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Madonna Learning center

“Madonna Learning Center provides a nurturing faith-based educational and social environment that empowers children and young adults with special needs to reach their full potential while offering support to their families.

School services are for students ages 4-19 years, and consist of six ungraded classes or “groups.” Each group has at least two teachers (licensed teacher and teaching assistant) – with 6 to 12 students depending on age and the needs of the group:

Group 1 – Approximate ages between 4 – 7 years old;

Group 2 - Approximate ages between 7 - 10 years old;

Group 3 - Approximate ages between 10 - 12 years old;

Group 4 - Approximate ages between 12 - 14 years old;

Junior High - Approximate ages between 14 – 16 years old; and

Senior High - Approximate ages between 17 – 19 years old.

Our lower school incorporates reading, math, science and social studies. Specialized therapeutic services are offered in speech and language, Occupational Therapy, movement, art, music, and therapeutic physical education.

Empowering children & adults with disabilities

Let’s put the Love back in Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day at its core is a day to express love about someone or something, but thanks to social media and the commercialization of this holiday, it has become the most dreaded time of the year for so many people.

by Jennifer Hayes

Valentine’s Day at its core is a day to express love about someone or something, but thanks to social media and the commercialization of this holiday, it has become the most dreaded time of the year for so many people. So how do we redefine the universal day of love? With social media brainwashing us with their unrealistic concepts of love and loving, the task can seem daunting. Let’s break it down.

Show your kid(s) the importance of self-love. Be their Valentine and try to shed the notion of Valentine’s Day being limited to romance. Have a day date with your kids and discuss their thoughts on love. What they think it means? How people show their love, etc. The goal is to understand your child’s point of view about love, attention and gifts in relation to what they see on television, YouTube and social media. Kids (and adults) are obsessed with social media attention. If they believe likes and follows signify popularity, their mood and personal values will be impacted by the options of strangers. Help your kid(s) understand what love really means.

Do something that makes you feel good. This goes back to the importance of self-love and boosting your own confidence and esteem. Why not send yourself flowers, treat yourself to a set of lingerie or go to the spa? Your options are endless, and the best part is you are the only person you need to please.

“Lonely Heart’s Day” is a made-up concept designed to keep single men and women in a negative mindset. Contrary to social media trends, you are completely capable of being your own Valentine—and doing so doesn’t make you desperate or a fraud, it makes you smart. Self-love is more important than any romantic love.

Expecting your significant other to perform a large act of love only sets you up for disappointment. Combat this stereotype by having an honest conversation with your partner about Valentine’s Day. If you want to do something special (comedy show, concert,etc.) take the initiative and buy the tickets. This is vital if you know your significant other isn’t great at gift giving. Take the pressure off the day entirely by communicating what you both would like to do, then compromise. Don’t fall for the fake reality social media shows you. Nothing is ever as it seems.

Valentine’s Day is often the most fun for those who are just dating. Aside from some women expecting reality to match Hallmark movies, this day of love can be spent doing just about anything. There are tons of fun, low pressure activities and events happening throughout the city. Once again communication is the key; and always ask, don’t assume. There’s also nothing wrong with spending the day apart and meeting for dessert at the end of the night. Whatever your plans are, be flexible and have fun!

Memphis is a place like no other, so I encourage you to celebrate love in a way a unique as this city. Need some inspiration? I’ve got a few ideas for Valentine’s Day and the following weekend that you and your Valentine will love.

Put on your Dancing Shoes
There are plenty of places you and your sweetheart can get dizzy feet, but to spice things up on the day of love I recommend a night of sultry dance lessons at Blue Suede Ballroom. Salsa, Rumba and Tango classes are available at 5, 6 & 7pm, for only $35 per couple. Don’t worry about your skill level, this is a beginner’s class.

Day date at Go Ape
Avoid the awkward first date dinner and opt for adventure instead. At Go Ape, you’ll fly through forest canopies at Shelby Farms Park making memories and laughing the entire time. Have fun and enjoy each other’s company without the pressure of dressing to impress. First date jitters will be gone by the time you cross your first zip line.

Solve a Murder
Experience live music, comedy and delicious food while learning information that could help you solve a murder. Princeton James Productions’ Murder Mystery Dinner Theater Experience is an interactive event that is sure to challenge and entertain you and your Valentine. Everyone will go to dinner, why not solve a murder while you’re at it? Available February 14-17.

Mix and Mingle
For entrepreneurs looking to expand their network, head to the Epicenter for business and a quick bite. They’re celebrating their love of entrepreneurs on Valentine’s Day with coffee and pizza for all. If this sounds like an event you’d like to attend, bring your appetite and plenty of business cards.

Get a little Risqué
Sock It to Me Burlesque has their annual Valentine’s Day Show, Heartbreakers vs. Knockouts February 16, 9-3am. This is an encore of their original performance featuring burlesque, drag, belly dance, ballet, opera, aerial and comedy! Fair warning, Heartbreakers vs. Knockout is not for the faint of heart, so prepare for all night entertainment.

Dine your Valentine
If you are looking for a romantic evening. Sage, a soul food fusion restaurant, located off 94 S. Main has everyone in Memphis talking about Chef Elijah Townsend’s amazing food.

A few other ideas? The circus is in town from the 14-17 or catch the Grizzlies game. Whatever you and your loved one decided to do, have fun and stay safe and remember you are celebrating a day of love.


Jennifer J. Hayes has a varied educational background in Communications, Education, a Bachelor’s in History, and a Master’s in Clinical Psychology. She earned both of her degrees from the University of Houston. Her work of published articles can be found in WorldOfLongmire, RelevantMagazine, and Single Lifestyles Magazine.


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