assist students with exploring post-secondary education options. The Education Task Force is an original function of CAO's volunteer base of community leaders. Their function has been to guide the agency's efforts to meet community's need as it relates to educational advancement of students throughout Erie County. As a function of the Youth Services Department, the Task Force annually produces a minimum of two major events: (1) College Day and (2) Scholarship Fair, which both provide a base for us to award valuable scholarships to deserving students interested in pursuing a higher education.

  • CAO Education Task Force Annual College Fair held annually in September. This event is co-sponsored with the assistance of local colleges and universities (in attendance are more than 1500 high school juniors and seniors and up to 80 recruiters.)
  • CAO Education Task Force Annual Scholarship Fair held annually in January for high school seniors and parents, to offer guidance when writing essays, filling out various scholarship applications and it introduces them to other higher education funding opportunities.
  • CAO Education Task Force Scholarship: 15-20 scholarships ranging from $500 to $1000 are awarded each year to graduating high school seniors pursuing higher education.

Much of our success can also be attributed to strong collaborations with our community partners which include:

  • Boy Scouts
  • Buffalo Board of Education
  • Buffalo Provider Network
  • CEPA Gallery
  • Education Task Force
  • Girl Scouts
  • JFK Community Center
  • Squeaky Wheel
  • Willie-Hutch Jones Sports Clinic
  • Young Audiences of Western New York

Community Action Organization of Erie County, Inc.
Youth Services Department
NURTURE Summer Camp

Dates: July 7th -August 15th

Operation time: Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm
Eligibility: Post K-8th grades only (students must have completed Kindergarten)
Cost: $300.00 per child/ $60.00 non-refundable registration fee
Payment Plan: February – June 24th
Contact: Kathy Washington 881-5150 ext. 4312

  • Angola Community Center
    251 N. Main
    Angola, NY 14006
    (716) 549-4180
  • Edward Saunders Community Center
    2777 Bailey Avenue
    Buffalo, NY 14215
    (716) 332-4381
  • Pratt Willert Community Center
    422 Pratt St.
    Buffalo, NY 14204
    (716) 852-1671

Updated: July 11, 2016










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