Free Classes

Free Classes

The initiative, “Free Classes” relates to the Muncie Action Plan (MAP) Initiative 1: Linking Learning, Health, and Prosperity because it provides an opportunity for learning in the Thomas Park/Avondale (TPA) neighborhood. Anyone in Thomas Park/Avondale who wants to teach his/her own class in the community or take an on-line class may find this initiative helpful.

artclass

Figure 1: Art Classes Source: Robin Behery

How

The free class initiative is under the goal group of the Arts and Business goal. At the Thomas Park/Avondale neighborhood Association (TPANA) meeting on February 3, 2016, residents brought up the need for free classes in the neighborhood.

Why

This initiative is important to TPA residents because the pursuit of lifelong learning is a dream of all. Learning a new skill, idea, or about new opportunities is engaging and improves the quality of life.

Who

Anyone who has a skill has the potential to teach. There are many different skills and classes that residents could offer to the neighborhood free of charge. Some examples of skills that could be taught are sewing, scrapbook making, building, cooking, gardening, exercising (yoga, pilates, running, hiking, biking, martial arts, etc), dancing, taxes, CPR, parenting, art, crafts, safety and real-estate to name a few.

What

The list below is a basic overview of how to set up a class.

  1. Become an expert at what is to be taught. This is the best way to teach others, especially if you have no experience teaching.
  2. Write a script or lesson plan of what is to be taught to help prevent and predict surprises.
  3. Have the instructor try the class out on family or friends first to get a realistic idea on how the class will run. Have the first wave of volunteers be those with previous teaching experience and encourage residents who are nervous to attend other classes to get ideas and see how others run the class.
  4. Reserve a space to have the class. Is your class small enough to have at home? If  a larger space is necessary, call around to local community centers, libraries, churches, schools, and businesses that would be willing to host your class for free.
  5. Promote your class online and around the community. Make flyers or send messages to your friends to get the message out. Also, advertising in the local newspaper or posting flyers in grocery stores and coffee shops are effective ways to promote your class by paper. Computer listings can include craigslist, Facebook, Google+, and Eventbrite.

Where

Free classes can be held anywhere there is ample space. For example, the Maring-Hunt Library provides up to 2 free hours to hold a class. The map provided below gives many options where a class can be held in the TPA area, but is not exhaustive.

The size of the classroom needed will need to be determined based on expected participation and the activity that will be taught. Call and reserve the space needed for a class. Find out the details such as length of time, clean up, etc.

freeclasses

Figure 2 Free Classes Suitability Map Source: Robin Behery

Case studies

Case Study One

The Maring-Hunt Library in TPA offers free classes all year round. Maring-Hunt works with the other three libraries in Muncie to provide classes to the community. The classes vary greatly from pre-school story time to tax help for adults. To find out what classes are being offered it is best to visit the library for a list or go online to the calendar of events.

Source: http://iris.munpl.org/evanced/lib/eventcalendar.asp?ln=ALL.

Case Study Two

Ball Memorial Hospital offers free classes every month for preparation on childbirth and a mother/baby support group. There are also classes that require a small fee. The classes change based on community need but support groups are maintained as long as people show up. Registration is required to attend and classes last for about one hour.

Ball Memorial Hospital began providing free classes to the community out of need. Since Muncie and the surrounding areas are rather rural, there are not many options for classes. The local hospital offers classes to fill a gap in the community.

Source: http://iuhealth.org/ball-memorial/for-patients/classes-and-programs/.

Resources

The library holds many classes each month. A calendar of events is posted in the library and their website. The library has many resources to assist in providing free or low-cost classes to the neighborhood. Contact information can be found below.

Contact information

Maring-Hunt Library

2005 S. High St

Muncie, IN 47302

(765) 747-8204

Ball Memorial Hospital may be able to help with health and well-being classes. Call the main line and ask to speak with the class coordinator.

Contact information

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital

2401 University Avenue

Muncie, IN 47303

(765) 747-3111

Online Learning Interest

There are many options for free online classes. The resources below can be used to get started.

Free Anger Management classes online. The FREE class is introductory to a longer class that costs $70, which can lead to a certificate of completion. Website: https://drjohnsblog.wordpress.com

Fight for Kids provides FREE online anger management courses. These courses provide interaction with other class members and instructors. Website: http://www.fight4kids.com/Anger-Management-Class.htm

FREE online American Sign Language Lessons can be found at http://www.start-american-sign-language.com/free-sign-language-asl1.html

Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey teaches adults how to handle finances for FREE.  Website: http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/classfinder#center=40.069801,-85.981697