Category Archives: Frontpage Article

So many smiling faces!

It is hard to believe, but we have been in business for almost 16 years. Those years have gone very quickly. I’m not sure what our SPH has been but it’s pretty high! (SPH=Smiles Per Hour) Today, I stopped at a local business and as I was taking to the lady at the front desk, a young woman walked up to speak to someone else. She looked familiar but I was not totally certain who she was. Not wanting to interrupt either of our conversations, I remained silent. After she was gone, the lady with whom I was speaking confirmed that she was who I thought she was. Another former student, all grown up and making her way through adulthood.

A quick check of my records from the last 15+ years shows that we have worked with over 1200 students. Some of them have come and gone and come again over the years. Looking back through pictures for current and former students, I face a lot of questions. The main one is, “What are they doing now?” I have so many good memories of our students. My thanks goes out to all of the families who have allowed me to be part of the lives of their precious kids.

As the school year winds down and we move to our summer schedule, I am excited because I know some of last summer’s students will return and I’ll meet new students too. We have added several new students in the last two weeks and have a few more scheduled to start. If you would like to enroll your student for our summer program, feel free to contact me and we can get everything ready for a smooth transition.

Your methods of teaching and reaching kids has really come through for my daughter!

I received another wonderful email last week:

I wanted to tell you what I heard from [my daughter’s] principle last week.  I had heard this story from [my daughter], but to hear it the second time I knew it really happened! [My daughter] and her combined class of 7th and 8ith graders … apparently had some class time to catch up on any work they had.  Another girl asked [my daughter] if she would help her study for a Math test.  This young lady is Russian,  English is NOT her first language.  The teacher was so impressed with the way [my daughter] worked with her, that she shared it with the principle.

So, [my daughter] comes to The Freeman Center at 9 years old, because she was not doing well in Math (or Reading).  I needed her to be up to the standards of The Centralia Christian School in that Fall of 2012.  And now as an 8th grader, one of the teachers is amazed at [my daughter’s] ability in helping a student with the math that she learned as a 7th grader!!  I give complete credit to you and the staff that has been with her through the time she has been there.   Your methods of teaching and reaching kids has really come through with [my daughter].  She has confidence to help a fellow student.  All last year, even though she was not coming to the center, [my daughter] would talk about how she knew that it was because of Mr. Freeman teaching her this or that.

I am also so very thankful that Mr. Keahey was able to have [my daughter] some for help in math.  It was amazing to me that she went to school all week, I take her to tutoring for the first time in awhile, on a Friday afternoon and later, she came out to the car with a BIG smile on her face, happy to do math for an hour!! Wow! What can I say.  A great teacher, spent that hour with [my daughter].

As I said before, I know without a doubt, that [my daughter] has benefited from going to The Freeman Center.  Who knows, she may even want to become a teacher!

An Englishman Came Calling!

In March of 2007, this gentle Englishman came calling. For almost ten years he has been part of our teaching staff. Students often called him “Mr. D” which was just fine with him. We often hear comments such as: “I love his accent!”

John Dorland has decided to “retire” from teaching for The Freeman Center. He has been a great help for many students and he will be missed, though he has assured us that he will continue to bring books for our students as he finds them. His heart is still with our youth and to enrich their future through reading brings him great joy.

Thank you, John, for sharing your joy and skills with our students!JDorland

Kirsten’s Amazing Memories Reunion

picture-3Fourteen years ago, I met a young girl who now owns a piece of my heart! Kirsten is a remarkable young woman. When you first meet her, she will tell you that she was born with Asperger Syndrome and because of that she learns differently than others. While Asperger’s makes it harder for her to do some things, she also has some wonderful strengths. When Kirsten meets someone, they are in her memory forever. She has good memories of students and teachers she’s met here over the last 14 years here. We invite everyone who has been a student or a teacher at The Freeman Center to return and share some laughs, memories and pizza with a special student and friend who is close to family to us. Kirsten will be happy to see you and so will I!kirsten-1

She decided to change her future!

This young woman wanted to change her future! Sarah left school when she was quite young because she “could not read or understand the schoolwork”. Early last year, she found someone who gave her a chance and a challenge. She began working in an office with the stipulation that she complete her GED or High School diploma within one year.

Sarah began taking online courses and trying, but struggled enough that she went to the boss a week before her first anniversary and told him she was going to have to quite because she “could not do it!” By now, she had shown herself to be a dependable employee and the boss did not want to give up on her.

Several years ago, her boss had brought his son to The Freeman Center. He told her that it had helped his son and that he thought it would also help her. He made it possible for her to get the help she needed.

Sarah came through the door looking scared and sick. Her boss introduced us and asked if we could help Sarah. In many ways, Sarah wasn’t much different than so many of our other students. Yes, she was older but she still had the bad memories of school failure in her mind. She thought she was destined to live her life with poor academic skills. She was humiliated that her young daughter was passing her up.

We began working with Sarah for two hours a week. One day, Sarah did not show up at her assigned time. I contacted her and she said she was “too busy”. A while later, I texted her and asked, “What is more important than changing the next 60 years of your life?” Later, she told me that I had made her mad but as she thought about it, I was right and she would not miss again!

Soon, Sarah was taking lists of words home to study and coming back a few days later to take quizzes on them. She knew them, spelling and definitions. She had made them “her’s”! She was also working with iPad apps I had shown her. Her confidence was growing rapidly.

One week, I read a chapter from “The Secret Garden” to her. She enjoyed that. I offered to let her take it home if she would read the next chapter and she said she would try. When she came back a few days later, I asked her if she had read the chapter. “I read the whole book. That is the first book I have read in my life!” (That is still enough to make this teacher cry!)

Over the next few months, Sarah dug in to the online courses she had almost given up. She used outlining and other study techniques I’d suggested. She began flying through the assignments and completing the courses. The woman was on fire!

As you see from the photo, Sarah recently completed her High School diploma. She will tell you now that this is just the start. As she emailed me this morning: “Changing my future. I love it! It is exactly what I wanted to do, and I am doing it! Thank you very much, you were more than just a small part of this accomplishment! You gave me confidence and courage that I can do it, It is huge! I am very thankful.”

Sarah, thank you…and thanks to your boss!

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Lewis Talk Finds The Freeman Center

FreemanRipleysA few weeks ago, the mother of one of our former students contacted me to ask if she could write a story about The Freeman Center for LewisTalk, a website dedicated to stories about local people and places. I agreed to meet with her at The Freeman Center. Every time I give someone a tour of this place or try to share the story of the path I’ve taken to get here I realize that a lot of things have brought me here.

Due to “word count” restrictions, much of the story had to be pared down to a minimum and other parts had to be left out entirely.

One thing that was instrumental in leading me to The Freeman Center as it is today was a simple cartoon in a paperback book. I have added a couple of pages to The Freeman Center website to share the story of our fortuatous purchase of a Ripley’s Believe It or Not book at a yard sale.

Please check out LewisTalk and our newest pages about Ripley’s and the Gun Tree. If you want a closer look, please stop in or give me a call to set up a visit. Thanks!