Future Makers is an organization in Downtown Las Vegas that equalizes access to engaging education. Its mission is to provide education and advocacy to children and families through community based workshops, classes and events focused on art, wellness, STEAM and young entrepreneurs programming. These purpose-driven and child centered workshops encourage kids to become makers themselves. Engaging kids in the arts and science through making puts the future in their hands. We chatted with the founder of Future Makers, Melissa Flaxman, to learn more about this Las Vegas community treasure.
First, tell us how your own childhood led to this career.
“I’m a native of Nevada, 4th generation. I grew up in rural Pahrump, Nevada. I think this is where my makers spirit emerged. My family was homesteaders, if we wanted something, we made it. I’m also a mother, looking to raise my own child with a focus on consciousness and creativity. I began seeking out these opportunities in Las Vegas for my own family. This is what originally drew me to DTLV where I found the focus to be strongly on community and the arts.
“I’m also an educator. I have spent time with CCSD in special education in high risk schools and I have also taught in suburban private schools. I began to see firsthand children learn best in a creative, positive, engaging, and hands-on environment, but that traditional education often left little time for this. This is also where I began to see how children in our city didn’t experience true equality in education or access to the arts. This is how Future Makers was born.”
Tell us what Future Makers is and what motivated you to create it.
“Future Makers mission is to equalize access to creative and conscious education for the future. We strive to offer creative workshops, classes, and events that are innovative, mindful, and fun! We believe that learning should be hands on, multi-disciplinary, and child-led. Operating on a one-to-one model we equalize access by providing free workshops, scholarships, and mentorship opportunities. Families pay what they can, when they can. We have a simple scholarship application available on our website that is available for any event, workshop, or class we host.”
You have a space at Fergusons Downtown and host events there regularly made specifically for kids to express themselves. Tell us more about these classes. Can people also host their own workshops at your fun space?
“I knew that if we were going to create a new kind of creative education it needed to be in a place where authenticity and free thinking are valued. The team at Fergusons has been essential in helping with our vision and mission. We feel so very lucky to be located at Fergusons Downtown and to share this beautiful space with children and families. We offer classes in creative arts, STEM, movement, and mindfulness. Our young entrepreneurs program is also super exciting.
When we began at Market in the Alley we knew we wanted to share this with kids and we were so lucky to meet some amazing young entrepreneurs like Kumei and her family from Tofu Tees, and Fallon and Aspen from FaLab. Since then, this program has grown immensely with the community’s support. The kids now host pop-ups in our space where they sell their products, bring awareness to important causes, and connect with other like minded creative kids. Collaborating is key to our program. We love working with other creatives that want to share their talent with kids by guest teaching or hosting workshops in our space.”
You recently added a Micro-Schooling Program, can you tell us more about this?
When access to traditional schooling disappeared, I knew that we needed to do something! I began researching, found Nevada Action for School Options, where Don and the team there shared more about micro-schooling as an option here. Micro-schooling is often described as a “one room schoolhouse for the future.” Through our micro schooling program the goal is to offer blended/hybrid learning models, small class sizes, multi-age classrooms, access to personalized learning, and innovative pedagogy.
We began quickly just trying to meet the needs we were seeing with next steps and goals to obtain a larger space and grants for more teachers and scholarships. With the amazing support of the community, we hope to meet these goals by January. We are currently fleshing out some exciting plans for the future that I can’t elaborate on yet, but it’s looking good!
Your daughter Sophie also has some amazing talent! Tell us more about Creating with Sophie.
First, thank you! Sophie has always been such a creative and free-thinking spirit! When we began, we noticed so many amazing artists around us. Sophie was immediately inspired to create her own business where she could share what she was creating. The community immediately took her under their wing and supported her by purchasing her work, sharing her art, and inviting her to collaborate. She was even able to design a mural at Market in the Alley with local artist Jasmine Faro.
She has also been there helping with Future Makers every step of the way. From leading workshops to helping me take down and set up pop-ups in the cold and heat.
The other children and families love working with her. She is truly the inspiration and light behind Future Makers which is probably what shines through. For the future, by the future.
Photos by Kimberly Meza of Dirt And Glitter Photo Design
What do you hope to see in your future for Future Makers?
We would like to continue to expand our programming so that we can offer even more creative workshops, collaborations with local artists, and scholarships for all children and families. Another hope is consult with other non-profits and organizations to collaborate with them to do the same. The big vision is a world where every child makes their brightest future.
Melissa Flaxman, M.Ed.
Future Makers Founder