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Extra Innings at Derek's Dugout
Three Rivers Area Mentoring

TRAM 2010-11 Program Year »
TRAM 2008-09 Program Year »

T.R.A.M. • Extra Innings at Derek's Dugout 2009-10 Program Year

  • About TRAM: The program meets every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. 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.

APRIL 2010

    During the month, TRAM participants kept busy with many indoor activities, as well as outdoor adventures thanks to the nice April weather. One outdoor activity was a visit to Lake Village Homestead Farm. One important lesson the students learned was about where food comes from before it gets to the grocery store. Throughout the day the children were able to interact with animals, smell the fresh country air, taste goat's milk, and see how much goes into running a farm on a day-to-day basis. To make the trip even more special, they shared the day with the four other Turn 2 Signature Programs in Kalamazoo.

    Back inside, the participants took part in a class about good hygiene hosted by Char Zavala. They learned how to take care of their body and how this can help build high self-esteem. The students walked away with new knowledge about personal cleanliness and products to help them maintain it.

  • April 1, 2010 — Students were treated to an Easter party where they participated in dyeing eggs, an Easter egg hunt, making cookies and enjoyed a homemade snack of chicken and rice.
  • April 13, 2010 — The students were offered a choice of outdoor fun at the basketball court. Popular activities like basketball and jump rope were enjoyed.
  • April 20, 2010 — The Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders visited TRAM. The students were fortunate to have nice weather to go outside and do a great team-building activity.
  • April 27, 2010 — The students went to the Lake Village Homestead Farm. They were treated to a plethora of farm animals and were able to participate in several activities such as a buggy ride, milking a goat, gathering eggs and tasting homemade hot dogs!
  • April 28, 2010 — The group took advantage of the great outdoor weather and headed to Scidmore Park. The newly refurbished playground provided the children with many activities and a whole lot of fun. They even took some bread with them to feed the fowl and fish!
  • April 29, 2010 — Char Zavala visisted TRAM to talk to the students about the importance of hygiene. She explained why it was important to keep clean and gave some handy tips on doing just that. Students were given a bag of hygiene products including tissues, a nail file, soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and a toothbrush, which were donated by a local dentist!

MARCH 2010

    March was an exciting month at Derek's Dugout. Activities focused on learning how to give back and help others. In one activity, the children worked with other Turn 2 Signature Programs to make blankets for children in need. Other activities allowed the participants to learn about healthy lifestyles. They took part in alcohol and tobacco awareness programs which highlighted the negative effects of drugs and alcohol and how to make wise choices under peer pressure. Fun activities, such as line dancing, a laser tag trip and Easter preparation, were also a part of the curriculum.

  • March 9, 2010 — Officer Cory Smith returned to TRAM to spend time with the group. After a discussion, he allowed the children to meet with him one-on-one to discuss any questions or issues they had. He has been an amazing asset to the program and is helping the children make wiser choices.
  • March 11, 2010 — Carla Zimmerman of the St. Joseph County Healing Center presented the Alcohol Awareness program. She brought special goggles that allowed the children to experience the distorted vision of an intoxicated person. The students noticed the difference between lightly impaired to severely impaired. In the end, they all agreed that any level of drinking could impair their coordination and motor skills.
  • March 16, 2010 — The Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders visited and led the group in games including one called "If you think I'm funny, smile!" The Leaders really made the children laugh and have a great time. Also, they played celebrity role model charades, where each student acted out their celebrity role model. Through the game, the children learned that there are many positive celebrities that they can look up to.
  • March 18, 2010 — TRAM made a special trip to the Douglass Community Association for a joint community service project with the rest of Turn 2's Kalamazoo Signature Programs. The Blanket Project let the programs get to know each other better while making fleece blankets for various children who need them throughout their community. The children enjoyed the project and learned the valuable lesson of giving back.
  • March 30, 2010 — Another representative from the St. Joseph County Healing Center joined the program and presented the Tobacco Awareness program. The facilitator, Chris, started with a brief video, followed by a hands-on project. The presentation ended with an open group discussion.


    Although February was a short month, it proved to be a very active one at Derek's Dugout. From dancing to musical twister, the children showed that they were ready to take on a lot. Linda Kline encouraged the students to "see the big picture" by teaching them line dancing as a form of exercise. They also discussed the students' food choices and its long-term effects.

