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Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - Pauline Mesher, learn­ing sup­port vol­un­teer,

“ The par­ents are the ones in the end who are the most in­flu­en­tial in help­ing a child suc­ceed.”

MAIN-A-DIEU — A Cape Bre­ton na­tive with a ca­reer in ed­u­ca­tion has re­turned home to pass on the ben­e­fits of her life ex­pe­ri­ences to the com­mu­nity she left long ago.

Pauline Mesher vol­un­teers each Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day with the learn­ing sup­port pro­gram at the Coastal Dis­cov­ery Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Main-aDieu.

The free pro­gram is fo­cused on help­ing fam­i­lies de­velop strate­gies to sup­port their chil­dren’s learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence from home.

“ The mes­sage for par­ents and fam­i­lies is they are the im­por­tant ones,” said the for­mer so­cial worker, teacher and prin­ci­pal who has re­turned to Cape Bre­ton af­ter 30 years away.

“ The school will al­ways do the best they can with the re­sources they have, but when the child doesn’t have enough sup­port at home to re­in­force that, it is pretty hard to go the long road.”

A good work ethic is at the base of the pro­gram, as is tak­ing a child to the li­brary and show­ing a pas­sion for read­ing at home.

How­ever, what Mesher of­fers should not be con­fused with tu­tor­ing.

“As soon as you men­tion tu­tor­ing, you are off the hook as a fam­ily. Some­body else is do­ing it. The par­ents are the ones in the end who are the most in­flu­en­tial in help­ing a child suc­ceed.”

Her own fam­ily can serve as an ex­am­ple of the suc­cess of her ef­forts. Both Mesher and her youngest daugh­ter hold PhD de­grees. Her other three chil­dren are also uni­ver­sity grad­u­ates.

“For me it is al­ways from the per­spec­tive of the child. What will sup­port the child? Not what makes it eas­ier for the school sys­tem.”

The sup­port pro­gram is part of her per­sonal com­mit­ment to of­fer some­thing of mean­ing to the com­mu­nity.

She be­lieves in it but is strug­gling to get the word out.

“It’s a small place, but I do be­lieve that the ed­u­ca­tion needs of chil­dren are there. It doesn’t mat­ter what com­mu­nity, it is whether or not peo­ple know about it and then ac­cess it.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the pro­gram, email pauline. mesher@mail.mcgill.ca, call 733-2883 or sim­ply drop in each Wed­nes­day or Thurs­day beginning at 6 p.m.

Steve Wad­den - Cape Bre­ton Post

Pauline Mesher or­ga­nizes books for the learn­ing sup­port pro­gram at the Coastal Dis­cov­ery Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Main-a-Dieu, Mon­day. Mesher vol­un­teers each Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day with the free pro­gram that fo­cuses on help­ing fam­i­lies de­velop strate­gies to sup­port their chil­dren’s learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence from home.

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