When Wendy Spencer graduated from BYU in 1997, she expected to do what many graduates do: start her career, and enjoy life with her family. However, God had a different plan for her life, one that she had been prepared for since her own early education.
“I knew from a very early age that I wanted to teach children more than anything,” Spencer shared. “The McKay School gave me all the tools I needed to teach.”
After graduation, Spencer and her husband welcomed a baby boy into their family, and later added three daughters to the mix. As Spencer’s family began to grow, she and her husband both felt they needed to homeschool their children, something she had previously vowed she would never do.
When the couple made the decision to homeschool their four children, they were unsure how to begin. They relied on their faith, believing that Heavenly Father would guide them in their children’s education.
“Over and over again, through research and prayer, I have been able to find the resources that my children need for the next step in their academic, social, and personal progression,” Spencer said.
“My training in education has been a part of my life every single day!” she exclaimed. But that was only the beginning. During the summer of 2012, Spencer had an idea that would change her life.
“I had a very distinct and strong prompting that I needed to open an education enrichment center in my community, with a strong focus in classes for homeschoolers, as well as wholesome performing arts classes,” Spencer said.
So, the Building Young Leaders program was born. The program, located in Spencer’s hometown of Merced, California, strives to, “provide classes for local homeschooled children in the areas of the arts—ballet, world dance, ballroom, hip hop, and show choir.”
Although the program offers other academic classes, their arts program is the main attraction because it provides experience and skill in a wholesome environment on an individual level.
Children have the opportunity to participate in dance classes, including ballet, world dance, hip hop and ballroom. Spencer is teaching based on her own experiences from her time as a member of the BYU Folk Dance Ensemble touring team.
“My experience on the folk dance team gave me the cultural and performing arts [training] that I rely on each day to teach my students,” she said.
With the Building Young Leaders program, Spencer has been able to work with many children, including her own. She has dedicated nearly 20 years of her life to the pursuit of teaching. During this time, she has touched the lives of over 1,000 children.
“I have used my education training in every area of my life, from my own work as a mother, to my ability to influence other children in my community,” Spencer shared.
Through these experiences Spencer has been able to see how God’s plan, although different than her original one, has been much more fulfilling as she strives to improve the lives of young learners in her own home and community.
Writer: Madison Houghton
Contact: Shauna Valentine (801) 422-8562