Chautauqua Striders win Western Region PTA Community Service Award

(L-R) Judy Hurley, Carlye Swanson, Misty Becker, Michelle Shim, Erika Muecke, Jen Swan-Leuze, Liz Cosme & Michelle Wadsworth

On November 3, 2021, Western Region PTA recognized Chautauqua Striders with their Community Service Award. The award is presented annually to an individual or organization that do outstanding work with youth in Western New York. The Western Region PTA is an organization that supports the work of 28 District PTAs stretching from Jamestown to Rochester. 

Striders Executive Director Jen Swan-Leuze remarked when accepting the award “I think, like many others, when the pandemic began in March of 2020, we put our heads down and got right to work figuring out how we could still maintain our services and support the youth of Chautauqua County. Throughout the year, we didn’t really take time to reflect on our efforts. The recognition by Western Region PTA has allowed us the time to look back on and appreciate what we were able to accomplish in trying times. It has also helped confirm our belief that the work we do in our community is relevant, has a positive impact and is necessary in helping youth reach their full potential.” 

Since March of 2020, Chautauqua Striders has implemented online access to our services, and supported youth in Jamestown in the previous school year by providing daytime tutors in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club and the YMCA to students who needed somewhere to go on their remote days. In spite of restricted access to schools due to COVID restrictions in the last school year, we were able to provide our services both online and in-person to over 1,000 students in Chautauqua County from 13 different districts through our Academic, Mentoring, Life Skills, Athletic, and North County programs. 

Director of Communications & Development Richard Walter added at the award ceremony, “we owe a debt of thanks to our wonderful Striders Team, our partners, funders, parent and students. We are proud to support the amazing work being done by teachers, counselors, principals, and school administrative staff across the county – thank you for engaging with us. A huge thank you as always goes to our volunteers; especially the volunteer mentors who support youth in Jamestown, Southwestern, Falconer, Frewsburg, and Bemus Point.”

If you are interested in volunteering for Chautauqua Striders, either as a mentor or in other program areas, please contact Richard Walter at 716.489.3489, or email