Challenge Island

30 09, 2020

Expanding Their Reach Through Books

2020-09-30T17:38:41-04:00September 30th, 2020|Tags: , |

Sharon Duke Estroff embodies the entrepreneurial spirit. First, the former teacher leveraged her background in education to build Challenge Island, a popular children’s program. She then cultivated her business into a thriving multi-state franchise. Now, Estroff is poised to make Challenge Island a household name; the published author has announced signing a three-book contract to create the Challenge Island book series. By Rochelle Miller

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15 09, 2020

Teacher-preneur to CEO

2020-09-15T10:50:25-04:00September 15th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , |

Sharon Estroff, CEO of the World’s #1 Educational Enrichment Franchise in the World, Empowers Women Across the Country.

ATLANTASharon Duke Estroff is truly making a difference in her community and beyond. Estroff is a teacher who has created a company that empowers other women, showing them that they too can be business owners. Estroff was a teacher who 18 years ago started Challenge Island® in her second-grade classroom and began running it as an enrichment business. It has been growing by leaps and bounds ever since.

Captured here in Star Central Magazine, and here on NPR, as well as in various local and national publications featured here, Estroff is the founder and CEO of Challenge Island, the world’s #1 STEAM educational enrichment franchise according to Entrepreneur Magazine.

STEAM is STEM+Art because, as Steve Jobs famously said, technology alone is not enough.

Estroff’s company now has 105 locations across the USA and internationally and has been featured on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 for 3 years straight – having just been added to Entrepreneur’s Top Global Franchises list this year.  Challenge Island has touched the lives of over 1 million children in over 6,000 schools and community locations.

But what makes this program so special is this moment in time.

Teachers by nature aren’t usually entrepreneurial. But this teacher seized an opportunity, broke out, and created this company for other teachers.

“Now there is a way for teachers to own their own business while still staying in the field of education where they can continue to enjoy everything they love about teaching,” explains Estroff.

When COVID-19 hit, the educational enrichment market – an $8 billion industry that operates hand in hand with the schools – was on the front lines of impact. Estroff saw her franchisees (many of whom are former teachers) begin to panic. Estroff stayed strong and pivoted immediately to launch “Home Island,” Challenge Island’s virtual alter-ego.

“As we enter the Fall, we continue to be met with unprecedented challenges at every turn. But in every challenge, there exists an immense opportunity. You just have to be open-minded enough to see it and to seize it,” says Estroff.

In many markets across the country as we head back to school, there are a lot of teachers that are feeling helpless. Many feel like they can’t win; they’re stuck, not sure what else they can do now. They feel incredibly unempowered and that they are not in control of their life.

Challenge Island ownership can be an opportunity for teachers to build a business that will thrive past this pandemic. This program was created by teachers for teachers, offers one of a kind learning experiences to children, and arms franchise owners with the tools to succeed professionally.

18 years ago, Estroff was a teacher who was also tutoring just to make ends meet. She took her future into her own hands and created the #1 educational enrichment franchise in the world. This female CEO can help teachers who are struggling find a new path and create a rewarding new opportunity.

About Challenge Island®

Challenge Island® is a home-based/mobile children’s educational enrichment franchise.  Franchisees run STEM / STEAM afterschool enrichment classes, in-school field trips, camps, Girl Scout and Boy Scout badge workshops, as well as Challenge Island Junior™ and Challenge Island Senior™ programming in preschools and senior living communities.

Learn More About Challenge Island programming near you at www.challenge-island.com and 228906@email4pr.com.

Learn More About Challenge Island franchising opportunities at https://franchise.challenge-island.com/ and 228906@email4pr.com  (985) 209-8430

1 09, 2020

Bridging Educational Gaps During the Time of Corona

2020-09-01T17:25:13-04:00September 1st, 2020|Tags: , , |

With the pandemic still raging, the excitement of starting a new school year has been replaced with anxiety and uncertainty for students, parents and educators. Some schools have remained closed with students participating in remote learning while some others are attempting a hybrid approach with a combination of remote learning and in-person classes. By Rochelle Miller

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1 05, 2020

Q&A: Interview with Sharon Duke Estroff

2020-05-01T14:47:36-04:00May 1st, 2020|Tags: , , , |

Sharon Duke Estroff used her education roots to develop a successful franchise, Challenge Island. The former teacher gave us some insight into her journey from the classroom to entrepreneurial success – and how she is sharing that dream with franchise owners. By Rochelle Miller

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31 03, 2020

A Business Lesson: Overcoming the Coronavirus Crisis

2020-03-31T14:47:57-04:00March 31st, 2020|Tags: , , , |

While the spread of the Coronavirus necessitated the cancellation of classes across the country, in the spirit of a flexible palm tree, Estroff, the founder of Challenge Island, quickly developed a solution to bring her innovative programs to students. By Rochelle Miller

