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Extra Innings at Derek's Dugout
Three Rivers Area Mentoring

TRAM 2010-11 Program Year »
TRAM 2009-10 Program Year »

T.R.A.M. • Extra Innings at Derek's Dugout 2008-09 Program Year

  • About TRAM: The program meets every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 3PM. to 6PM. Elementary and middle school children enjoy a snack upon arrival followed by a scheduled activity. They end each day with at least 45 minutes of homework time.
  • TRAM Program Goals: TRAM strives to provide a safe, disciplined, drug-free after-school environment. TRAM addresses its goal of early intervention and prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use through scheduled presenters.
  • TRAM Community Service Goals: TRAM's goal to promote community service is regularly being met through scheduled coat drives for "Make a Difference Day," volunteering at the Free Store, and through partnerships with 4-H, the Sustainability Council, and the United Way Youth Group.

MAY 2009

  • As the program year wrapped up, the children reflected on their experiences at "Extra Innings at Derek's Dugout." Most of the students enjoyed the art projects and coloring contests. Among all of the activities, including shooting hoops, kickball, scavenger hunts and nature walks, the outdoor adventures seemed to be the favorite. The children agreed that the Holiday Kidfest at Kalamazoo's Air Zoo was the most extravagant highlight of the year! TRAM's Executive Director, Charlene Zavala, had much to say about the program and Turn 2. "I do believe that this after-school program made a difference in the lives of many of our children. We all thank Derek Jeter and his Turn 2 Foundation for their continued belief in us."
  • May 5, 2009 — Outdoor Game Day. Multiple games were offered for each child's interest.
  • May 19, 2009 — TRAM had a mini board game tournament. Very exciting!
  • May 20, 2009 — 4-H came out for their final visit this year. The children learned interesting facts about growing vegetables and planting flowers. They also had the opportunity to make a decorative frame with various seeds.
  • May 21, 2009 — Today was the last day of TRAM. The children assisted in removing posters from the walls and putting equipment and supplies away. The staff held a huge auction for the children, as they had some extra items to give out. The day ended with a chat reviewing the entire program year. Children shared thoughts about what they loved in the past and what they would like to add to next year's program.

APRIL 2008

  • Due to Michigan's unpredictable weather, April became a flexible month for TRAM's scheduled programming. When the weather was nice, the children took part in numerous outdoor activities. When the weather wasn't cooperating, TRAM's staff introduced new team-building games and analytical activities inside. A variety of art projects were also a highlight for the participants.

  • April 1, 2009 — One of TRAM's mentoring husband/wife teams shared videos, photos, and artifacts from their recent visit to Zambia. They had previously lived in Zambia for 25 years so they had access to many villages. The children were amazed at the cultural differences!
  • April 2, 2009 — Easter Egg Hunt. The children were able to use their hand-made yarn baskets to collect eggs. Fun for all!
  • April 22, 2009 — Walking Adventure. The students took a relaxing walk around the grounds where they found interesting items along the way. After returning, some students used their new nature items for a craft project.
  • April 28, 2009 — Movie Day-Part 1, followed by a competitive game of BINGO.
  • April 29, 2009 — Movie Day-Part 2, followed by a full group game of Hangman.


  • There has been much excitement in the February air as members of Derek's Dugout become more invested in their program. Weekly roundtable meetings were held to discuss plans for activities and events. Students continue to show their success not only in TRAM but in school and the community. Two of TRAM's students took home awards in the Science Fair, taking first- and third-place honors. Additionally, three of the participants were chosen to attend the annual Art Works event held at the Intermediate School District.
  • February 3, 2009 — Auction. This monthly activity is a chance for the children to use the Funny Money that they've earned to purchase items of their choice. Among other praiseworthy acts, children earn Funny Money through: consistent attendance, acts of kindness towards other participants, doing their homework, sharing an achievement or award with a staff member and doing their daily chores.
  • February 5, 2009 — Weekly Roundtable Meeting. The middle school students met to discuss elements that they liked about the program, the things they did not care for and programs or activities that they would like to see at Derek's Dugout.
  • February 17, 2009 — Outside Activities. The group went outside to the tennis and basketball court. They also played kickball and tag. Just a fun day of physical activities!
  • February 24, 2009 — Walking Hike. The program was split into three groups. Each group gathered rocks and established a rock-painting station. Most of the children really enjoyed painting and liked having the independence of working at stations of their choice.


