To some people in the Capital Region, a real-life hero is dishing out hope on Stanley Street in Schenectady. His name is William Rivas, and he is the Director of the Children of Our Community Open to Achievement House.

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The Children of Our Community Open to Achievement House (COCOA) has been giving young children hope at 869 Stanley St. in Schenectady since 1996. William Rivas has been working on Stanley Street to provide mentoring services to young children for a long time. Most recently, the organization acquired ownership of the home at 867 Stanley St. and will use that property to provide mentoring services to older children. Their mission is to help older children with career development.

The new property at 867 Stanley Ave. has been vacant and deteriorating for some time, but Mr. Rivas is hoping that renovations to the newly acquired facility will be complete by the end of the year.

Ironically, Mr. Rivas grew up in the house located at 867 Stanley St., so this project is near and dear to his heart. He said, “The greatest part of this for me is that I grew up in that home. We’re looking to turn my old dining room into a business center with a virtual wall where kids can have mentorship .“

According to the Daily Gazette, The renovation project has a budget of $245,000. Private donations along with funds from the Schenectady Community Development Block Grant, and the Capital Region Land Bank, will provide the bulk of the money for the project. In addition, the COCOA House was approved to receive $50,000 to improve the exterior of the building from the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority.

I’m sure Mr. Rivas is very grateful to everyone who donated to his program. Kudos to Mr. Rivas for giving back to the community and steering young people in the right direction.

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