A Mother’s Journey [Part 25]: The full head of steam

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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 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

Two classes into Maker Mondays at Worcester Public Library and I can feel the buzz surrounding The Learning Hub gaining an enormous level of momentum. Students have already started to request early signups for the upcoming schedule of free, interactive learning classes.

The first Maker Monday, on Aug. 1, explored the diverse lands of art and impressionism. While I spoke to the students, as young as seven years old, their eyes lit up with excitement. Hearing about the struggles of Vincent van Gogh and his love for Paris, they learned about the impressionist movement — and even painted their very own Starry Night interpretation.

With each brushstroke, they asked questions and spoke about their own love for painting. Some students stayed past class time to perfect their masterpieces and grab materials to take home.

We — as in me and my assistant tutor Samantha Butera — start each class with a lesson lecture about our topic as we ask our students questions in regard to their previous experience in the area. For our van Gogh paint lab, many students did not know of his name, nor did they know that van Gogh’s Portrait of a Man in a Top Hat hangs on the expansive walls of Worcester Art Museum.

Maker Mondays featuring van Gogh, with Giselle, left, Samantha Butera, right, and the gang at Worcester Public Library.

Courtesy Giselle Rivera-Flores

Maker Mondays featuring van Gogh, with Giselle, left, Samantha Butera, right, and the gang at Worcester Public Library.

We made it a point that by the end of the class, each student understood some element of van Gogh’s life and work, and a greater appreciation for the arts in general. Although it was our first class, we had an attendance of 13 students and a reinvigorating level of energy for learning in a space they’ve visited a million times before.

Catch up with Giselle’s most recent chapter, The starting line, finally, or scroll down to start from earlier in her journey

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