Abby Ball describes her experience of being a new recruit for Explore Horizons during our expansion from the UK to America
November 19, 2014
Hi, my name is Abby Ball and I’m the Center Director at Explore Horizons in Colleyville. I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas and have always been interested in working with children. Prior to joining Explore, I’d been a weekend babysitter, a Vacation Bible School teacher, and generally gravitated towards any task that involved kids.
I went to college at Texas A&M University in College Station where I was involved in a variety of activities. It was when I helped plan a trip to the Rio Grande Valley to mentor low-income kids and encourage them to go to college that I truly realized the power of education and the need for it in all areas of society. I graduated from Texas A&M in May 2012 with a degree in English/Creative Writing. After graduation I moved home to Corpus and became a substitute teacher. This allowed me to find a joy in teaching and a passion for finding that spark of understanding in a child’s eyes.
In September 2013 I joined the Explore Horizons team and was given the amazing opportunity to travel to the UK for training. I lived with a family in North London for fourteen weeks and worked in an Explore center in town. It was amazing taking in not only a new company, but a new country. I’d never been out of North America before!
There were so many new and interesting things to get used to. Houses are all very close together in the big city, if not attached, and cars are tiny. It’s in England that the saying “Everything’s bigger in Texas” really seems true! It didn’t rain quite as much as I’d expected it to, but it was cloudy for at least part of almost every day. I did miss the sunshine of Texas, but the cold, cloudy weather made everything feel more cozy and fall-like.
Working in an Explore center in an authentic British town was a really precious experience. Hearing an English accent coming out of a small child is quite possibly the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard! I really enjoyed getting to take the time to get to know the kids and to see the great things that Explore was doing for them. They truly loved coming to the center, and their passion for learning was directly influenced by the amazing tutors that they got to work with.
As a training Assistant Director, I also got to know the other directors really well. Everyone I met at Explore was so friendly and enthusiastic, and genuinely excited about making learning fun for each one of our members. Every director at Explore is not only educationally qualified for the job, but also has the positive attitude necessary to properly motivate the tutors and members in their center. I didn’t just get to meet the directors at my center, but also directors from around the country. While in England I attended company trainings on everything from teaching methods to holding parents’ meetings, to meeting members’ needs. Directors from across the company came together to gain new knowledge and bring it back to each one of their centers.
I learned so much during my time in the UK, and I really fell in love with Explore and the amazing things it does for children. I was so excited to come back to Texas and bring all of the wonderful things that Explore does for education to the children of Dallas/Fort Worth. Explore Horizons
now has 3 locations across Dallas/ Fort Worth and has ambitious plans to open in locations nationwide. In 10 years time, I can’t wait to look back at how Explore has grown and helped children across America and know that I will always be a part of the team that helped launch the very first US center in Colleyville, Texas!
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