Making a Difference in Children’s Lives: Peter’s Story

by Kate Fineske on January 21, 2014 · 1 comment

Peter's Story

What if there was a little bit of Einstein in all of us?

Wouldn’t you like to know how to unlock that Einstein in your child, to understand how to release the little bit of genius and intelligence that (you know!) is hidden away? Believe it or not, too often the expression of great intelligence, ability and potential is simply locked up behind an unseen learning barrier.

No body knows this better than Dr. Shelley Pazer, the presenter of our upcoming NAMC webinar: Unlock the Einstein Inside: Sharpening Your Child’s Cognitive Skills. Through Dr. Pazer’s experiences as the Director of Learning and Development at LearningRx Jericho she has witnessed first hand how confidence, personalty and intelligence can flourish if given the right attention. Especially after she met Peter…

Peter’s Story

By Dr. Shelley Pazer

30 years ago I received my doctorate in Developmental Psychology. I had planned for a life in academia however discovered that I really didn’t want to spend every waking moment in school. So instead, I entered the business world as a researcher of products and services for kids and families.  

I researched everything from toys to potato chips, to textbooks, to TV shows. Admittedly, it was interesting work. Yet the thing is, I was always more connected to the people in my research… the kids, the moms, the grandparents, the teachers… than to the research itself.

Coincidentally, one afternoon at a family barbecue, my cousin Steve told me about his idea to open a LearningRx franchise, a business offering programs to help kids with learning struggles by building the necessary skills to learn, think, focus and remember better.

Steve wanted to do something in his life that made a difference in other people’s lives. And I realized… So did I. “You’re not doing this without me!” was my immediate response. And thus LearningRx Jericho was born.

It was through LearningRx that I met Peter, a boy who filed our offices with brightness and encouragement.

Peter came to our offices as a shy, gentle 15-year-old boy with extreme learning struggles. He had a genetic disability affecting his speech, appearance, and confidence. When we met, he barely spoke (and when he did speak it was scarcely audible) and had very limited eye contact.

Understandably Peter’s parents were unsure of what his response would be to our program. To be quite frank, we had similar concerns. However, determined to make a difference, we decided to give it a week’s trial. To our joy, after only one week it was clear we were making a difference.

It was amazing to see how well Peter responded. Despite his learning challenges he was quite bright and engaged. After only a month in our program, I began to hear Peter’s voice (previously nearly inaudible) loud and animated. Eventually Peter started coming into our offices singing and challenging his trainer to the next round of brainy cards. “Today I’m going to take you down!” became Peter’s familiar declaration upon entering our center.
What a change from the shy boy we initially met.

Over a period of six months Peter was transformed into a 16-year-old boy with a great sense of humor, an outgoing personality, and a sharp wit. He began to believe in himself and in his ability to think and perform both in and out of school.

These miraculous changes did not go with out notice (and more than a few tears of happiness!) from his family, teachers and friends. (In fact, there were even eventual whispers of a girlfriend!)

I looked forward to every one of Peter’s sessions. He brightened the whole room.

My heart fills with pride and with joy when I think about Peter who is now recently graduated. Upon his graduation Peter spoke eloquently about how life has changed for him greatly due to our help and intervention. This depth of feeling and this form of expression in and of itself is something Peter couldn’t do before working with us!  

I miss Peter. Occasionally we get a few surprise visits (as his sister is now one of our students).

Yet remembering Peter gives me hope. As I look at new students, I know they will grow here and that likewise, I will continue to grow.  

Thanks to Peter and the many other students who continue to touch my life everyday through my work at Learning Rx, not only am I able to help “unlock the Einstein” in others, but I am also able to make a difference doing something I am passionate about.

Leave a Comment: Who have you met that may have inadvertently inspired and/or helped you to grow and gain hope? Please help us welcome Dr. Shelley Pazer to the NAMC’s Parenting Blog.



Are you interested in “unlocking the Einstein” inside your child?

Consider joining Dr. Shelley Pazer on Tuesday, January 28th for our upcoming webinar entitled: Unlock the Einstein Inside: Sharpening Your Child’s Cognitive Skills. NAMC Webinars are free to members and open to non-members for a minimal fee. To find out more and register for the webinar click here.

I am a staff member of the National Association of Mothers' Centers and a longtime member of the Mothers' Center of Greater Toledo in Ohio. My husband and I are busy raising 3 children ages 4-11. I have a professional background as a graphic designer in the creative and education industry. Since 2005, I have been using my professional skills by actively volunteering with the Mothers' Center of Greater Toledo in various leadership positions.
Kate Fineske
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kate Fineske January 21, 2014 at 11:11 am

Shelley, Thank you so much for taking the time to share Peter’s story with the readers on Mothers Central and also to discuss how much his experience inspired and touched your life. I look forward to sitting in on your Webinar next Tuesday evening and learning even more about “sharpening my children’s cognitive skills.”


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