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Little Hands, Big Hearts

The Learning Experience Teaches Young Learners to Make a Difference in Their Community Through Philanthropy

Among the numerous shops, offices, and businesses that people pass each day on their drive down Franklin Road, there’s one place whose impact on the community is felt but not always seen. The Learning Experience Academy of Early Education, situated in west Murfreesboro, prides itself in the ongoing efforts to change the lives of people in our community who need it most. What’s more, they’re teaching the smallest among us that their voice matters and that you can never be too small to change the world you live in.  

Over the years, Lisa LeVitus had always found herself in various jobs and positions aimed at helping children and young people. For ten years she coached gymnastics and enjoyed being a part of the progress that takes place in that arena. But it wasn’t until she had her son that she realized her heart belonged in early childhood education. Guiding her son through big milestones and teaching him along the way ignited something very special in LeVitus- helping children learn is what truly made her happy.  So, when the opportunity to open an early childhood education center presented itself, she wasn’t going to let it pass her by. After a few years of construction and a dedication to putting together a top-notch team, The Learning Experience Academy of Early Education in Murfreesboro was ready to open its doors. The Catch? It was June 1st, 2020, and the world was coming to a screeching halt in an effort to shield itself from the complications of Covid 19. LeVitus recounts, “We didn’t do a ribbon cutting, we didn’t have that time to really say ‘Hey, welcome to the community. This is us; this is what we stand for.’ and I feel like that got missed.” Still, LeVitus and her team ultimately decided that no matter what, they had a job to do and so The Learning Experience pushed on. Eventually, the community began to find its rhythm again and The Learning Experience was in full swing and ready to fulfill what they had set out to do.  

While The Learning Experience is well known for its highly effective, play-based educational programs including L.E.A.P ® (Learning Experience Academic Program), people are pleasantly surprised to learn that The Learning Experience is the only childcare facility franchise whose curriculum is based out of philanthropy. Throughout the year, staff, family, and students are given opportunities to reach out into the community and become involved in an impactful way. And this is done with the help of some very unique characters! A special cast of over 90 characters developed by The Learning Experience are each tasked with guiding children through the different parts of their curriculum and has proven to be a powerfully constructive learning tool. For example, Lionstein® the Lion keeps kids engaged in science and experimenting, Two Plus Toucan® is there to help with math skills, and Penny Polite® helps children learn the importance of manners. The characters who were designed to teach children the meaning of philanthropy and why it’s important in our communities are Grace the Greyhound® and Charity Chihuahua®. Their motto, “It doesn’t matter how big or small you are; it’s the size of your heart that matters®,” effectively teaches children of all ages that their actions can make a difference. (1) 

Lisa LeVitus and her expert team practice what they preach as they show their students what it means to lead with a philanthropic mindset. Every month they learn new ideas as it pertains to giving, and charity. “Kids are able to directly impact the communities that they’re in. And helping kids understand their role in a community is, at this age, I think is so vital,” LeVitus explains. Children get to participate in Toys for Tots during holiday seasons as well as send letters to Veterans to celebrate Veteran’s Day. Recently, they also hosted a toy drive to give directly to the families in Clarksville that were affected by the devastating tornadoes.  

The Learning Experience notably partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and developed the fundraising campaign, Let’s Grant Wishes, which allows children to put what they’ve learned into action. A singer-songwriter event featuring local artists Ava Paige, Trey Ackerman, Joe Bizelli, and Greg Wilson is set for May 6th  with all proceeds going to support the Rutherford County Make-a-Wish chapter.  Fundraisers like scholastic book fairs and spring/fall photo sessions are also hosted in hopes of raising money for Let’s Grant Wishes. The campaign is held through April 30th where they then get to reveal the contributions made throughout the year and how many wishes will be granted through the diligent efforts of their students. 

According to its website, The Learning Experience states, “To date, TLE centers, families, team members, and community partners have raised more than $5.5 million for the Make-A-Wish through Let's Grant Wishes.” (2) Helping and actively participating in giving back to the community in this way leaves an invaluable footprint on the hearts of these children as they race towards developmental milestones and forge through their formative years. LeVitus notes, “I just love that we’re able to give back... we’re going to send these children out and they’re going to have an impact on the community. It’s just really understanding that the service we’re providing is doing more than just keeping the children safe here, it’s really helping this community grow.”   

Braided within the fabric of our community are little learners who are beginning to understand how powerful their actions can be and that a small gesture can make a big impact. Through this, Lisa LeVitus and the entire Murfreesboro team continue to work as a source of good in the community; Essentially providing our community with the ultimate learning experience.  

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