Having the privilege of attending the Suas Graduation event last week in the Helix was a heartwarming endorsement of the good that basis.point, is doing in supporting the Suas Numeracy programme.
The continuous commitment of our Patrons and Supporters, has enabled us to build a long term sustainable and scalable numeracy programme in association with Suas. And its’ positive impact was in evidence all around us.
The excitement and youthful exuberance was infectious, as 200 young children, aged 7 to 12 from DEIS schools around the country, gathered in the Helix to be welcomed on stage to celebrate their achievements and the voluntary contributions of their mentors.
Speaking at the event, one of the teachers commented “Some kids are so behind, 1-2-1 mentoring is pure gold dust. It makes the most impact. Especially if it’s someone from outside the school environment who wins trust and develops a good relationship with the student.”
Mentors are at the core of the programme and it is not simply about the literacy or numeracy tuition itself. The kindness and interest of the mentors is what makes it so special. It has a value far beyond the programme itself. School attendance dramatically improves on the days of paired reading or maths group. The children benefit from having positive relationships with another adult. Not only does the child gain literacy or numeracy skills but also general communication, develops teamwork and an ability to work with others.
It was no coincidence that the celebration was brought to life by the comedian Eric Lawlor who had the kids in peals of laughter. As part of the graduation ceremony, each child was made feel special and presented with their certificate, along with a goodie bag including some literacy materials and treats.
Edel O’Malley, basis.point, enthused “It is such a pleasure to see first-hand the success of the ‘power of 2’ numeracy programme and to be amongst others who share our desire to enable, enhance and educate. There was a lot of talk of playing Snap and the kids love that maths is made accessible and fun.”
Suas first developed their Numeracy Mentoring Programme through initial support from basis.point. The programme was piloted in the 2016/2017 academic year with extremely positive results. Due to the success of the pilot, and the commitment of further funding from basis.point, Suas are in a position to roll out the Programme to Irelands most disadvantaged schools nationwide and will now have more than 240 trained volunteers throughout 5 locations in Ireland with up to 3000 children benefitting from this support.
Referring to the literacy and numeracy programmes, John Logue CEO of Suas noted “they are a means through which every child, regardless of their circumstances, can realise their potential. Today, we celebrate the potential of Suas’ newest graduates. We hope that these children, their families and their communities are proud of what they’ve achieved and we wish them every success and happiness in the future”.
What really shone through at the Helix, was the new-found confidence that many of these children had, an ability to believe in themselves and the desire to keep on trying. Pure magic!