At least 20 percent of children ages 7-12 in Cayman’s government public schools – one in every five students –have been “red flagged” by their school as struggling with learning challenges, foundational deficits such as dyslexia, and ADD, or other disabilities.
The majority of these children come from impoverished homes.
ARK implemented the Mentor-Educate-Reinforce (MER) program in the 2019-20 school year at George Town Primary. It is a close collaboration between charity, the public and private sectors. Cayman Learning Center is our partner in their equal attempt to pay it forward, by helping change the future for a group of struggling but highly capable children.
The MER program would not exist without the generosity of numerous private sector and individual donors - and we are hoping to raise funds for many more students to join the program.
ARK earnestly believes that MER will significantly improve the lives of children, ranging from improving their self image and confidence, to supporting their mental health and wellbeing, fostering social relationships and friendships, and creating a sense of purpose towards their future. Read about Lianni, one of ARK's first MER students.
Education opens a world of opportunities, and with intensive learning remediation at a key stage in these children’s development, we can significantly change their life prospects for the better.
Ultimately the goal of MER is to reverse the tragic cycle of poverty in which so many children are trapped as they mature into adulthood - and in parallel, to build Cayman's future human capital.
How does MER work?
MER is an education initiative that provides intensive learning remediation, at a key stage in the lives of underprivileged children with learning difficulties. Through evidence-based reading and literacy intervention, it focuses specifically on improving the learning prospects of highly capable children who have been adversely affected by poor home and family lives, and by poverty.
In the past three years, Acts of Random Kindness partnered with Cayman Learning Centre & School and George Town Primary School (GTPS) to dedicate specialised and individualised support to struggling students. These children are in Years 3 - 6 (appx. age 8 - 11 years old). Before receiving intervention, most had not even attained a Year 1 reading level.
During 2018 to 2020, the results of MER speak for themselves. Despite a very challenging 2019-20 school year that resulted in school lockdowns and end of year remote learning, all MER students made gains. We are delighted that more than half of the students advanced between 1.2 to 2.2 years in reading accuracy and overall fluency gains!
What is M E R ?
Mentoring fosters positive, healthy relationships with adults who take an interest in each individual child, helping to develop better relationships with peers, honing the life skills required for success in education, and serving as inspirational role models.
E – Educate
Educating each child with specialised literacy intervention that targets individual learning goals, develops reading skills and promotes a growth mindset.
R – Reinforce
Reinforcing ARK’s commitment to these children through targeted improvements in their home and family lives, MER students develop confidence and better relationships with peers. This improves learning outcomes with the goal of preventing early-school drop-out.
The vision of Mentor-Educate-Reinforce is to change the trajectory of life for at-risk children through a combination of Mentoring, Educating, and Reinforcing. MER is an investment in Cayman’s future human capital, one that we earnestly believe will help to break the cycle of poverty. We appreciate your support!