Hi Everyone! It’s time for Lincoln Park Moms Meet a Mom Monday! This week’s Meet a Mom feature is Ginny Conforti, Lincoln Park mom and founder of Harmony Learning Center. Read on to learn more about how Ginny’s desire to help elementary students navigate the academic and social emotional aspects of virtual learning led her to create Harmony Learning Center. Ginny also shares some great tidbits about her life raising four girls in the city, including some great recommendations! Thanks for sharing with us Ginny!
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Hi Ginny! Thanks for speaking with us! Where are you from originally and what brought you to Chicago?
I grew up on a farm in Iowa with my parents and 4 siblings. I always knew I wanted to live in an urban area. Chicago was the closest big city to home!
How many kids do you have, and what ages are they?
I have 4 children, Aria (2 years), Sofia (13 years), Eliana (15 years) and Ash (18 years). When I began dating my then boyfriend, now husband, he was raising his 3 girls. They were 2,5,7 at that time so I became an instant mom as soon as we were married!
What is your favorite part about being a mom?
I love seeing the world through my children’s eyes. As a family, we enjoy live music together, family dinners and bowling nights. We prefer traveling to vacationing and I enjoy seeing them take risks and explore different cultures. I love seeing my kids communicate in a new language, try new foods, and find their personal styles.
You’re a Lincoln Park Moms! What are your favorite things to do as a family around the city?
Our outings changed over the years as the kids have grown. When they were younger I was on a mission to explore every inch of the city. Now we tend to stay close to home, our family time is limited with their sports schedules and weekend plans. As teens they are exploring some new found independence. We also love to take in festivals around the area. We take our children everywhere! We also love to entertain at home but Kings Bowling and Homeslice are all teen-approved for family night out. My husband and I enjoy Summer House and Avli Taverna for date nights… I finally convinced him that Wrigley Field is really not for date night, but I still enjoy going with him to the ballgame as well. Occasionally, we will grab a charcuterie platter at Homeslice and have a picnic in the Emerld City Garden at Oz Park!
Do you have any favorite local businesses in the neighborhood?
There are so many! Alice & Wonder for fun clothes, Homeslice, Summer House, Dark Matter Coffee, Webster Movie Theater, Cornerstone Café and Blue Door Farm Stand and the Vic Theater or pretty much anywhere for live music!
Tell us more about your career journey, and how to led you to open Harmony Learning Center!
I’ve taught in Italy, Iowa, Colorado and charter and public schools in Chicago. In 2014. I began teaching at Oscar Mayer and I received my Montessori certification. When I had my youngest daughter in November of 2018, I took an extended maternity leave which rolled into the pandemic! I was quarantined at home with a baby, trying to help my 6th and 8th grader with virtual school when I decided I needed to do something to help elementary students navigate the academic and social emotional aspects of virtual learning. I wanted to provide a space with the comforts of home and the structure of school. I found a space available for lease and within 3-weeks, started a pandemic pod “pop-up”. Over the last year, Harmony had evolved to offer programs for children ages 6 weeks-12 years!
Can you share more about Harmony Learning Center, and everything that you offer?
Currently we offer after school programs and tutoring for ages 5-12 years, playschool sessions for ages 9 months-4 years. Music classes for ages 0-4 years, Baby Yoga for ages 6 weeks to pre-walking and 1-day camps and summer camps for elementary students when CPS schools are not in session. We are always looking for opportunities for future classes and collaborations! Please follow us on Instagram: harmonylearnchicago and Facebook: Harmony Learning Center or visit our website harmonylearn.com
Tell us more about your collaboration with Connections Academics! What will you be offering with this partnership?
I’m super excited about our partnership! So many kids need extra support after the last two years and Connections Academics offers quality tutoring at Harmony! This can be combined with our after school programs or as a stand alone. It so wonderful to team with other women owned businesses to serve the LP community!
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’ve sung publicly all my life. I sang a duet with my husband at my wedding!
As an entrepreneur I’m sure your days are jam packed! What is a “mom hack” or piece of advice that helps you get through your busy days?
I use my lunch breaks to get things done they would take twice as long at 5pm such as post office, grocery store, sometimes I even sneak in a lunch date with my husband.
I use time in the car to bond with my teens… listen to their music, ask about their friends, etc.
I buy all my toddler’s clothes through Facebook marketplace Buy/Trade/Sell groups. If you haven’t ventured down that rabbit hole, you’re missing out!
Finally my husband loves to cook and bbq so that helps so much to allow me some down time after my day ends to decompress.
Rapid Fire Round: