Literacy Program Helps Literacy Scores Almost Double

Great Shape! Inc. & The Sandals Foundation Launch SuperKids Literacy Program

… Skills to read. Power to lead.


(Nov. 10, 2014 Negril, Jamaica) Great Shape! Inc.’s SuperKids volunteers, Jamaican teachers and students get to start this year’s literacy project already knowing the program is working!

We’re so proud of our students! Our partner teachers and volunteers have worked so hard over the past couple of years to enhance literacy in our chosen schools,” says Gretchen Lee, curriculum leader with Great Shape! Inc.

SuperKids co-leader, Georgene Crowe praises the process, “our holistic strategy is one giant piece of the puzzle and it’s all coming together.”

Great Shape! Inc.’s literacy volunteers started working in partner schools this week: Pell River, Kendal, Broughton, and Mt. Airy. In partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Sandals Foundation, Great Shape! Inc. facilitates service projects throughout the year that provide healthcare and literacy programs for Jamaican families, schools, and students. While volunteers are on the island to serve Jamaicans, the projects also provide opportunities for volunteers to enhance their own skills and take advantage of life changing experiences. This year’s volunteers are from Jamaica, the U.S., and Canada.

This year’s media day celebrates the improved literacy scores across the board. In our third year working in the Negril area, literacy scores have increased in all of Great Shape!’s partner schools. At Pell River alone, one fourth grade class of students really improved, according to teacher, Mrs. Ruddock, “this class of students wasn’t even expected to reach the mastery level at all, and yet, [using new techniques to prepare] 50-percent of the students passed!”

Join us Friday, 14th of November, at 10am, Pell River Primary

View all kinds of teams in action: language arts, computers, and art


  • Language Arts: volunteers improve literacy through a variety of interactive teaching techniques with entire classrooms and one-on-one pullout’s.
  • Computers: from software to hardware, students are fully engaged technologically to increase reading comprehension.
  • Sports: through physical activity, students practice reading comprehension, from new vocabulary words to new concepts of team and following instructions. (Also promotes wellness for life.)
  • Art: engaging their creativity and linking the new ideas to reading comprehension.
  • Music: learning to read music, notes, understanding rhythms and how that translates to comprehension.
  • Green Team: learning about the planet, how to care for the planet, incorporating literacy and comprehension into daily tasks to protect the earth.


Jana Worthington is a first time volunteer from the U.S. “Great Shape!’s SuperKids project is an incredible solution for these students. I can already see how quickly they respond to the one-on-one attention and proven techniques.” Worthington goes on to say, “I can’t believe I’m really here! I’ve heard about Great Shape! for years and it’s awesome I can leave what I’m used to as a business owner and mom at home, and reapply my skills here.”

Great Shape!’s SuperKids also distributes 700 pairs of school shoes donated from Soles4Souls, hundreds of uniforms sponsored by GS! donors, thousands of books, and the IT team continues to move about the island building computer labs. This year, rural schools will benefit from 4.5 tons of computer equipment. (GS! builds at least a dozen computer labs every year and repairs dozens more.)

A student in Kendal, Akielia, praises her computer lab and her teacher, “Thank you for the computer lab, it really helps us to read and write. If there was no computer room we would not know how to do a lot of things.”

Great Shape! Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that facilitates humanitarian projects in Jamaica and serves over 40,000 people each year. Great Shape! Inc. launched from the U.S. in 1988.

The Sandals Foundation is a long-time partner of Great Shape! Inc. and provides accommodations and logistical support, “We are positively impacting the lives of others and therefore the overall well being of our region,” shares Heidi Clarke, Executive Director for the Sandals Foundation.

Great Shape! Inc. is wrapping up all its projects for 2014, including the literacy project (SuperKids) the dental project (1000 Smiles), the vision project (iCARE), and this summer’s computer training program for teachers (Teach the Teachers).

The success of these projects comes from volunteers, the Sandals Foundation, the Ministries of Education and Health, donations and the Jamaican families that open up their hearts and communities to Great Shape! Inc.

For great pictures, video, interviews, and more:

Lucinda Kay, Great Shape! Inc. Communications Director



Kendra Johnson, Regional Public Relations Manager
Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple Resorts



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