    New clubs also started in February. The choices included recycled art, paper mache and model-car building. With all of the clubs and activities going on at Derek's Dugout in February, the group once again showed that learning could be fun!

  • Feb. 2, 2010 — The children played the DVD version of Twister, which provided a great lesson in listening skills and following directions. Derek Jeter's 10 Life Lessons were incorporated so the children could see how the lessons play out in daily activities.
  • Feb. 3, 2010 — Linda Kline worked with the participants on line dancing and introduced the importance of nutritious snacks. In another activity, she incorporated a jump-rope contest and a lesson on protein-based foods.
  • Feb. 9, 2010 — Valentine's Day fun! Two high school volunteers from the Three Rivers National Honor Society led the children in creating bags for their Valentine cards. The volunteers then helped the children frost cookies for their friends and family. What a treat!
  • Feb. 16, 2010 — The Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders made a visit today. To switch things up a bit, the TRAM students decided to mentor the Leaders. They taught the Leaders all of the dancing skills they had been learning. Afterwards, the children led the group in a game of musical chairs. All of the students were engaged and cheering each other on!
  • Feb. 17, 2010 — Yoga day! Yoga helped the children learn how to control stress and anger as it arises. Linda Kline also came in for another line dancing session and promoted fruits and vegetables for a good snack.


    Three very different clubs were the highlight at Derek’s Dugout in January. Children choose to participate in the Cooking Club, Building Club, or Art Club, each with its own exciting activities planned. Other highlights include the Annual Mentor/Partner Appreciation Dinner and the start of a six-week line-dancing program. Line dancing is a fun way to increase listening skills and group cooperation.

    TRAM’s Executive Director Charlene Zavala believes that the program is progressing each day. “By encouraging the kids through roundtable meetings to list what they like about the program, what they didn’t like about the program, and activities they would like merged into the program, I feel that they are taking more ownership in their program. This appears to enhance the success of Derek’s Dugout.”

  • Jan. 19, 2010 — Jeter’s Leaders Mentoring. Although the focus was on Martin Luther King Day, the Jeter’s Leaders introduced several fun group and teambuilding games.
  • Jan. 20, 2010 — Clubs. In the Cooking Club, children made hot chocolate from scratch. Building Club participants made a gingerbread house with small milk cartons, icing and miscellaneous food. In addition, the participants in the Art Club made play dough.
  • Jan. 27, 2010 — Line Dancing. Derek’s Dugout started its six-week program of line dancing, merged with nutrition. Students also learned a new lesson in yoga. Lessons 1 and 2 from Derek’s 10 Life Lessons were integrated into the day.


    December was a festive month at Derek’s Dugout. To start, the children decorated a tree with handmade ornaments and paper chains. They also shopped for holiday gifts for their family members at the program’s Free Store. Special thanks to the Jeter’s Leaders and local National Honor Society members for assisting in this effort.

    In academic news, many of the children made the honor roll or received honorable mentions. One child was even named Student of the Month and had his photo featured in the local newspaper. “The highlight of December was being treated to a holiday extravaganza at the Air Zoo and shaking the hand of the man that makes it all possible … Derek Jeter! The children were so grateful for the bag of surprises they received at the end of the event,” said Zavala.

  • Dec. 1, 2009 — Board Game Marathon. The participants played various old-fashioned games, such as Checkers, Connect 4, and Monopoly. Afterwards, they enjoyed the movie, “Over the Hedge.”
  • Dec. 3, 2009 — Junk Art Activities included creating art out of random items. Using construction paper, scissors, glue and a variety of materials from pipe cleaners to cotton balls, the participants enjoyed creating original projects.
  • Dec. 8, 2009 — Turn 2 Holiday Express at Kalamazoo’s Air Zoo. Twenty-four students and six adults attended. They were able to enjoy the Air Zoo’s rides and activities all night. Everyone had a great time and Derek Jeter’s presence was definitely the highlight!
  • Dec. 11, 2009 — Annual Holiday Party at Bair Lake Bible Camp. This is an event open to the after-school program participants, mentees, their families, mentors and staff. Everyone enjoyed climbing the rock wall, playing games and shooting hoops. A group craft was constructed, followed by a wonderful lunch of homemade pizza and dessert.
  • Dec. 15, 2009 — Joy of Giving Shopping Spree. The Free Store was set up for the children to shop for members of their household and wrap their treasures to take home. There was also an ornament-making center. Members of the Jeter’s Leaders and TRHS National Honor Society were there to assist the children with their shopping, wrapping, and ornament-making activities. A great way to wrap up before the holiday break!


