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The REAL Program

Learning in

REAL time...

The REAL (Reading and Educational Assistance for Learning) Program's mission is to improve literacy in Lynn, Massachusetts—a city 100,000 people call home.

The REAL Program


Whatever your age, no matter how far into your literacy journey—we're here to help!

The REAL Program


Good teaching is invaluable to our children, families and community. COVID-19 measures have magnified how much school community matters. Retired teachers bring depth of experience to our program as mentors.


All parents want the best for their children. If you need help with resources, or ESL skills to guide your children with their education, The REAL Program is here to support you and your family.

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Volunteer opportunities include working with children, parents; collecting and distributing childrens' books; fundraising; grant writing; technical assistance; administrative assistance; and more. Try us!


Monthly donors, corporate sponsors, annual givers, individual supporters, in-kind donors are important to our sustainability and our efforts to improve literacy and access to under-resourced children and families.

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Watch Executive Director/Founder Jan Plourde and 3 NSCC students talk about The REAL Program on History of Success HERE!


What People Say

We like keeping it REAL, so we are always asking for feedback!

Victoria Hackett, M.Ed.
Founder of

“The more that you read, the more things that you will know, the more that you learn, the more places that you’’ll go.”
—Dr. Seuss


Did you know that the city of Lynn, MA only has 1 public library and only half of the children attend preschool? The REAL Program is filling this void. Literacy is the name of the game at the REAL Program and their unique programming and multigenerational approach to learning and teaching is what sets them apart. With Literacy as a core value, The REAL Program has become a safe haven and a place for so many children and adults to thrive. The REAL Program is a community, a family, and a place that offers homework assistance, healthy snacks and an outdoor classroom, along with ESL classes, enrichment opportunities and so much more. The REAL magic is in reading.  

Kim Manon
REAL mom

Hello everyone!


I'm Kim Manon, mother of Fadi Hilali. I am writing this testimonial with lots of love and gratitude for all the support and the great services that you have provided for my son in the past five years at the Real Program. Fadi has achieved so many goals!  He has improved immensely in the areas of Reading, Math and Art. I can't say enough good things; I am so grateful that he got to the point where he feels comfortable with talking in class and talking with his teacher if necessary. I couldn't be happier seeing the transformation that took place.  

Thank you to all the support staff from the bottom of my heart :) 

Helping Hands

Nice To Meet You

Our team has REAL passion about this program!

REAL Board of Directors, October 2023:
Susan Plourde, President
Walter Stone, EdD, Vice President/Treasurer
Gerda Pasquarello, Secretary
Mary Barthelmes, Director
Betsy Brown, Director
Susan Cronin, Director
Raisa Ferreras, Director
Angel Garcia, Director
Jan Plourde, Director
Rachel Shwartz, Director
Brian Strothman, Director

And if you think our team is cute, you should see...

Image by Diego PH

Key Supporters

When it comes to generosity and dedication, our sponsors are the REAL deal. 

Breckinridge Capital Advisors is a Boston-based financial company with a mind on building community.

Breckinridge Capital Advisors

The Breckinridge team has brought volunteers to help us build little free libraries, collect books, help with our annual fundraiser, communicate with children as pen pals; arranged trips to the Museum of Science and we REALLY look forward to working and growing together. Our special thanks to James, Kelly and Sabrina of Breckinridge for keeping us in their hearts and minds.

The Kurt and Therese Melden Family Foundation

The Kurt and Therese Melden Family Foundation The Meldens support since we founded has been consistent and generous. We owe a debt of gratitude to them as we may not have made the strides we have made without the confidence they have shown in our work to improve literacy in Lynn. They walk the walk!

Promise the Children UU is an advocacy group lead by Becky Richardson. Becky and her team have hosted fundraising events, Arnold's Day for the children, provided volunteers, face-masks, food, books and a community of kindness. Becky is widely respected by her Nahant neighbors and peers and Becky even made a t shirt that says "Ask me about REAL"! This is REAL advocacy.

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Metro Credit Union builds stronger communities by being an active and dedicated part of the communities they serve. They provide donations and corporate sponsorships, offer financial education, organize creative initiatives, provide scholarships and volunteer time all year long. They believe in people helping people every day.

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