June 11, 2017

A Mother’s Journey [Part 46]: The business of growing up

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Courtesy Giselle Rivera-Flores

Giselle's oldest daughter, Brooklyn, teaches a science project at WPI's Touch Tomorrow event.

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials 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. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

As parents, we want to provide our children with all the tools for success, but as entrepreneurs we know that most of those tools are not anything tangible we can give.

Instead our tool bag consists of a few innate traits that give us the ability to see the world differently — those are the things we need to pass on to our children. Teaching children about business at a young age, I believe, is essential to their future. And not merely as budding entrepreneurs but also as productive citizens in search of social change.

Lessons in money management, organizational skills and leadership must be a part of the learning model.

Summer 2017 will be an experiment on learning to be an entrepreneur and figuring out what that means for the future of my daughters.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The collaboration realization, or scroll down to explore more of her story.

With less than two weeks to go before the end of their first, full homeschool year, Brooklyn and Evian are gearing up to take the entrepreneurial plunge through a series of homemade workshops.

Courtesy Giselle Rivera-Flores

Evian and Brooklyn, here at Nine Dot Gallery, will be learning about the business of growing up this summer.

Brooklyn has come a long way since her exit from the brick-and-mortar public school system, and I want her to understand that her progress is something to be celebrated. Good work is something that should be acknowledged at the end of all accomplishments. For her, and me, that means adding to her progress with more progress.

The summers are usually filled with trips to Barnes & Noble and weekly reading logs, and while that is a great way to help the fight against the summer achievement gap, it doesn’t do a lot for them as people.

Although we will continue our summer reading commitment, we will add more discussion about what this year and future years can look like if they take the time to understand their interests and how it relates to the bigger world around them.

They have worked hard this year and I want them to enjoy their summer, but my biggest fear is that they lose the momentum they have gained with their work ethics.

Inspired by an old article from Entrepreneur.com about the Brooklyn New School in Brooklyn, New York, I have become obsessed with the thought of helping my daughters use their everyday school lessons in a creative way to boost their cognitive skills.

According to the Brooklyn New School, their students master concepts as active thinkers and doers. Their students study the city, the environmental history and culture all while integrating classes like math, science, art and social studies in hands-on exploration.

The school was established in 1987 in hopes to bridge racial, social and economic gaps within the school system, and with the idea of engaging students in active learning and collaborative work. Since then it has achieved years of success.

Courtesy Giselle Rivera-Flores

Evian and Brooklyn in the Bravehearts dugout before a game at Fitton Field.

As a part of the Ashoka Changemaker Schools Network, the ultimate goal is to support individuals with the skill sets and sense of purpose that enable them to generate ideas and take initiative to effectively solve problems and drive positive change. I found it hard to not take such goals as my own, and intend to implement these same concepts into the learning experiences of my daughters.

Over the summer, Brooklyn and Evian will learn about their community, what it means to be a leader, and how these traits can help with future endeavors.

We will turn the summer into a “Shark Tank” adventure as the girls explore their city and others to try to fill a void in the business world. Since we’ve discussed this new summer plan, the girls have thought of various business ideas that can lead to a positive change such as making homemade soaps with the “for every sale we will donate one” approach and knitting little dolls for children in area hospitals.

Brooklyn and Evian have to understand that their purpose in life is bigger than them, and I hope to get that message across this summer.

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

Part 27 — The Book of Hub

Part 28 — The great debate

Part 29 The girls are all right

Part 30 — The movement keeps moving

Part 31 — The picture of serenity?

Part 32 — The network effect

Part 33 — The original Woopreneur

Part 34 — The gift of reflection

Part 35 — The resolution revolution

Part 36 — The model students

Part 37 — The growing pains

Part 38 — The time trials

Part 39 — The parent trap

Part 40 — The stress test

Part 41 — The place to start?

Part 42 — The accidental perspective

Part 43 — The road less traveled

Part 44 — The one dedicated to mom

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