NASSAU, BAHAMAS — At least 300 children in the Over-the-Hill and Downtown communities are expected to benefit from Lend a Hand Bahamas’ recently revitalized literacy programme within the next year. This number will continue to increase following the donation of $100,000 to the non-profit organization from the Kate & Justin Rose Foundation (KJRF).
The generous donation will directly support Lend a Hand’s after-school and weekend literacy programme efforts.
According to Lucas Metropulos, a board member of Lend a Hand Bahamas: “With these funds, we will build a reading room in our second community center coming soon. The room will be named after Kate and Justin Rose and to support a literacy programme featuring both online learning and direct support from our reading instructors.”
He added: “The goal is to bolster lessons learned in school and help those kids falling through the cracks to make sure we can enhance literacy rates.”
A needs assessment, performed last year by Lend a Hand Bahamas on youth in its programme, revealed that fewer than 30 percent of children who should be reading at the first and fifth-grade reading levels can in fact read sufficiently. The organization will strategically focus on smaller groups and make sure each child has individualized attention to aid in his or her personal growth during its literacy programmes.
Kate Rose underscored that the Kate & Justin Rose Foundation, which is United States-based, “hopes that by providing a library, more children will be able to lose themselves in the pleasure of quiet reading time or an exciting book”.
She explained: “Thumbing through a library of real, tangible books and maybe flicking through a few pages as a taster just can’t be beaten. However, if children no longer have access to well-stocked libraries, there is no way that books can compete against online games or videos.
“Building consistent reading skills and literacy can only benefit the next generation throughout their lifetime, so we hope that our library at Lend a Hand can provide some pleasure and inspiration and tranquility to local children in Downtown Nassau.”
Over the past decade, the Kate & Justin Rose Foundation has provided over 500,000 hunger-free weekends to more than 15,000 children in Orlando, Florida. Following Hurricane Dorian, the foundation felt the need to support The Bahamas and Lend a Hand was able to partner with the foundation to feed local communities in need.
The Kate and Justin Rose Foundation has partnered with BookTrust for years, in providing books to underprivileged children in Orlando. In this past school year alone, KJRF has donated 25,000 books to these children — these are books that the children choose for themselves and are allowed to keep and start their own home libraries. With its commitment to “feeding hungry tummies and curious minds”, the KJRF is delighted to be able to bring the focus to The Bahamas of providing books as well as food.
As Kate Rose says: “Without improved literacy, the cycle of poverty can be extremely difficult to break.”