ConnectEd & Inspired Offers Unique Learning Opportunities
Mar 30, 2020 06:00AM
By Pamela Johnson
Nadine Clifford and her 8-year-old daughter, Meghan, at ConnectEd & Inspire in Bellingham. The little robot Nadine is holding —named Blitzen—has been programmed by students in a computer coding class.
Last fall, Nadine Clifford began mulling over the possibilities of creating a space with activities that “would bring people out of their houses to learn and connect, with new ways of learning.”
Today, the result is ConnectEd & Inspired on South Main Street in Bellingham, the former home of Wenger’s Farm and a short walk from the Middle School.
Nadine leased the space, transformed the inside, and began offering enrichment and educational classes in a wide variety of subjects including canvas and watercolor painting, computer coding, American Red Cross Babysitting/CPR/First Aid, health and wellness, wood burning, baking and culinary design, gardening and much more. Since the grand opening on January 31, there have been 31 events which attracted a total of 150 people.
“We have one versatile space now,” explains Nadine, “that can be transformed to offer dozens of learning experiences—if the community wants it, we can recruit instructors to provide it.”
Not long after she opened, a relationship was established with Artworks Studio, also in Bellingham. Since Artworks made the decision to close their brick and mortar studio, the owner and many of their instructors have migrated over to ConnectEd & Inspired so that a collaborative approach to art education can be offered to Bellingham and surrounding communities. “We are grateful to be a part of such a wonderful, supportive neighborhood where everyone contributes to the greater good of the community,” says Nadine.
Where did the name come from? Nadine explains, “ConnectEd is where we connect the education with the love of learning, referring to our inspiration. We view ourselves as a resource to the community—if someone has a particular interest or talent, then we would like to learn more about what they have to offer. When there is enough interest in a particular topic, we’ll offer a course or workshop.”
If you have a bright idea about such an offering, Nadine invites you to send it to her at [email protected]
Her background is in education. She has 14 years of experience in teaching, and in school administration as an assistant principal. She has BA and MA degrees, and a Ed.D in Educational Leadership from Northeastern University. “My education administration background of budgeting, purchasing, and supporting and developing staff helps me in my role at ConnectEd & Inspired.”
She lives with her husband, an attorney, in Millville and has five children. “With a large family of our own, we are always seeking engaging and interactive activities for our children with opportunities for a creative outlet—many others are seeking similar opportunities—and we are pleased to share this journey with others in Bellingham,” says Nadine.
An important new attraction, at the same location, will be the opening of an ice cream stand in mid-May. It will be open Monday through Saturday.
If you’d like to hold an event at ConnectEd & Inspired, Nadine is welcoming in business events and parties. The room is equipped with a big screen and surround sound. And in May, “Make Your Own Sundaes” as part of an event will be an option.
All activities can be seen on the website and you can sign up for an electronic newsletter. Tentatively planned for April vacation week are events for children, a Minute-to-Win It family event on April 24, and a meet-and-greet on May 3 so folks can get to know the summer instructors and learn more about all the offerings.
Visit www.connectedandinspired.org for updates or call 781-480-1375. Also, check out the Facebook page. Or come to the location at 1048 South Main Street in Bellingham.