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 nonprofit tutoring collaborative that began officially in late January. Her journey, though, is far from over.
The Learning Hub has encountered many obstacles and triumphs over the last six months. And while the business continues to evolve in different directions, our initial goals of reaching students with a curriculum of interactive maker classes and affordable tutoring is still underway.
Our business model has changed and it has whittled the very meaning behind the name itself – bringing together resources as a malleable hub for learning in different communities (rather than in one hard-to-afford location).
We are ready to begin our maker class schedule at the Worcester Public Library, with a launch date of Aug. 1, But while we organize and implement our program here in Worcester, we will also look to other inner cities facing the same educational challenges to spark our program within those communities.
Dan Ekberg, a SCORE business mentor assigned to me through the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce’s StartUp Worcester program, has been a great resource for The Learning Hub as it approaches its new future.
The dual goals of reaching a vast market of students and keeping our maker classes free for participating students entail a bit more capital to run than I personally can fund. Ekberg has advised us on the usage of grant funds to propel our mission forward, and although I am a writer, I am most definitely not a grant writer.
SCORE can connect me to a great network of talented and well-versed business mentors who can lead the way in the world of grants.
Read Giselle’s most recent chapter, The Pleasant Street exit, or scroll down to start from earlier in her journey.
Intern Hub is another great small business resource, where interns – college students — are able to receive credit or acknowledgement for their individual works and effort to enter the marketplace with real-world skills. The best part of the portal is not just the large network of available interns, but the seriousness with which these interns work.
With a high value on consumer satisfaction, Intern Hub appeals to me as a perfect way to blend higher education with real-world business and early learning.
We are in the starting phases of setting up a call for interns interested in grant writing for the purpose of finding funding to get The Learning Hub off the ground.
Bootstrapping a business is a viable way to source an idea, but when that idea turns into a business bigger than you had initially imagined, bootstrapping can only go so far.
We are determined to break into the library medium and provide an innovative service for its patrons and residents of local communities, beginning here in Worcester and ultimately extending it out of the state. We continue to keep our momentum going through our shoestring marketing budget and by making time to meet with potential sponsors, organizations and individuals one-on-one through our development stages.
In a recent sit-down on the “Chamber Exchange” TV show hosted by Worcester chamber President and CEO Tim Murray, we were able to talk about The Learning Hub and discuss our dedication to offering educational supplements to students and families.
Murray said he agreed with our notion that the city is in need of additional resources for the community and expressed the importance of STEM programming for students starting at an early age. STEM programming has evolved into a “must-have” for students starting as early as 5 years old, and our program creates higher accessibility for low-income families in search of more efficient learning programs.
The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math focused curriculum (STEM) integrates concepts that would normally be taught separately in different subjects. While we implement the innovative theories of STEM programming, we also add in Arts education.
The arts seem to be a sore subject among the teachers, staff and families at public schools. We look to create a program that encompasses all subjects that give students the academic advantage to not only succeed in life through extensive knowledge, but to also touch base upon the areas that boost creativity and innovation.
If you have followed my journey from the beginning, you will understand my stance on the importance of creativity and the immense efforts, we, as a society should take to ensure the promotion for creative jobs, talents and students.
If we lose creativity, then we lose innovation.
The Learning Hub stands by the need for creative curriculums and continues to push through the trenches to build a creative hub for all.
Follow Giselle’s inspiring story from the beginning: