West Area Athletic & Education Center
The West and North Area Athletic & Education Center, located at 307 S. Geddes St. on the Westside of Syracuse, NY is a not-for-profit facility dedicated to improving the lifestyles of young men and women. The WAA-EC and NAA-EC have been serving the youth of the Syracuse community for over 25 years since it was established in 1994. The WAA-EC program is the only free athletic and educational youth center on the traditional Westside of Syracuse. Ray Rinaldi, the Executive Director of the NAA-EC has been working with youth-at-risk since 1954. His expertise as a boxing trainer and coach led to the creation of a strengthening and structured boxing program. He realized that this program was an exceptional means to help kids who had discipline and learning problems, in collaboration with the Syracuse City School District and the Onondaga County Probation Department. Through this collaboration, we were able to establish a structured after-school program for youth-at-risk. In 2005, we opened our sister center, the West Area Athletic & Education Center (WAA-EC) to create a recreational and education center that is truly an inspiration. We expanded the facility in 2008 and added 9000 sq. feet of space that are being used for boxing, computer training, and GED classes. The WAA-EC and NAA-EC mission is to ensure that the members of our community are more effective citizens. This is accomplished by providing diverse athletic and education programs to the youth-at-risk that will enhance their physical and emotional well being in a safe and nurturing environment. Since opening, the centers have welcomed — at no charge — 7000 at-risk youths including those who have been rejected from other community programs due to poor attitudes and behaviors. The newly formed Ray Rinaldi Foundation has breathed new life into our organization. The members have committed to keeping Rays legacy going for many years to come. We hope you can join us and help with the cause.