Over the course of her thirteen-year career in the United States, Rondeen McLean never forgot her roots in Jamaica and often thought of returning. As her skill set, global awareness, and professional experience increased, she began to seek ways to use her abilities to combat shortcomings in the Jamaican educational system. In 2009, when independent events finally offered her a chance to move back to Jamaica, Ms. McLean cemented her goals for The Literary Genius Foundation and began to seek corporate sponsorship.
The road was a long one; initial partners were unreliable, and many complained that her goals were too ambitious. However, Ms. McLean finally found the commitment and dedication she was seeking in Sagicor Life Jamaica Ltd., and together, The Literary Genius Foundation successfully furnished its first classroom at the Shalom Preschool in August Town, Jamaica with a liberal 200 new titles.
Enthusiasm for the program was effusive amongst teachers and students; with the community’s help, the library that had taken two and a half years to plan and conceive was acquired in as many weeks. The full program will include child-friendly diagnostic reading tests, selected and approved by each school’s principal in keeping with the children’s interests; matching programs which pair volunteers with students to create the best possible environment in which to develop a child’s enthusiasm for reading; and weekly class reading sessions with the students throughout the school year.
With the success of this first endeavor behind her, Ms. McLean now hopes to continue to expand The Literary Genius Foundation and to reach as many growing readers as possible in Jamaica, with the support of her corporate partners and the continued generosity and dedication of local communities.