A Mother’s Journey [Part 28]: The great debate

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Editor’s note: Since last September, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one, a full-fledged director of a nonprofit tutoring collaborative that began officially in late January but has transformed considerably since. During her journey she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

Giselle Rivera-Flores

William Shakespeare might have been a fan of The Learning Hub. Among the many things he’s remembered for writing or saying was this nugget: “to climb steep hills requires slow pace at first.” That is how The Learning Hub intends to grow. Not all at once, but with each step.

While I feel The Hub has an immense level of potential to skyrocket, I continue to promote our brand and work steadily to make it more about quality than quantity. At first, anyway. Like the nature vs. nurture debate, the quality vs. quantity question has been held as a pivotal point in determining the early success of a business.

Many argue for better quality — to me, pushing out bad material, products or services into the market is uncalled for — while others support the notion that quantity — or market share — is the biggest component of success. Promotion, promotion, promotion! Putting your business out for the world to see is said to be the most effective way of launching a successful venture.

Catch up with Giselle’s most recent chapter, The Book of Hub, or scroll down to begin from earlier in her inspiring quest.

I am a firm believer that true success is one of equal balance: maintaining quality while producing the desired quantity. So, we’ll get there.

Quality is about relevance and about value. It is about having a product or service that is filling a void in the market in a way that leaves a lasting impression and the potential for others to follow. Once the quality of the business is evaluated and analyzed — established — quantity will take its place and allow for a smoother transition into the market.

The Learning Hub is about quality first.

One of Giselle's new students at the Wayland library.

Giselle Rivera-Flores / For Worcester Sun

One of Giselle’s new students at the Wayland library.

We pride ourselves on a curriculum that is supported by educational data< and that rejects the notion that we must teach to the capacity of the “average student,” a model that has been disproven since the early 1970s. The average student does not exist. At The Learning Hub, we accept that and cater our curriculum to all learning styles by ensuring a versatile and layered lesson plan, and to instill the information in each student through various methods.

With our late-summer pilot program at Worcester Public Library growing into a staple of the weekly schedule, and one of the library’s more successful children’s programs with an average of 16 children for each maker class, we want quality to take its course. We want to ensure that our students are receiving the best teaching and materials for after-class reflection before fully embarking on pursuing the American Association of Libraries and making The Learning Hub a household name.

As the program continues to grow with increased interest from surrounding towns and cities around Massachusetts, we have embarked on another pilot program at Wayland Free Public Library.

Wayland Free Public Library

Giselle Rivera-Flores / For Worcester Sun

Wayland Free Public Library

Introducing The Learning Hub to the affluent MetroWest town with our beloved paint lab, a total of 11 children attended and more than half signed up for the upcoming science lab next month. Students and parents seemed impressed with having access to such a program at no cost to them.

One Wayland parent told me she was glad to see the library providing an opportunity not found at the local schools. In Worcester, a student told me they loved science but were frustrated by their experience at school.

Our program is hitting its target market with each maker class, sparking new interests in new students and creating a social network of like-minded children who see learning as a useful tool of life without adding the financial burdens to families.

In each library, there is a great need for children’s programming, a need I’ve addressed in several past articles. But to hear it more and more firsthand from parents is a humbling reminder of why The Learning Hub came into existence.

Brooklyn, Giselle's oldest daughter and Learning Hub inspiration, enjoyed her class.

Giselle Rivera-Flores / For Worcester Sun

Brooklyn, Giselle’s oldest daughter and Learning Hub inspiration, enjoyed her class.

We continue to place quality above quantity for the moment by finessing our curriculum, taking into account new learning styles, and by studying and breaking down the gaps of the public schools. The Learning Hub will integrate a  focus on quantity in the upcoming months, but for now, we will work diligently to make it possible for an eventual Learning Hub takeover at each local library.

Follow Giselle’s inspiring story from the beginning:

Part 1 — The Brooklyn trip

Part 2 — The playbook

Part 3 — The space race

Part 4 — The unsettling score

Part 5 — The point of no return

Part 6 — The poetry of motion

Part 7 — The keys to success

Part 8 — The stumbling block

Part 9 — The Learning Hubby

Part 10 — The next breath

Part 11 — The imperfect storm

Part 12 — The defining moment

Part 13 — The balancing act

Part 14 — The right turn on Pleasant?

Part 15 — The exploration within

Part 16 — The long way home

Part 17 — The road to empowerment

Part 18 — The new direction

Part 19 — The social club

Part 20 — The way forward

Part 21 — The momentum conundrum

Part 22 — The Pleasant Street exit

Part 23 — The stemming of the tide

Part 24 — The starting line, finally

Part 25 — The full head of steam

Part 26 — The kernels of wisdom

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