About The REAL Program

“Parent participation is the leading predictor that supports students’ academic success, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or cultural background.”
– Karen Mapp, Dean of Faculty Harvard School of Education

What is The REAL Program?

The REAL Program is a Lynn-based nonprofit organization founded in 2013. Our mission is to improve literacy in the community. Jan Plourde, M. Ed., founder and Executive Director, has over 40 years of experience as an educator, non-profit and business leader. As founder of First Friends Daycare, The Learning Tree Store, Fulton Publishing/Developmental Teaching, LLC and early childhood professor at North Shore Community College Jan employs a community-based approach to improving the lives of children and young adults. This community-based approach is a basic tenet of The REAL Program.


The Vision.

In addition to providing after school homework assistance, reading support, healthy snacks, recreation, and parental support for the students at the Brickett School, The REAL Program seeks to expand services and community involvement. Our post-COVID vision for the home includes a half-day preschool for the under-resourced children of Lynn and a teacher training component. Our COVID-restricted climate necessitates us to be creative and provide virtual teacher-training, virtual preschool, and a path to higher education. Stay tuned!


Why The Payne Family Literacy House? 

The beautiful Victorian home is situated within easy walking distance of the Brickett School, North Shore Community College (interns assist with the children), Central Square in Lynn, and Red Rock Park. This ideal location allows the community we service and the children we mentor easy access to all The Real Program offers. Additionally, our interns have a short commute to the afternoon programs. This means more time is spent with the children and families which directly contributes to our on-going success. Staying in the neighborhood of the diverse community that we serve gives everyone more access to the support system we provide. Brad and Rachelle Payne provided us with our first step into what we hope and plan to be a long-term relationship of helping children and families in Lynn.

The beautiful mantle library 
bookshelf in our REAL kitchen

Our Stories Are Our Success...

Our beautiful home at 17 Atlantic Street in Lynn

Our floor-to-ceiling chalkboard!

Little free libraries on stage in our outdoor classroom

MaryAnn Lemelin reading Homer Price to the kids

Enchanted Fairy Garden

Nancy Schon and Marvin Hyppolite at our Ribbon Cutting Block Party, July 2018

Dinosaur Land (sandbox) in our REAL outdoor classroom

Making literacy-based art

Our Meldon Art Studio & Maker Space

Therese Melden made our art studio possible!

A happy volunteer from Breckinridge

Raisa and Jan are reflected in the Andris Saldivar mirror

Cozy at night

The REAL (Reading and Educational Assistance for Learning) Program's mission is to improve literacy in Lynn, Massachusetts.

The REAL Program is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. 
Donate or volunteer today!

The REAL Program, Inc.

Payne Family Literacy House
17 Atlantic Street • Lynn, MA 01902

Director: Jan Plourde • 978-993-4425 • jan@therealprogram.org

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