By Rachel Hoeing
Today’s blog features women who have so much to teach us! From a local author, to a mom of children with special needs, to a domestic abuse survivor. You will walk away from this blog feeling great about the things these moms are teaching others, and the changes they are bringing about in our world.
Several years ago, Alyssa Hubbard participated in Orton-Gillingham training hoping to gain some insight as to how to REALLY help struggling kids learn to read. Through each day of training, she was struck with the same overwhelming feeling …”Why didn’t I know this sooner?” She wished that she had been given this information as a child – Alyssa was a terrible speller. She also wished that she had understood these concepts as a young teacher trying to help emergent readers in a public school classroom and as a mom trying to support her own two boys on their paths to literacy.
After training, Alyssa began teaching at Triad Academy at Summit School, one of 14 nationally accredited Orton-Gillingham programs in the country dedicated to helping students with dyslexia. Desperate to help her elementary language students make connections to these wonderful, but often dry language concepts, Alyssa developed her book, Learn to Read and Spell with Miss Letterly; a Series of Playground Stories Based on the Orton-Gillingham Approach to Reading.
Miss Letterly, a caring kindergarten teacher, helps her twenty-six students (the letters of the alphabet) learn how to work together to make words. Through daily playground adventures, Miss Letterly explains consonants, vowels, digraphs, consonant blends, odd spelling patterns and how to blend syllables into two-syllable words. This colorful resource book teaches language concepts in a sequential format, while set in a warm and friendly fictional environment. Each page layout provides helpful visuals and handy word boxes to support reading and spelling skills. Written and illustrated in a simple manner, this book can be enjoyed at home or in school settings.
Miss Letterly’s playground stories were so helpful to Alyssa’s students, she wanted to share them with all parents, teachers, and tutors of emergent readers. For more information or questions, please visit: www.missletterly.com.
Latasha Barr Lewis
Latasha is happily married to William Lewis, and together they are raising three children, one girl and two boys. Both boys have special needs. Lewis states that “seven years ago when her oldest son was diagnosed with autism, resources and support were limited. Over time, the community has become more empathetic to the plight of special needs families and more resources are readily available.”
Lewis and her family now seek to be a community resource. Last year the family used coffee to help then eight-year-old Camden recover from the emotional trauma of having to change schools due to the deficits created by a traumatic brain injury. Cam began selling cups of coffee in a hair salon on Saturdays. Lewis used these occasions to help Cam work on math skills, goal setting, communication skills and more. Within a matter of months, Cam was doing better than he had with years of various types of therapy. Cam also realized the impact that running his own business had on him. One day he said, “I want a big business, and I want to help people just like me.” With that Cam’s Coffee Creations was born.
Today, Cam’s Coffee Creations operates a pop-up style business that provides brewed coffee, barista crafted drinks and pastries throughout the city and at special events. The company has 12 varieties of coffee available online as well as a subscription box program. Additionally, the family has brokered successful partnerships with Dewey’s Bakery and Winston Salem State University. Lewis states that “the goal is to establish a school-to-work pipeline with the Winston Salem Forsyth County School System along with other organizations that will create meaningful employment for individuals with varying ability levels in our community.” Currently the company has three part-time employees with special needs and is looking to hire more. To learn more about Cam’s Coffee Creations visit www.camscoffeecreations.com. You can “Meet Cam” by watching the video here!
“Are you crazy?” This is a question that local mom, Angela Jenkins, has had to answer to well-meaning people, who truly have her best at heart, and never want to see her fail. Her answer: “No, not crazy, just ridiculously passionate.”
There comes a time, when you have something that you need to do, because it never stops beating in your heart, and it continues to wake you up every night for years. Taking the risk, the statistics, the pie charts, and numbers that don’t lie into account. Then, pushing them to the side, and realizing, that you have the PASSION you need to make it so. As Angela says, “Building a company is not for people who get their feelings hurt easily, or allow the naysayers a place to live rent-free in their head, or quit when the going gets rough. Building a company is more about the why than the scary numbers. It has to be about the why or it just won’t work for me.”
If you read Angela’s blog post here, you got to know the passion that brews daily, because of her heart for women. Her “WHY” is the undercurrent of her company. She knows that she must build this company so that other women will also have a WHY behind their ambition and a reason to grow past the odds.
In July of 2004, Angela was 32 years old and ready. Although she says, “Okay, I was not really ready, let’s be honest, if you are waiting to be ready, you never will be. I had many reasons not to move forward, and it looked like a foolish move. The money wasn’t there, the team wasn’t there, the marketing budget wasn’t there. But, the opportunity WAS there. There was no doubt, I was at the right place at the right time.”
Angela knew that this amazing opportunity would not come again, so she decided to find a way to buy the brand she had worked tirelessly for, and loved. She loved the brand, the elegant products, the French cache and all that resonated with the smell of lavender and verbena! But, she also had a personal story to share. She wanted to defy the odds, and some day, have a platform to share her story of triumph. So, she figured out a way, and did it. Angela inspires others by stating, “You can do it too. You just have to start with your passion. Begin today. What are YOU passionate about? My passion is rebuilding women’s lives and my platform is www.solartecollections.com.”
Thank you to these amazing women for sharing their stories with us today! If there is a mom who you would like to nominate for this Main Street Moms on the Move series, email Rachel@triadmomsonmain.com.