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30 11, 2019

Challenge Island: Fundamental Learning is Child’s Play

2019-12-03T11:53:28-05:00November 30th, 2019|Tags: , , , , |

Challenge Island

To succeed in the constantly evolving 21st century world, students need science, technology, engineering and math knowledge. Mastery of these subjects provides the building blocks for a strong educational foundation. Challenge Island® takes learning a step further. By Elice Morgenson

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11 11, 2019

World’s #1 STEM Enrichment Franchise Challenge Island® Holds Nationwide Events in Recognition of National STEM/STEAM Day

2019-11-11T11:46:08-05:00November 11th, 2019|Tags: , , , , , |

ATLANTA — Challenge Island® is the world’s #1 ranked STEM/STEAM enrichment franchise. With over 100 locations nationwide, Challenge Island has served over 1 million children in 4000 schools, community centers and other family focused locations.  In celebration of National STEM/STEAM Day on November 8, Challenge Island® franchisees ran action-packed STEM/STEAM adventures from coast to coast.  The events were designed to help spark local children’s interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

Shachi Mody, owner of Challenge Island NW Houston – Katy, TX, partnered with Chick-Fil-A Cinco Ranch to provide hands-on STEM/STEAM Day activities to families in the restaurant.  Jill Garcia, owner of Challenge Island South Charlotte, NC, celebrated by building roller coasters with the students of Thales Academy.  Debbie Torniven, owner of Challenge Island Reno, NV, was visited by a local news crew as she led a STEAMtastic slime volcano building activity at Sarah Winnemuca Elementary.

In Oahu, Hawaii, Challenge Island Owner Erica Lenentine, held a celebratory STEM/STEAM Family Night at Aikahi Elementary School. Stephanie Edwards of Challenge Island Middle Tennessee set up a sensational STEAM stop at Newk’s Eatery, while Candida Ramdass of Challenge Island Santa Cruz-San Jose, CA took students at Spring Hill School on a World Tour themed engineering adventure. Meanwhile, Ritika Senghal of Challenge Island San Diego Coastal took the children of Kinderhouse Montessori School on an imaginary trek through the Amazon Rainforest.

Robin Bergeron and Leslie Thibodaux, of Challenge Island Houma, LA celebrated by building suspension bridges with the students of the Church Academy of St. Amant, while Tia Sukenik, of Challenge Island North Dallas-West Plano, TX held STEAM festivities with the children of Temple Emanuel Preschool.  At Wisconsin’s Brookfield Elementary, students designed African safari rides with Andrea Davis, owner of Challenge Island Waukesha-Milwaukee.

In Rockland County, NY, Julie Termini of Challenge Island Rockland/ NE Bergen held a special STEM/STEAM Day Mechanical Engineering Badge Workshop for the Daisy Scouts of Troop 40129.  “On November 8th we proudly celebrated National STEM/STEAM Day,” says Termini, “but at Challenge Island we give children the opportunity to develop their science, technology, engineering, art, and math skills all year round – incorporating communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, while we’re at it!”

Says Oahu owner, Erica Lenentine: “At Challenge Island, EVERY DAY is National STEM/STEAM Day!”  And indeed it is.

About Challenge Island®

Challenge Island® is a home-based/mobile children’s educational enrichment franchise.  Franchisees run STEM / STEAM afterschool enrichment classes, in-school field trips, camps, Girl Scout and Boy Scout badge workshops, as well as Challenge Island Junior™ and Challenge Island Senior™ programming in preschools and senior living communities.

Learn More About Challenge Island programming near you at www.challenge-island.com and 228906@email4pr.com.

Learn More About Challenge Island franchising opportunities at https://franchise.challenge-island.com/ and 228906@email4pr.com  (985) 209-8430

30 06, 2019

July 2019: Franchisee of the Month

2019-07-02T12:23:12-04:00June 30th, 2019|Tags: , , , , , , |

Franchisee of The Month

by Jill Abrahamsen

Toni Wren, Challenge Island
Central Long Island, New York

As a child, Toni Wren didn’t know what she wanted to do when she grew up. “I never had a real passion for anything. I just wasn’t one of those kids,” she says. She stumbled onto her first career, in finance, by accident and later discovered her ultimate passion, working with children.

Wren chose political science as a college major even though she wasn’t sure where it might lead. But her side job as a bank teller was what shaped her path. “By the time I graduated, I was a branch manager,” she says. This experience eventually led to a lucrative career in finance at top corporations, including a project manager role at Goldman Sachs.

The recession of 2008 came at a great time for Wren. Her company downsized and offered severance packages, and she jumped at one. “It was a no-brainer. Commuting every day was taking a toll. I needed a more flexible schedule to raise my family,” she says.

