Make A Way Mindset: Making A Way with Molly

Hi all! Molly Ippolito here and I couldn’t be more excited to share my story with you! When Deedee (of Make A Way Media) first reached out about writing a blog highlighting my own “Make A Way”  journey, I really didn’t know where to begin. It could be the teacher in me, or perhaps my obsessive tendency to organize things. I thought my story was best told in three parts – past, present, & future. So here we go!

Past

Growing up, I had a lot to learn, but there was one thing I was certain about from the very beginning – my passion for creating. I’ve been through all of the creative phases – scrapbook shadow boxes, bottle cap magnets, epoxy coasters, you name it- I’ve crafted it. My creative side has also inspired some entrepreneurial opportunities for me in the past. When I was in 4th grade, my father – knowing my fascination with sour candy – brought home the world’s most mouth watering, lip puckering candy. No matter the sores that lined the roof of my mouth, I was hooked! I brought a few pieces to school for my friends to try and in no time the entire grade was interested! Each afternoon I’d come home and ask my dad for more candy and every morning I’d package the sour candies into Ziplock baggies, complete with label and price tag. Around lunch time I’d set up shop and would sell out quicker than my eyes would water eating one of these pungent sweets. Here’s the cherry on top – none of my classmates knew the candy was conveniently sold at a local gas station a block from our school and my dad wasn’t aware I was selling the candy at all. I was making out like a bandit!  Sales were at an all time high until one morning the principal came over the loudspeaker, explaining there was to be no candy selling at school. The teacher in me totally understands his decision now, but, boy, the 10-year-old me was sorely disappointed.

Present

Years later, I reflect on that story and chuckle. No longer in the candy business, I’m now a mom of two sweet girls named Norah and Stella. Norah just turned 3 this July and Stella joined our family this past summer. I’m also a teacher. I’ve taught 2nd and 3rd grade for the last 8 years. However, the nature of the job paired with the stress of teaching during a pandemic have made the demands increasingly stressful. Seriously, if you know a teacher THANK THEM! I found myself really struggling emotionally throughout the last school year.

I knew after Stella was born I wanted to set some time aside to spend with my girls and take a break from the chaos. Although it was by far one of the toughest decisions I’ve EVER made, largely because it’s a huge part of who I am, it’s also been the most rewarding! Spending each and everyday with my girls and being THEIR teacher has been such a blessing.

About five years ago one of my teaching colleagues noticed my passion for creating educational resources for my classroom and encouraged me to open a teacherspayteachers store. Having just completed my Master’s Degree in Digital Literacy, I thought this sounded like a great idea! This online store would allow me to share teaching strategies and resources while making a little extra income for my family. Slowly but surely, business has picked up over the years. Now that I’m staying home full-time, the extra money has helped supplement my husband and I’s income while I’m home with the girls.

Shortly after COVID started I started pursuing a life-long dream of mine, having a children’s picture book published. I began researching the process and started writing. I found an online critique group and have made four new best friends because of it! Recently one of my critique partners hosted an event at her local library, promoting one of her stories. I offered to create a few educational resources for her to share with the children who attended the event. That’s when it hit me that the same resources I’ve been creating for TEACHERS all these years are also needed by AUTHORS to help promote their stories! The idea was then born that I could provide a service for authors, creating teaching guides to supplement their books.

It’s a service I’m finding that many authors are in need of and as a licensed educator, I’m happy to be able to provide it! I offer a variety of resources- educational teaching guides, launch party supplies, classroom visit activities, and blog essentials. All of the resources I create are differentiated for a range of learners and are linked to the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. So far, it’s been a great success! I’ve been able to keep very busy since first offering this service and feel even more comfortable staying home with the additional income I’m now bringing in. This seems like the very definition of Making A Way! I’m my own boss and I am doing what I love- creating educational resources that will help children everywhere!

Future

In the future, I can only hope that this small business venture that came together at the spur of the moment, that merges my two life passions – teaching and kidlit – can continue to grow and thrive! If you’re interested in learning more about the services I offer or the educational resources I create, please visit my writing blog or teacherspayteachers store at the links below. A huge thank you to Deedee for reaching out, believing in my business, and providing an outlet for me to share my Make A Way story!


About Deedee Cummings

As a therapist, attorney, author, and CEO of Make A Way Media, Deedee Cummings has a passion for making the world a better place. All 15 of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life. Colorful and vibrant, her children’s books are not only fun for kids and adults to read, they also work to teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness, and facilitate inclusion for all. Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. As a result, her catalogs of published books for kids are filled with positive, hopeful messages. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings also strives to lessen the stigma that some people feel when it comes to receiving mental health assistance.
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