  • Since the weather is usually not cooperative in January, the staff incorporated a number of active indoor games such as indoor floor hockey, tug of war, charades and card games, as well as papier mache and model car building projects. The children also worked on their ongoing project: creating posters for Derek's 10 Life Lessons. TRAM is very proud that some of their children are venturing out into the Three Rivers community. Two of the participants tried out and gained roles in the local Wizard of Oz play, while another young lady has joined the Girls Scouts.
  • January 6, 2009 — Weekly Round-Table Meeting. Round-Table Meetings are held to discover what the children like and dislike about the program. This also gives them an opportunity to suggest programs or activities that they would like to see at Derek's Dugout. To assist in developing leadership skills, a different student serves as meeting chair for each meeting.
  • January 13, 2009 — Club Sign-Up Day. Clubs offered were paper mache, model car building, and singing.
  • January 21, 2009 — 4-H made a visit to TRAM. They led the students in building decorative rain makers. This is a tube filled with the appropriate amount of beans. When tipped slowly, it makes the sound of rain. Once they completed their project, there was a parade-styled dance.
  • January 29, 2009 — Annual Mentor/Partner Appreciation Dinner. "Back to the Basics" is the overall theme of TRAM for this year and TRAM's staff felt it was appropriate to have a soup and salad dinner. There were approximately 68 people in attendance. Eight volunteers from the Three Rivers High School National Honor Society did an excellent job of serving the guests. Additionally, there were two young ladies from TRAM's program who read poems throughout the night. The evening was a great success!


  • December was an exciting month for participants of "Extra Innings at Derek's Dugout." The staff is noticing more and more of TRAM's participants' names in the newspaper for their outstanding academic and extracurricular achievement. In preparation for the holiday season, the children were able to decorate Christmas trees, make holiday decorations, shop at the Free Store and wrap their treasures to take home to their families. TRAM was also able to join other Turn 2 Kalamazoo programs at the Air Zoo for Turn 2's Annual Holiday Express. What a great event the Holiday Express turned out to be! The gift of a backpack stuffed with goodies from the Foundation at the end of the evening was icing on the cake.
  • December 4, 2008 — 10 Life Lessons. The students discussed Derek Jeter's 10 Life Lessons today. TRAM plans to do more of this in the months to come.
  • December 9, 2008 — Today the program started its shopping event at the Free Store, known as the "Joy of Giving." A store was set up in the back room and allowed the children to shop for all of the members of their household, wrap the gifts and take their purchases home for Christmas. Most of the gifts are donated by the staff of local schools. Three Rivers High School National Honor Society students also helped with the gift wrapping.
  • December 11, 2008 — Jeter's Leaders Mentoring. The Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders visited and explained how their program is centered the teaching from Derek's 10 Life Lessons.
  • December 16, 2008 — Holiday Party. Turn 2's Annual Holiday Express was held at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo. The children enjoyed a number of activities that they were able to choose on their own. The TRAM children were able to meet and converse with children in other Turn 2 After-School programs. What a wonderful time everyone had!
  • December 17, 2008 — 4-H Visit. The participants made a decorative snow meter to measure the snow fall. This exposed them to a hands-on craft experience, as well as to the math lesson of converting inches to metric measure.
  • December 18, 2008 — As the program wrapped up for the holiday break, the children made pipe cleaner tree ornaments and had a Santa coloring contest. The coloring contest was very successful and allowed the children time to concentrate, use their creativity and engage in a splash of competition.


