SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Last week the Institute for Language Research and Development launched its United Academy (UA) 2019 program with the GED tutorials and volleyball training.
Just prior to hurricane Irma, the institute had run the Bridges pilot program at SoIL. However, with the loss of the building, the foundation has been struggling to find a suitable location and funding to resume its activities. Thanks to approved funding from the National Disaster Fund in the Netherlands, the foundation is able to start the United Academy program and hopes to secure a suitable location within short.
“While the search for a suitable location continues, we have decided to start where we are with what we have. We kept getting requests for GED and SAT classes and assistance in other areas of college preparation, so we just started, in my home. It is not an ideal situation,” says program director Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, “but not starting is no longer an option, especially for students who should be graduating this year.”
All participants in the UA are required to participate in at least one sport and a club (Science, IT, Culture, Book, or, etc) in addition to playing chess. And as long as they remain in the Academy, they will receive full academic support, regardless of their education level. Furthermore, each participant will be assigned a big brother or big sister, who will be chosen from members of the community and commit to supporting the youngster in a one-to-one mentoring relationship.
Opportunities offered at UA include GED, SAT, and after-school tutorials, and UA is partnering with sports organizations and social clubs to give students individualized training programs in preparation for their athletic and academic careers. Already UA has teamed up with the Piper Davis Group in Birmingham Alabama and the St. Maarten Baseball Federation to host the first annual Piper Davis Caribbean Invitational June 26 – 30. Through this collaboration, student athletes will secure access to colleges and professional sports.
United Academy’s vision is to inspire members to work at becoming productive citizens in particular and better human beings in general through the values of sports, recreation, training, and cultural awareness. The objective is to introduce youngsters, especially at-risk youth, to sports and to identify and further train and nurture talented students who might want to become collegiate or professional athletes. UA also aims to attract families to healthy and wholesome lifestyles.