Q&A with Donesa Walker: Launching of The BrainTrain Learning Solutions

In Donesa Walker, Kiddos by Lola Magazine

Q: Tell us a little about you.

A: I am a lifelong educator passionate about the learning process for all people. I believe learning should be fun, engaging and full of experiences. I worked in the public school system for over 20 years in addition to several years in administration in charter/private school settings and within the homeschool community for over 10 years. Most recently, I have worked in the cognitive training industry for the last 11 years here in the Shreveport-Bossier area as the owner/director of LearningRx of Shreveport-Bossier. Through these experiences, I have seen the need for a wide variety of services and so the birth of The Brain Train Educational Services has been a long time in the making. I am a wife and a mother of two wonderful sons. I am active in my church and happy to be a contributing part of this community.

Q: What was the motivation to open this new avenue? I mean you have been so successful here for the last 11 years doing brain training at LearningRx so why the change/added services and why now?

A: Frankly, need. So many clients have come to me with a wide variety of need from an advocate for their dyslexic child to a coordinator of special services for parents struggling with memory to needing someone to advise them on homeschooling curriculum or needing assistance with finding the right mix of things for an ADHD child. I am still here to offer brain training as this is a very important piece of what I have been doing but I no longer am limited to only that as a resource. The need for more has grown as more and more people of all ages need to address their cognitive function in different manners. Technology and changes to the way we educate have introduced new avenues of learning as well as new challenges and I want to be able to embrace all the pillars of learning and provide a more robust service to our community. I also recognize that some services are very costly and I want to be able to reach out to more with a variety of price points and product offerings that will fit more in line with the budget and time constraints of our community.

Q: What will the new services look like and how do people know what they need?

A: That is exactly why I am opening this more robust offering. Most people struggling with learning don’t know where to start and many people struggle with where to turn for advice. Does my child need tutoring or brain training? Should I do meds or try a natural route and which natural route? What is the first step when I am starting to struggle with my memory or I have a parent who is beginning to struggle? Should I choose public, private or homeschool and which school is right for my child? It is so confusing for so many people and there is a constant demand or barrage of information that causes an overwhelming overload and people are scared they are being directed one way or another and not sure it is the right way. I can tell you that as a parent, it is undoubtedly the hardest job ever and then as a daughter with parents who have had health concerns that have affected cognitive function, that is hard too. Even my own recent medical issues put this top of mind that it is super important to have resources and to know who those resources are in the community. In essence, I am choosing to open this side of business as an economic, cost efficient resource provider to the community to help direct them to the different options we have so they can make better choices. Many of the offerings we have in Shreveport-Bossier are not even available in other parts of our state at all.

Q: Do you not think that you will be a little biased in your offerings, I mean, after all, your other business of LearningRx will be offering some of the services.

A: That is true. It is hard not to be biased in truth in some ways but I am a pretty forthright person and anyone who knows me will tell you that I will tell you the truth even if it hurts a little. I definitely do not know all, but I plan to be able to offer a wide variety of services with the focus on cognitive function obviously as well as to be a community resource of other services available in our community.

Q: What are the exact services that you will be offering now?

A: Some of the offerings will be:

 

  • Cost effective/affordable homework help as homework in this day/age is often very complicated and we are so busy that it is hard to get it done. Especially projects like science fair. 
  • Instructional specialist advising services so that parents/students can come to one place to look at various options for schooling from preschool through college.
  • Educational testing/review so that parents can get a true unbiased measure of where their child is and can take these results to other qualified professionals if needed or can use results to make curriculum decisions.
  • Homeschool, private school and local public school shopping guides…we will have a menu of what each school has to offer and hopefully even can help with scheduling tours or have dates for open houses, etc.
  • For the adult, we will have menus of local services that can partner to help with different needs such as knowing who to go to at which step of concern as well as getting back into school options, resources, etc.
  • Brain training options through LearningRx are still available as well. But we will also have other specialists we can offer a menu for such as psychologists, psychiatrists, counseling, speech, physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.

 

The primary reason for all of this is to be a one stop place where people can go to see what local resources are there for their learning needs at various ages without just having to pick luck of the draw or waste time searching on the internet & cold calling only to get frustrated with what is/is not available.

Q: When will these services be available to the public?

A: We are building up the menu of offerings and doing all the research necessary to be able to offer a full menu by May but we are beginning with the homework/project help now. It is only $15 for ½ hour of help which is super reasonable and we look forward to being able to help a lot of frazzled parents get some peace at the end of this school year. We will even have a listing of summer camps/ VBS and other offerings soon so people can start shopping for those too. As a mom, this was so hard to try to find which things to involve my child in and where to sign up and how to know all the stuff…guidance counseling on these things is so important. Knowing that Shreveport-Bossier has incredible offerings and many times people just don’t know about them, I hope to shine a light on many of these and open doors to new opportunities in our area.