In 2012 Ray and Dawn Goodwin had a vision for the children of Bequia. That vision was to give the children a place to come to where they can receive hands-on help with school work in an environment where they don't feel pressured but instead feel safe, loved, and cared for. I heard of this initiative and was intrigued with the approach and concept of The Learning Center. It was something uniquely beneficial to the children and Bequia needed it! In 2012 I joined the team at The Learning Center and instantly felt at home; never had anything felt so right. The atmosphere was amazing; the children were great to work with. For me it was not employment, it was my new found family, my home.
The children loved the environment created by the staff. It was fun and exciting, so exciting they forgot they were even learning in the process. On evenings the children would sprint down the street like people running towards a giveaway, big smiles and eager eyes awaiting their hour and a half of fun learning. The children would bring their books from school and their homework so they could get help on topics they weren't familiar with and get assistance with their homework.
The focus subjects at The Learning Center are reading and mathematics which branches off into creative writing, spelling and reading comprehension. In the local schools oftentimes children are cramped into large classes, forgotten and neglected, unable to get the one-on-one attention they so desperately need. This causes them to fall back in class and they are hindered in reaching their full educational potential. At The Learning Center, classes are purposely kept small and intimate to better facilitate real learning for each student. Consistently we see children come to The Learning Center and in a few months go up in their class standing; many of our students go on to gain the top five status in their classes and maintain it. The program has direct, positive results for the children and parents are pleased to see them excel.
There is no greater feeling than watching children come to you needing help and being able to give them the help they are seeking. Watching them grow before your eyes! Children that sat on your lap and told you all about their day now drop by wearing their high school uniform, older, wiser but never forgetting the help they received from The Learning Center, the place they grew up in, their safe haven.
Tylisha Miller is the director of academics at The Learning Center.