Achievement Learning Centre: Helping the challenged through the pandemic
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and no physical structure to call home, the Achievement Learning Centre (ALC) is still helping its students navigate the world of academics.
The ALC is an institution that provides special education and vocational skills to children with special education needs and youth with disabilities. It focuses on children who cannot function in the mainstream classroom.
In 2020 the ALC was made homeless when it was evicted from its then physical structure on Elliot Avenue, Pottersville.
However, according to Beverly LeBlanc, founder and executive director, having nowhere to call home was no reason to stop teaching students
"We are still functioning," she said. "We have never stopped functioning even if we don't have a physical building."
Currently, 13 children benefit from the services offered by the ALC. They range in age from 3 to 18 years and live all over the country, from Grand Bay to Roseau to Layou to Cochrane.
While classes are going on as planned, ALC management is actively looking for a place to call home. To this end, they have submitted to the government an appeal for land in Jimmit to construct a facility.
"A recommendation was sent up, we provided all the documents they asked us to provide. We have not gotten any word as to whether we have been approved," LeBlanc stated.
The executive director further revealed there are organizations willing to help source funds through their partners as the ALC does not have the financial resources to pay rent.
Ivy Yorke, disability programme officer with the ALC says a lot of creation and innovation went into ensuring children could still benefit from the teaching techniques of the centre.
"Originally we attempted to have online classes but with the needs of our students just the online class is not enough," Yorke said.
ALC met with parents to research their needs and the needs of the children, then "we decided to have a deployment schedule for teachers to go to the homes of the children to teach them and to provide their lessons."
The disability programme officer says the welfare of the teachers, staff, and parents is of utmost importance and they are constantly reminded to follow the COVID-19 protocols of hand and face hygiene and other protective measures.