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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Smarty Mom: Ann Hawkins

By Rachel H

Welcome to another TriadSmartyPants Saturday where we are featuring a new Smarty Mom! Meet Ann Hawkins. I met Ann a few years ago when I noticed a “New Baby” bow on her front door. She lives just up the street from me, and my husband and I thought we should take a walk up there and introduce ourselves to our neighbors. Shortly after meeting Ann, her husband Adam, and their new baby boy, Dixon, we were kicking ourselves for not getting our lazy behinds up the street sooner to meet them! The Hawkins are wonderful people with good family values. Dixon is now almost three years old, and they are expecting another baby in June.

Ann and Adam have lived in the Triad for four years after having moved from Spartanburg, SC. Ann works part time at Summit School as a LD Reading Teacher. She is home in the afternoons with her son, but also makes time for some after-school tutoring. Ann is a member of the Junior League, and volunteers each year at Brenner’s Festival of Trees. She loves being outdoors, hiking, and teaching kids how to read when they wanted to give up because it was too hard!

I am thrilled to share some of Ann’s Smarty Wisdom with you all!

What are your Smarty Tips on juggling family time, career, and volunteer duties?
I work very hard on planning ahead and keeping a current calendar! I also get everything ready for the next day the night before, lunchbox, clothes, to-do list, etc.

Share with us more about Brenner’s Festival of Trees and your involvement with it.
The Festival of Trees is a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season with your family. Over 70 decorated Christmas trees done by various members and groups in the community, children’s activities, live performances, shopping and even a visit from Santa! It usually falls the weekend before Thanksgiving and is held at the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds in Winston. All proceeds benefit the Brenner’s Children’s Hospital.

Tell us more about the business you started while living in SC. What tips do you have for other moms wanting to start their own businesses?
I started my own tutoring business for struggling readers and specifically for children with learning disabilities. I managed over 30 students on a rotating basis and worked with their families and teachers. A lot of faith is involved in taking the leap to start you own business. I began with word of mouth and connections I already had in schools. I advertised anyplace I could put a flyer that did not charge me: bookstores, coffee shops, church bulletin, the public library, etc. I learned a lot about the power of referrals and word of mouth!

As a Reading Teacher for children with Learning Disabilities, I am sure you have many Smarty Tips for moms. What are some tips we can use when working with our children on reading skills? How can we help our children enjoy reading and not look at it as a chore?
I encourage you to continue to cuddle up and read with them, even early school-aged children. I believe we start making it a chore by making them do it all. Keep playing reading-like games without books to encourage their phonemic awareness. Games like rhyming words, count and clap syllables, swap letters in words - change the /k/ in cat to a /b/. Make it light and easy without the pressure of reading out loud or silently for an allotted amount of time.

I know plenty of moms are now asking themselves if you have tutoring spaces available! If so, when are you available?
Yes, I have spaces open for more students. I tutor after school or evening and will be tutoring all summer. Email TriadSmartyPants here and we will send you Ann’s contact information.

What is your favorite aspect of the Triad since having moved here 4 years ago?
I love being able to get to almost any place in town in 10 minutes. We noticed that right away. A drive to Tanglewood - 10 minutes; a trip downtown - 10 minutes.

What is your favorite family activity?
We spend a lot of our free time outdoors enjoying the local parks. One of our favorites is a walk along the Yadkin River or a hike at Pilot Mountain.

Favorite “mommy-time” activity?
Dixon and I love to get out for a walk or bike ride with our dog, Harbor, any chance we get!

Favorite place to eat out with kids?
Cloverdale Kitchen for pancakes every Saturday morning. Mayberry’s - a scoop of Cookie Monster ice cream gets us a long way. Fuddruckers has great games to play. West End CafĂ© - a hotdog and a fishpond!!

Favorite park in the Triad?
Hathaway Park off Country Club in Winston. Wonderful equipment and they have a dog park where you can let your dog run leash free!!

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
There are so many options of activities within easy distance. The mountains, the big city, all easy to get to in a short road trip.

Funniest thing Dixon has ever said to you?
There have been many - some that shouldn’t be recorded in print but my favorite at the moment is when I suggest something for us to do and I get either “That’s a great idea, sure ya sure,” or “That’s not a good idea for me.”

Best birthday party you have attended?
Any party that involves an activity where the kids can run, jump, dance and play!!

I could not live without my... Calendar!

I wish someone had told me sooner about... All the free and fun things available to moms in the Triad.

Thanks, Ann for all your Smarty answers!

We are always on the hunt for Smarty Moms. And while we've been featuring some moms who have done AMAZING things such as going above-and-beyond the call of duty for others, doing incredible work for her family, friends, or community, or has accomplished tremendous feats - we are also looking to feature moms in the Triad who just simply live the daily grit of motherhood! Please send us your "mominations" and feel free to nominate yourself (especially if you are a mompreneur with a great service or product to promote)! We look forward to hearing from you. Email us here with your “Smarty Momination”!


Deb said...

Ann, you sound like a wonderful mom and a great teacher, too. We are so lucky to have teachers around who truly care about the childen.

Jennifer said...

Great profile, Ann! Question - I liked you ridea of walking along the Yadkin River. Where is a good place to do that? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Our family loves the Festival of Trees! We look forward to it every year.
Congratualtions on being a Smarty Mom this week.

Anonymous said...

Ann is a fabulous teacher! She is extremely dedicated to her students and has a terrific demeanor with children that really gets them to actively participate and enjoy what they are learning. Anyone who chooses to use her as a tutor will not be disappointed. She is great!

Ann said...

Hey Jennifer

It's a great walk. You take the Pinnacle exit off of 52 N (it's the exit before Pilot Mtn) Take a left and follow the signs.
NOTE: You have to drive a dirt road, drive through 3 creeks and the open camp site area and follow the road until it ends.

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