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Meet Gabi Maza of Gardengate Academy in Natick

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabi Maza.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
18 Years ago when I was studying Engineering, I noticed my 5 year old son was usually in daycare or with grandma. Life was busy for me and very self-centered. One afternoon when I called to say goodnight to him, he refused to talk to me and that caused a turn in my career. I noticed that besides my wish to become an engineer and transform a city, I wanted to be with my son and have a family. I decided to study something that allowed me to do that. Back then I never thought teaching was going to be more rewarding than building cities. I started as a substitute teacher in San Francisco. Later, I finished my degree in teaching, followed by another in Art Therapy for children. I had the opportunity to work with children from all different backgrounds, in different countries and with a wide range of ages. From newborn parenting classes to middle school Empowering groups, my life has been surrounded by amazing people.

Today, I am a fortunate mom whose children spend every afternoon with me at Gardengate Academy. Our family is deeply involved in our business and community. Gardengate has been a rewarding experience as a mom and educator. We keep our 5 start reviews given the love for children and high quality care we offer.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Life has not been easy in any way. I was a single mother at age 14, and I tried to look for opportunities for me and my son. We moved many times looking for opportunities. My son and I were building thanks to many good people we found along the way, people who closed their eyes to give and offer a hand or good advice. These people will always be remembered in my heart. When we first opened Gardengate we had people from our town knocking on our door trying to figure the type of business we were. They would sign up just in support, they were happy to refer; they would bring toys and kid’s furniture to help us grow.

I have been blessed in so many ways. Now when I encounter a new problem, I know I will do my best to solve it but I also know this will bring the best from people around me.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Gardengate Academy opened in 2011. My idea was to open a center that will allow children to excel in their potentials. I couldn’t find a class in the area or the cities I lived that would blend teaching with leadership values, classes such as Dance, Art or Music. At Gardengate we mixed those in, every class is an opportunity to show these values and overcome challenges. Children practice leadership guiding young crowds within the same group. We think they feel empowered every time they help someone. They show compassion for others in a natural way. We believe self-esteem is made by “You can do it” and not from “this is beautiful”.

My job is that every classroom applies this on every opportunity and to educate parents on how we do it.
Today I am proud to see my company expanding into the next building, duplicating its square footage and staff. We started with 3 children and now we have 86; potentially 150 by September 2018.

Gardengate is a center where no matter what your background, specialty or interest, children feel empowered and motivated to discover every time, every day.

What were you like growing up?
“Small” played a big part of my life, I was always the short one, small, the petit… I understood that, size was something I had to get used to it or spend all my life trying to prove people wrong. Pretty soon I understood that being small was not the same as doing small.

I also understood size didn’t matter; size was giving me the opportunity to express other qualities within myself. So then, I grew always trying to be the best at everything. If I accomplished a challenged I would have my own goal of biting that challenge again. I would be trying to make a buck out of nothing, designing shoes for my friends in 2nd grade out of aluminum foil, selling organic wood sticks as craft materials in 4th grade and pajamas from China in 6th grade. Convincing people China had the best quality in fabrics back in the 80’s.
I understood perspective was everything in this life, and that understanding perspective was one thing, but being able to show 2 different types of perspective to someone was life changing.

My interests as a child was, standing tall and count the houses I could see, imagining a way to get a buck out of each one of them was my dream. Later that changed into something more real, more substantial and that meant having a family and the pursuit of happiness within itself is the real happiness.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Tricycle word, 2017 and 2018

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