Staff and volunteers in the Department of Youth Affairs’ (DYA) literacy programme have received high praise from parents whose children are benefitting from the initiative.
The commendation comes as the department within the Ministry of Social Transformation intensifies efforts to bolster literacy among youth in Antigua and Barbuda.
One parent, Sonika Colbourne, said her daughter was enrolled in the classes on the recommendation of a teacher.
“I have never regretted it. She is doing quite well,” Colbourne said as she encouraged other parents to capitalise on the programme.
Another parent, Natalie Roach, highly commended Youth Affairs Officer Betty-Ann Bloodman, tutor Melinda Nicholson, and former tutor Angela Black for providing physical, emotional and academic support to the students. The mother also advised parents not to give up on their children who have learning issues.
Wanda Marcellin is a member of the DYA staff whose child has also benefitted from the programme. She expressed pleasure that her son has improved tremendously under the guidance of Bloodman and the other tutors.
Meanwhile, Bloodman said that the DYA is launching a one-week literacy drive from February 22 to 28, which will include distribution of educational materials to teachers and students at various institutions.
She added that the drive will also focus on providing parents with authentic literacy activities and tips they can use at home and to augment learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The youth officer said the initiative, which was established in 2016, has benefitted more than 160 students from 32 schools to date.
However, added, the programme is not without challenges, as funding for additional tutors poses a major problem.
She used the opportunity to appeal for more volunteers to come forward and assist with the nation-building exercise.
The youth officer thanked her small team — which includes Brenda Charles and Melinda Nicholson — for their arduous efforts over the years. She also urged the private sector and the general public to contribute educational resources such as books and games and appealed for financial aid that will enable her team and students to have unlimited access to online learning platforms.
The next major event will be the Literacy Summer Programme in July and August, which will cater to both children and adults. Registration begins this May and continues through June.
Parents who are interested in registering their children should contact the DYA on 462-5304 or 462-6781 for more information.