Sun Serial: A Mother’s Journey | Part 16 — The long way home

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Editor’s note: Since 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 Pleasant Street tutoring center that opened in late January. Her journey, though, is far from over.

Success stems from the roots of failure.

We’ve heard this from many an entrepreneur or business manager; it’s a staple phrase at countless meetings, as if the only way to find success is to fail. A lot. I find myself now clinging to this idea and parroting it to everyone I come across in my journey. At first, it was to create a sense of comfort — “Hey, everyone fails. But you have to get back up!” — and now, it has genuinely become a part of my mantra.

Giselle Rivera-Flores and her daughter, Brooklyn

Courtesy Giselle Rivera-Flores

Giselle Rivera-Flores and her daughter, Brooklyn

Success is the ultimate product of failure. Through 100 failed attempts, I’ve found 100 new ways of thinking, ideas, creations and innovative perspectives. It’s inevitable – that is, if you’re failing the right way.

It’s all a numbers game. It’s simple math.

For months, The Learning Hub concept was a place to get a little help for your little student. It was a place to close the gap between what a student learned in school and the amount of information the student was able to retain.

I wanted it to be a beacon of hope in a forgotten Pleasant Street neighborhood – a place lacking both thriving businesses and a sense of community. But now, with feedback from a few clients, The Hub has turned into a sanctuary for families. A place to gain knowledge, not just for students, but for families as a whole.

A place where students first fall in love with science, through hands-on experiments and stories about the ancient Greek Gods and a place where families can unite and discuss the big picture and what that means for their child’s education.

Read Giselle’s most recent chapter, The exploration within, or scroll down to start from the beginning

The Hub is striving to be exactly that: the central part of the wheel in community progress.

The home of The Learning Hub at 253 Pleasant St.

Giselle Rivera-Flores / For Worcester Sun

The home of The Learning Hub at 253 Pleasant St.

As it continues to evolve and as my personal battles with Worcester Public Schools continue to unfold, The Hub is now a place that not only caters to children enrolled in the local schools but is also a place opening its doors to the homeschooling community.

As Brooklyn, my daughter and inspiration behind the Hub, transitions into a homeschool environment after months of deliberation with my husband and finally reaching an impasse with WPS officials over her future education, we realized that the homeschooling community is a large market share we had not included in our big-picture marketing strategy. We overlooked homeschooled children, because of  misconceptions of what it is, really, to be a homeschooled student and a homeschooling parent. How could we not add these innovative teacher-parents to our community of learning?

The Hub has created multiple teaching moments for me as an entrepreneur but also as a parent.

But with an added purpose for The Hub and the efforts of past marketing attempts, things are falling into place in a big way.

"With our soft-launch approaching ... Jaime and I have been spending more time at The Hub than at home."

Giselle Rivera-Flores / For Worcester Sun

A new approach at The Hub might just bring about the momentum Giselle’s been looking for.

Maybe it is the turning of the seasons, or just hard work paying off, but April seems to be full of potential and incredible opportunities. With the addition of a homeschooling program – a program wrapping our Saturday Labs and tutoring hours into a predesigned package for parents and students, alike – we are reaching new heights.

In the past week, while we start to integrate the homeschool concept, The Hub was selected for round 2 in the StartUp Worcester application process.

A few articles back, I wrote a long list of items I checked off my to-do list, and submitting an application to this program was one of them.

StartUp Worcester was designed in 2014 by Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and Running Start to “incubate startup companies founded by recent Worcester Area College and University Graduates.” On April 12 The Hub will present its business model to the panel and hope for a slot in round 3. If The Hub is among the 12 award-winners, it will receive a year’s membership to the Chamber, the Venture Forum and Running Start.

Among the list of other benefits are: a monthly networking program offering a foundation for learning and connecting with resources and an individual mentorship with an assigned SCORE mentor offering free advice and business direction. The StartUp Worcester program will also generate press, promotions and event involvement if selected at the end of the competition.

To add to our strategy list, The Hub has also been approved to distribute more than 1,500 fliers through Worcester Public Schools.

The idea – while it may seem like a small stepping stone – is monumental for The Hub.

It took several failed attempts (there’s that word again) of gaining access to the students of Worcester Public Schools because of the unwieldy approval process that included agreeing on acceptable wording on the flier, but they are finally stamped with the seal of approval. This will allow The Hub to open its doors to a greater population. Fulfilling our purpose to help society.

The proverbial light bulb has switched on at The Hub, and the way forward is becoming clear. In the words of Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

giselle_newFollow Giselle’s 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

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