In the News...
JULY 11, 2022
Literacy Celebration Has Its Day in Lynn
Save the date: August 31, 2022
LYNN — The Celebrate Literacy Day Planning Committee announced Monday that the Reading and Educational Assistance for Learning program will receive this year’s Excellence in Literacy Leadership Award at their Aug. 31 Celebrate Literacy night.
Outside the gates of the Lynn Museum Monday evening, REAL program Executive Director and Founder Jan Plourde, REAL English Teacher Raisa Ferreras, and Volunteer Bee Wong posed for a photo with the Celebrate Literacy Day Planning Committee.
Plourde said that since the REAL program, a nonprofit aimed at expanding literacy in Lynn, has applied for the award numerous times, she feels “excited and honored” to finally receive the award.
“This is just a big, big honor for us,” Plourde said. “We’ve been through the application process a number of times prior to being selected.”
Celebrate Literacy Day Planning Committee member Danielle Sonia said that she enjoyed the process of finding, recognizing, and funding nonprofits like REAL that work toward “something bigger than all of us.”
“Being a part of this committee for the last three years has been very special for me. Working together as a team to pick a nonprofit organization within the community that really deserves not only the recognition, but the funding, has been something bigger than all of us, and it’s an honor to be a part of,” Sonia said. “We really put our hearts into searching for an organization that stands out the most … we thought they [REAL] definitely deserved this. What they stand for and what they do is really amazing.”
After the photo, Plourde thanked the Celebrate Literacy Day Planning Committee for all of the time and effort they put into supporting literacy and higher education programs in the neighborhood.
“I want to shout out to these folks, who put in a lot of time and energy to make this happen every year. It shows a lot more than local business people, local civic leaders, they do a lot more in regards to literacy, and without literacy you do not have a successful community,” Plourde said.
JANUARY 26, 2022
PRESS RELEASE: The REAL Program's Little Free Library® Crawl: A Celebration of Literacy in Lynn, MA
Save the date: February 27th
Lynn is known as The City of Firsts. The North Shore community is invited to be part of another first: The First REAL Little Free Library® Crawl: A Celebration of Literacy on Sunday, February 27, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The REAL (Reading and Educational Assistance for Learning) Program in Lynn, MA, provides free and equitable one-on-one access to literacy instruction, books, and skills to help build a foundation for a lifetime of reading for early readers and ESL students.
The REAL Program's Executive Director, Jan Plourde, has set out to make Lynn the City of Readers by providing free access to books at 250 REAL Little Free Libraries throughout the city’s neighborhoods. These small colorful book exchanges will join a nation-wide movement to share books, bring people together, and create communities of readers.
In celebration of the completion of phase one, the installation of 60 of the 250 libraries, all are invited to join The REAL Little Free Library Crawl, a family-fun scavenger hunt on a tour of 20 libraries.
As a Traveler, children and adults will embark on an adventure in literacy. The Crawl begins at the Lynn Museum, where REAL Little Free Library Crawl Travelers will receive a REAL mask, passport, map, and scavenger hunt clues. Along the tour, children and adults will have fun searching for clues, enjoy warm treats, and have their passports stamped. All Travelers must pre-register to walk the Crawl. Pre-regististration is $5.00 per team of travelers by 2.22.2022.
After the course, the Travelers will return to Lynn Museum, where community police and Lynn Community TV will award certificates and prizes, and guests will enjoy refreshments and live music. Dancing will be welcomed, as Sunday, February 27, is Dominican Independence Day!
There is no better way to put literacy first than to join the REAL Little Free Library® Crawl as a Traveler, Ambassador, or Event-Sponsor! To learn more about sponsoring a neighborhood REAL Little Free Library, visit www.therealprogram.org/librariesandbooks.
The REAL Program, Inc. is a 501 (3)(c) nonprofit organization at 17 Atlantic Street, Lynn, MA 01902. Learn More about REAL Little Free Libraries®
SEPTEMBER 22, 2021
Free Little Library Campaign Kicks Off In Lynn
WBZ News Radio, Boston
LYNN, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) – A ribbon cutting ceremony at Kiley Park in Lynn, attended by the mayor and other dignitaries, kicked off the city’s Free Little Library campaign.
Jan Plourde is the executive director of The REAL Program, a local non-profit dedicated to literacy. Plourde said the purpose of the campaign it to sprinkle these spaces all over the city.
“We’re starting with 9 parks, putting 15 little free libraries to start within the parks,” she said. “Then after that we are going to be putting them all around people’s neighborhoods.”
Read more HERE.
SEPTEMBER 21, 2021
REAL Little Libraries Campaign Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
The REAL Literacy Program to Kick off a Campaign to bring 250 Little Free Libraries to the City of Lynn
The The mayor of Lynn was among those in attendance for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Kiley Park to kick off a "Free Little Library" campaign. The goal of The Real Program is to have 250 little free libraries sprinkled across the city, with books in English and Spanish
SEPTEMBER 13, 2021
REAL Little Libraries Campaign
The REAL Literacy Program to Kick off a Campaign to bring 250 Little Free Libraries to the City of Lynn on Tuesday, September 21, 2021
The REAL Program, in Lynn, MA and The Little Free Library® nationwide program have joined together to elevate literacy throughout the city of Lynn.
The REAL Program, in Lynn, MA is kicking off their 2021 campaign to bring 250 REAL Little Free Libraries® to the city’s neighborhoods this fall beginning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Kiley Park, Lynn, MA on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 at 6:00 pm. The REAL (Reading and Educational Assistance for Learning) Program Executive Director, Jan Plourde, M.Ed, REAL students, families, board members, and volunteers will join Lynn Mayor, Thomas McGee and uniformed members of the Lynn English High School varsity sports teams in celebration of the installation of the first Little Free Library at Kiley Park.
