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The REAL Program

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

About REAL

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 Lynn, MA community.


Three areas of focus:

Before Home Program

The Before Home Program provides children from the Brickett School with tutoring assistance, reading support, healthy snacks, clubs, and outdoor activities. Rooted in Reggio Emilia-inspired practice, we encourage hands-on learning, self-directed exploration. The REAL Program caters to our children's many different styles of learning and needs by offering caring, experienced volunteer teachers, multitudes of learning materials and books, and opportunities to learn about themselves, each other, and the world around them in our outdoor classroom and on field trips. The majority of our students attend the Bricket School in Lynn, MA. 


Family Literacy Program 

The Family Literacy program offers families the level of support they need to better advocate for their children and support their children's educational success. By providing ESL classes, supplementary assistance of food and necessities, and access to books through the community via our Little Free Libraries and community partnerships, we acknowledge that the children's primary teachers are their parents, and offer them support to succeed as such. 

REAL Preschool

The REAL Preschool, still in its development phase, will similarly guide children with a Reggio Emilio-inspired curriculum, to better prepare our youngest community members for educational success. Our post-COVID vision includes a half-day preschool for the under-resourced children of Lynn, with a teacher training component. We have recently finished building out a new bathroom and bringing all of the building up to code to prepare for the opening of the preschool, including a brand new sprinkler system. Stay tuned for more information! 


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 REAL Program
The beautiful mantle library 
bookshelf in our REAL kitchen

Our Stories Are Our Success...

Ghnima is wrapped up in our innovative quilting and English class with talented ESL teacher, Sarah Oakley! With each stitch and seam, we're weaving together a vibrant tapestry of learning and creativity.

As a volunteer graphic designer and book distributor, board member Bee Wong is a valuable team player helping to spread the joy of reading in our community.

A REAL Little Library (Kiley Park in Lynn)

Launching the REAL Little Libraries Campaign in Lynn on Sept. 22, 2021

Mrs. Brown reading to the children

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

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