bmobile funds students at ‘Moms for Literacy’
TSTT Corporate Communications
bmobile renewed its alliance with Moms for Literacy, a unique literacy program developed in Trinidad and Tobago. Catering to children who are slipping through the education system due to their need for a different teaching style, the program has provided a second chance for children who require a more hands-on approach or extra motivation to improve their literacy skills.
Program Director and Founder, Amber Gonzales, explained that this program is not for children with diagnosed learning issues such as dyslexia but instead caters to the growing number of children who simply are not keeping up in their current classes. "Parents and teachers may contact us, but sometimes we get referrals from the Judiciary and the Ministry of Education as well. Our policy is that no child should be denied this opportunity so in cases where parents are unable to meet the tuition contribution, we value the contributions made by corporate sponsors like bmobile,” she noted. "We are very happy that companies like bmobile have allowed us to survive in the period of the pandemic and transition. We shifted to online programs though we do continue in-house learning as it is preferred by some parents and children too," she added.
bmobile has continued to support the organization's excellent work over the years, contributing directly to offset the tuition costs for a select number of students. Gerard Cooper, General Manager Shared Services at TSTT, noted, "The reality is that early education and in particular early literacy is key to allowing students to lead meaningful and happy lives as adults. But it is also needed to combat many of the social issues that continue to plague society in T&T. We are very happy with the successful outcomes we have seen with Moms for Literacy and we call on other organizations to join us, or contribute to the cause in whatever way that they can. And if you can't contribute financially, volunteer! But we do hope that literacy rates continue to grow in T&T and that more people also recognize reading and writing as a valuable life tool and an enjoyable pastime," Cooper added.
Ms. Gonzales believes (as research also shows) that literacy is the key to a happy and successful academic life. "It is when children fall behind in their ability to read and understand and then cannot catch up, that we see low self-esteem popping up, then we see all the social ills that follow including crime and abuse," she added. She also attributed literacy issues as leading to students becoming school dropouts. To combat this, Moms for Literacy has developed a unique approach that sidesteps the heavily marketed one-size-fits-all-phonics system and instead starts with assessing the child before building a customized approach to create sustainable reading and writing outcomes. "We build confidence in literacy over time and with practice and actively encourage parents to get involved too," she stated.
Gonzales started the idea of Moms for Literacy with a friend, at first selling books to inspire children to read outside of the schools' curriculums. They placed a small ad for remedial reading classes at a local business in 1992 and soon were overwhelmed with demand. The organization received a National Award for Public Service in Education in 2005. The program has assisted hundreds of students over the years and actively seeks volunteers who can contribute from as little as 3-4 hours a month to read to students and share the joy of literacy. Gonzales lives each day knowing that "every human being given the right support will contribute meaningfully back to society."
Interested parents and volunteers can contact Moms for Literacy at email@example.com or visit their Facebook Page.