    TRAM continues to provide a safe after-school program at "Extra Innings at Derek's Dugout." The children are learning the daily schedule and appear to be appreciating a stable routine with a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. The program is fortunate to have a park right outside the back door for the children to enjoy games such as basketball, kickball, tennis and old-fashioned catch. While indoors, students create projects that have enhanced the decoration of the program site. They include posters, photos, finger-paint pictures and interpretive yarn art work. "Derek's Dugout is definitely a colorful home base for our children," said Charlene Zavala, TRAM's Executive Director. "Additionally, more students are sharing their assignment books and graded papers from school. They are proud of themselves that they're completing their school work and turning it in on time." The program has already received many comments about how it is positively affecting the community's children each day.

  • Nov. 5, 2009 — Today was TRAM's Open House/Kickoff Celebration. Several board members, mentors, parents and community members dropped in between 4-6 p.m. The students proudly displayed their artwork, including their "All About Me" posters and photo. Three girls sang a special welcome song for the guests. It was a great way for the community to see the site and get a first-hand look at what the participants are doing at TRAM.
  • Nov. 18, 2009 — The group worked on yarn interpretive art work. What beautiful projects came out of this project! They used colorful construction paper, scrap yarn and glue. Some of the children hung their projects up around the site while others took their projects home.
  • Nov. 19, 2009 — Thanksgiving bingo was the hit of the day! The students received a blank card so they could prepare their own version of bingo. They created a list of their favorite things about Thanksgiving. They had a wonderful time playing a new version of this classic game.
  • Nov. 24, 2009 — Today was the last day before the Thanksgiving break. The children made finger paintings and had a coloring contest. Outside judges were brought in and awarded prizes for "Nicest Picture," "Most Unique Picture," and "Most Colorful Picture." The children made awesome drawings, and the contest was a great way to end the program right before break.


    The 2009-10 program year of Extra Innings at Derek's Dugout started on Oct. 6, 2009. Third-through-sixth-grade participants are falling into an organized routine on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Each day, the children arrive by school bus, have a healthy snack, participate in a game, craft, program or group activity, do their homework and leave by 6 p.m. Back by popular demand is the daily riddle posted on the board during snack time. Derek Jeter's 10 Life Lessons are gradually becoming the backbone of the program. The staff is already seeing the "light bulbs turn on" as the students make connections between one of Derek's Life Lessons and his or her own life!

  • Oct. 6, 2009 — The first day included establishing basic rules, running through the daily schedule, introducing the TRAM staff and explaining the riddle policy. Activities included an "autograph search" to help the students get to know each other. All of the children also started working on an "All About Me" poster project.
  • Oct. 7, 2009 — Today the students were introduced to the "journal project." This will be an on-going project throughout the school year. The purpose is to enable students to write in their journals about their goals, achievements, chosen topics or anything that may be on their minds.
  • Oct. 20, 2009 — Pumpkin Carving/Painting Day. The National Honor Society students volunteered at TRAM and helped the children create fantastic Halloween pumpkins!
  • Oct. 21, 2009 — Today the participants started creating their scarecrow for the Annual Three Rivers Fall Color Tour. This activity promotes creativity, teamwork and community involvement. The students also played board and card games and made directional signs for "Make a Difference Day" and TRAM's Annual Coat Drive.
  • Oct. 22, 2009 — Field trip to Hubert McDonald's Farm! The students went on a hayride, rode bikes, played on the swing set, fed the farm animals and roasted hot dogs and S'mores. What a fun time for the whole group!
  • Oct. 29, 2009 — TRAM attended the Halloween Haunting hosted by the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders. Costumes, games, food, prizes and a DJ all came together to create a fantastic Halloween celebration between the Jeter's Leaders and the other Turn 2 Signature Programs in Kalamazoo.

TRAM 2010-11 Program Year
TRAM 2008-09 Program Year

Since its launch in 1996, the Turn 2 Foundation has awarded more than $23 million to create and support signature programs that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and "Turn 2" healthy lifestyles. Learn more »

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