The REAL Program caters to children’s 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 indoor and outdoor classrooms and on field trips. Families and caregivers are offered ESL classes to support their children’s educational success.
The U.S. is facing a literacy crisis in which our current generation is less literate than the previous generation. Studies show that a child who is not reading by the third grade is four times more likely to drop out of school.
Nearly 100,000 children and families in Lynn will benefit from the neighborhood libraries. Currently, there is only one public library in the city serving it’s growing number of residents. Due to lack of funding, the library annexes were closed over a decade ago. Only 7 out of the city’s 18 public elementary schools have dedicated school libraries. The REAL Program aims to have The Little Free Libraries serve as miniature neighborhood libraries throughout the city.
The REAL Program volunteers will keep the libraries stocked primarily with books for early readers and those learning English as a second language. The REAL Program Executive Director, Jan Plourde invites local businesses, residents, and educators to build, paint, stock and sponsor the libraries. To help bring literacy to the Lynn community, contact Jan Plourde.
Image: Volunteers teamed up on Friday, August 6, 2021 at The REAL (Reading and Educational Assistance for Learning) Program located at 17 Atlantic Street, Lynn, MA to begin building 250 Little Free Libraries to serve local residents as neighborhood libraries.
DECEMBER 16, 2020
Someone Else’s Child and The REAL Program Join Forces to Enhance Literacy Education in Lynn
The local nonprofits’ collaboration will achieve shared vision of access to equal opportunity for all children
Someone Else’s Child (SEC), a nonprofit committed to improving the lives of underserved children, today announced the integration of The Reading and Educational Assistance for Learning (REAL) Program of Lynn to enhance its literacy education offerings. As part of the SEC family, The REAL Program will be able to sustain its existing initiatives, talent, and relationships while achieving its vision of building supportive and inclusive communities to foster equal opportunity for all children.
Founded in 1997, SEC is committed to improving the lives of underserved children by supporting interconnected and consequential programs that inform and empower youth. With an emphasis on education, literacy, and economic justice, SEC looks to break the cycle of inequality through innovative approaches that offer meaningful opportunities for vulnerable children.
“Someone Else’s Child’s mission is to address economic disparities and drive systemic change by connecting disadvantaged youth with consistent opportunities to learn, grow and fulfill their potential to live successful lives,” said Diane Christian, Founder & Chairman of SEC. “We actively seek opportunities to partner with and support like-minded nonprofit organizations, and The REAL Program was a natural fit given our collective community-based approach and common focus on education and literacy.”
Founded in 2013, The REAL Program is a Lynn-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve literacy in the community. In addition to providing after-school homework assistance, reading support, healthy snacks, recreation, and parental support for the students at the Brickett Elementary School, The REAL Program seeks to expand services and community involvement.
“This union will enable both organizations to serve a greater number of youth and better achieve our collective vision of driving systemic change in underserved communities to achieve equal access to opportunity for all youth,” said Jan Plourde M. Ed, Founder & Executive Director of The REAL Program. “With programmatic and economic support from SEC, The REAL Program has an opportunity to expand the number of students and communities we seek to empower.”
SEC augments its strategy through collaborative efforts with like-minded non-profits, schools, and community-based organizations to inspire children and young adults to participate in opportunities to contribute to their communities resulting in greater empathy, personal growth and confidence. In integrating with Someone Else’s Child, The REAL Program will be able to expand its service beyond the Brickett school to serve more youth in Lynn and beyond.
“At SEC we constantly strive to find opportunities where we can make the most impact,” said Mike Christian, Managing Director of SEC. “The REAL Program, with their innovative approach to education and deep roots in the community, makes them an ideal partner for SEC as we pursue our mission to inspire impactful, lasting change.”
About Someone Else’s Child
Founded in Marblehead, MA in 1997, Someone Else’s Child is a nonprofit organization committed to improving the lives of underserved children by supporting interconnected and consequential programs that inform and empower youth. With an emphasis on education, literacy, and economic justice, SEC looks to break the cycle of inequality through innovative approaches that offer meaningful opportunities for vulnerable children. The organization augments its strategy through collaborative efforts with like-minded non-profits, schools, and community-based organizations to inspire children and young adults to participate in opportunities to contribute to their communities resulting in greater empathy, personal growth and confidence. SEC actively seeks out opportunities to thoughtfully expand its scope and impact through partnerships that enhance our mission to serve. In 2020, SEC assimilated Lynn-based nonprofit, The REAL Program, to augment their collective focus on education and literacy for youth and achieve their common vision.
About The REAL Program
The mission for The REAL Program aims to elevate literacy, social-skills, and good nutrition for underserved preschoolers, elementary aged children, and their families. Based in the gateway city of Lynn, where over 30 languages are spoken and nearly 40% of the population is foreign-born, the REAL Program addresses literacy challenges in a safe and caring environment. The program is successful because of its personalized, service-learning model. Generations of inequality have constrained opportunities for people in marginalized communities and The REAL Program directly addresses that disparity by providing after school homework assistance, reading support, healthy snacks, and ESL learning for the children and their families. Through its service-learning approach, the REAL Program gives community members, students/interns, and educators a chance to take part in the active education of youth while simultaneously addressing the concerns, needs, and hopes of the greater Lynn community. Through this combination with Someone Else’s Child, the REAL Program intends to establish a pre-school and expand its community-based approach throughout Lynn and beyond.
Link to original press release here.