Gbarnga, Bong County – The Youth Exploring Solutions (YES), an accredited non-for-profit and passionate grassroots youth-led development organization has officially launched its Reading Enrichment Program in Gbarnga City, Bong County.
Delivering the motivational address, the Regional Coordinator of YES, Mamie N. Moore, inspired children aged between 5 to 16 years old to become lifelong readers and learners.
The Regional Coordinator Moore stressed the need for parents and guardians who are literate to find at least one hour out of their very busy schedule to read to their kids.
She also called on parents and guardians who are unable to read to find someone in the community to help their children or bring their children to the reading center every Wednesday and Friday.
Regional Coordinator Moore asserted that too many legal and structural frameworks have been and continue to be instituted to ensure an effective, efficient, accessible, and affordable education system.
However, the youth leader pointed out that there is a huge gap in the sector that needs practical, holistic and realistic solutions at all levels of the Liberian society.
Ms. Moore recounted the words of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as expressed in her 2012 State of the Nation Address: “Our sixth and ninth graders are below average in math and reading, and our 12th graders rank near the bottom.
"Many of our students graduating from high school and college are reading and writing at the junior high or elementary school level."
"For these young people to lead us to a more prosperous future, we have to invest more in their basic education.”
The Regional Coordinator of YES emphasized that readers become leaders and writers.
She further averred that reading educates people in any society to make informed decisions and smart choices about their communities, nation and the world at large.
She also disclosed that reading enlightens and broadens the minds of people to become aware of various issues, improves their reasoning ability and fosters peaceful coexistence.
Speaking earlier, little Lydia Dennis, a beneficiary of the Reading Enrichment Program urged parents and guardians to begin purchasing newspapers, books, magazines and other interesting reading materials so as to encourage their kids to dedicate time for reading.
Lydia admonished her peers to cultivate the habit of reading irrespective of social status or religion confessed or dialect spoken or location in the country or sound of their last name. The young beneficiary praised the board of advisers, staff members, volunteers and the entire team of Youth Exploring Solutions for providing a priceless opportunity for children to become readers.
Young Lydia revealed that favorite children storybooks and qualified volunteers are available at the Reading Center at the St. Matthew Academy on the Dementa Road, Gbarnga City to assist children desirous of being good readers.
She indicated all of the books being used at the reading center have brilliant illustration to attract the kids who attend the Reading Enrichment Program every Wednesday and Saturday.
“I am very happy learning how to read various interesting books and being taught to pronounce words distinctly; since my parents are able to read and write, I will appeal to my mother to teach me how to read every single day."
"I will also make it my duty to attend this reading program and encourage all of my friends to join the reading class so as to become super readers” Lydia Dennis noted.
For his part, Jonah Y. Philips, Associate Program Officer for the Reading Center in Gbarnga City divulged that the Reading Enrichment Program is geared towards developing a new breed of lifelong readers and learners that would transform Liberia to become better than what it is now.
“We provide free reading classes for in-school and out-of-school children every Wednesday and Saturday. Professional and experienced teachers lead our program and help children double their reading speed and learn from teaching techniques such as syllables recognition, phonemic awareness, phonics, mental processing speed, auditory discrimination, working memory, and listening and communication skills’’ the Associate Program Officer of the Reading Center in Gbarnga noted.
Reading Enrichment Program is a flagship program of Youth Exploring Solutions designed to address the education and social needs of vulnerable and underprivileged Liberian children aged between 5 to 16 years old to have access to books and discover the joy and value of reading as well as equip children with a firm foundation in reading that will support them well in any future occupation they may choose.
For six year now, a group of determined, dedicated and devoted volunteers as well as professional, passionate and educated young people put aside greed for stipends and everything else and began nurturing the culture of reading among children.
Currently, Youth Exploring Solutions Reading Enrichment Program is being implemented in four counties, namely: Montserrado, Gbarpolu, Margibi and Bong counties.
It is hoped that the program will be extended to other counties through the Mobile Reading Center and Library Project, which is expected to be launched early next year.