  • The daily riddle posted on the board during snack time continues to be a popular activity during the month of November. It is teaching the children to use their analytical skills. The highlights of the month were a visit from the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders and a craft project with 4-H. TRAM's staff feels that it's important to incorporate a variety of real-life activities into their daily programs.
  • November 13, 2008 — Jeter's Leaders Mentoring. The Leaders worked with the TRAM students on understanding Derek Jeter's 10 Life Lessons. The activities today were centered on discussing those lessons and how the effect the children every day.
  • November 18, 2008 — Game Day. By popular demand, BINGO was incorporated into the schedule. The staff merged blank boards and had the children fill in various words from a list. By designing their own board, the game took on a different flair.
  • November 26, 2008 — The last day before Thanksgiving, TRAM's staff planned special activities for the children. First, there was a coloring contest of a Thanksgiving turkey, followed by a turkey dinner. After dinner, the children had time to make an edible Thanksgiving craft, which consisted of a food server's clear glove filled with candy corn in the fingers and popcorn to the top. The kids were able to tie it off and take it home to enjoy. What a fun ending to November!


  • October was a busy month for TRAM and the students at Derek's Dugout. The Chamber of Commerce presented TRAM with the annual Community Service Award on Oct. 1, 2008. The program was recognized for helping kids make wise choices. The children created a scarecrow for the annual Color Tour/Fall Festival at Meyer Broadway Park. It definitely was an original work of art shared with the community! October also brought the excitement of the first visit from the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders, a trip to Hubert's Farm, the creation of their scarecrow, and the carving of their own pumpkin. TRAM also exposed its children to community service and understanding the needs of others through its coat drive. "Hopefully these activities will encourage the children to take advantage of opportunities to be successful in life while finding the time and energy to give back to others in need." said Charlene Zavala.
  • October 2, 2008 — Balloon Races were the featured events of the day. It was a lot of good-natured fun and a touch of teamwork.
  • October 9, 2008 — Jeter's Leaders Mentoring. The children enjoyed a presentation which focused on the topics of respect and bullying.
  • October 15, 2008 — Club Day. Clubs started today: Cooking Club, Drawing Club, Sports Club, and Craft Club.
  • October 16, 2008 — Second Annual Field Trip to Hubert McDonald's Farm. The children were able to feed the animals, play with the old farm dog, jump on the trampoline, go on a hayride, and experience a ride on the bicycle-built-for-two. They also roasted hot dogs and s'mores; an experience new to many of the students.
  • October 25, 2008 — Second Annual Coat Drive in recognition of "Make a Difference Day". TRAM had 101 families sign in and was able to give away over 150 coats! Extra coats were taken across the street to the Free Store. TRAM, with the help of volunteers and coat recipients, completed 12 no-sew fleece blankets for Project Linus, a group committed to donating blankets to children in crisis.
  • October 28, 2008 — Pumpkin Carving. With the assistance of 12 National Honor Society members from Three Rivers High School, the participants made creative pumpkin designs for Halloween.


  • The fifth year of "Extra Innings at Derek's Dugout" has started out strong. Approximately half of the participants are new to the program. TRAM's staff has increased and now has a Director, three Director's Assistants, and local high school student volunteers. Much of TRAM's success continues to be based on increased community support. TRAM's Executive Director, Charlene Zavala commented on how these outlets will have an effect on TRAM's children. "More and more people are searching for an affordable way to give back. By providing community service to our program, the volunteers are becoming role models to the students. As the Executive Director of Three Rivers Area Mentoring, I am focused on teaching our children that if we all work together, we can accomplish so much more than what one can accomplish individually."
  • September 9, 2008 — First Day of TRAM! The staff focused on introductions, procedures and rules of the program, and getting to know you ice-breaker games with the children.
  • September 18, 2008 — Game Day. The students played Two Truths and a Lie to get to know each other better. Ms. Kathy began her bi-monthly dance activity. What a fun activity this turned out to be!
  • September 23, 2008 — Outside Fun. Thanks to Michigan's unseasonably nice weather, the staff was able to take the participants outside for some outdoor activities including basketball and kickball.
  • September 24, 2008 — The students worked in small groups to build a roller coaster out of straws. They were judged on the weight it could hold and if the weighted cart could complete its run.

TRAM 2010-11 Program Year
TRAM 2009-10 Program Year

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