b'Since 2012, using trained volunteers, Suas has helped over 5,500 children from the most disadvantaged communities in Ireland to improve their reading and math skills through one-to-one mentoring and smart learning materials. Over the past two years alone, with support from The Ireland Funds Australia and The Ireland Funds, it provided one-to-one support to 3,208 children and recruited over 1,000 volunteer mentors. Worringly, one-in-three children in disadvantaged schools in Ireland experiences serious literacy difficulties. The consequences of failing to equip these children with lit-eracy skills are stark. Teenagers with poor literacy are much more likely to experience anxiety and depression and to use drugs. Poor literacy skills restrict a range of life-choic-es, particularly employment. Early school leaving is highly correlated with poor labour market outcomes and ill health. The good news is, unlike so many of the other massive and intransigent social prob-lems Ireland faces, this challenge is solvable. With support from The Ireland Funds, Suas has developed smart, proven and simple solutions that improve childrens reading and math scores. The model has already demonstrated positive outcomes in the most testing of environments. Last year, children on the reading program had an average rate of improvement of 210% relative to the national average and a 215% average rate of improvement on the maths program.The Suas program is also easily scalable and thats good because the demand is great and urgent. Childhood doesnt wait. There are bright eight-year-olds in primary school right now who wont survive second level education because of poor reading and math skills. With The Ireland Funds support, we can continue to change that.John Logue is the CEO of Suas,Irelands leading childrens literacy charity.connect 201913'