KID STUFF
After looking at different kinds of businesses, Wren decided that she wanted to work with children. “At one of my son’s baseball games, a parent asked me if I was available to run her kid’s party. It seemed like an odd request at first, but then she explained. She always saw me playing with kids at events. I was good at it. That’s when I realized my passion,” she says.

Raising her children on Long Island, New York, Wren knew that any type of kids-based business would do well in her area. “The parents here like to keep their children engaged in enriching activities.”

LOOK NO FURTHER
Wren investigated many children’s franchise brands, but when she came across Challenge Island®, she knew it was the right fit. “It was exactly what I wanted to do. I could own and grow a business, be hands-on, creative, and make a difference.” Wren was attracted to the flexible, home-based model and the fact that she could put her personal touch on the business. “You don’t get that with most franchises,” she says.

After her initial call with founder Sharon Estroff, Wren didn’t look further. “I could hear the passion in Estroff’s voice. She had me at hello,” Wren jokes. She opened for business in 2017.

The after-school enrichment program, which teaches science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM), is designed to help kids develop skills such as collaboration, compromise, resilience, and critical thinking. The hundreds of themed lessons target specific age groups. “Kids have so much fun with us, they don’t even realize they are learning,” Wren says.

Wren has customized the business to suit her lifestyle. “At first, I wanted to do everything myself: teach the classes, shop for supplies, and so on. But as we grew, I added staff.” She also added offerings for more revenue streams including camps, field trips, and adult classes. Because of the low overhead, it’s easy for Wren to use the business to raise money for charities. “The possibilities are endless with Challenge Island. I can make a living, do what I love, and make a difference, all on my own terms.”

For more information, visit www.challenge-island.com.

Share this story

Franchisee of The Month

by Jill Abrahamsen

Toni Wren, Challenge Island
Central Long Island, New York

As a child, Toni Wren didn’t know what she wanted to do when she grew up. “I never had a real passion for anything. I just wasn’t one of those kids,” she says. She stumbled onto her first career, in finance, by accident and later discovered her ultimate passion, working with children.

Wren chose political science as a college major even though she wasn’t sure where it might lead. But her side job as a bank teller was what shaped her path. “By the time I graduated, I was a branch manager,” she says. This experience eventually led to a lucrative career in finance at top corporations, including a project manager role at Goldman Sachs.

The recession of 2008 came at a great time for Wren. Her company downsized and offered severance packages, and she jumped at one. “It was a no-brainer. Commuting every day was taking a toll. I needed a more flexible schedule to raise my family,” she says.

KID STUFF
After looking at different kinds of businesses, Wren decided that she wanted to work with children. “At one of my son’s baseball games, a parent asked me if I was available to run her kid’s party. It seemed like an odd request at first, but then she explained. She always saw me playing with kids at events. I was good at it. That’s when I realized my passion,” she says.

Raising her children on Long Island, New York, Wren knew that any type of kids-based business would do well in her area. “The parents here like to keep their children engaged in enriching activities.”

LOOK NO FURTHER
Wren investigated many children’s franchise brands, but when she came across Challenge Island®, she knew it was the right fit. “It was exactly what I wanted to do. I could own and grow a business, be hands-on, creative, and make a difference.” Wren was attracted to the flexible, home-based model and the fact that she could put her personal touch on the business. “You don’t get that with most franchises,” she says.

After her initial call with founder Sharon Estroff, Wren didn’t look further. “I could hear the passion in Estroff’s voice. She had me at hello,” Wren jokes. She opened for business in 2017.

The after-school enrichment program, which teaches science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM), is designed to help kids develop skills such as collaboration, compromise, resilience, and critical thinking. The hundreds of themed lessons target specific age groups. “Kids have so much fun with us, they don’t even realize they are learning,” Wren says.

Wren has customized the business to suit her lifestyle. “At first, I wanted to do everything myself: teach the classes, shop for supplies, and so on. But as we grew, I added staff.” She also added offerings for more revenue streams including camps, field trips, and adult classes. Because of the low overhead, it’s easy for Wren to use the business to raise money for charities. “The possibilities are endless with Challenge Island. I can make a living, do what I love, and make a difference, all on my own terms.”

For more information, visit www.challenge-island.com.

Share this story

31 03, 2019

April 2019: Featured Entrepreneur

2019-04-01T13:50:03-04:00March 31st, 2019|Tags: , , , , , , , |

An innovator who runs her business with passion

by Jill Abrahamsen

Sharon Estroff lives her brand. As the mastermind of Challenge Island®, she describes her unique franchise with the same playful enthusiasm that sparked her to start the innovative business in 2002. Estroff never intended to launch a leading franchise system with more than 90 locations worldwide. The growth and success of Challenge Island is a byproduct of her desire to make a difference—and she has.

A former teacher, Estroff created Challenge Island as an after-school program to get kids excited about learning. Inspired by her favorite reality TV show, she designed a curriculum that was fun and engaging, but at the same time helps kids develop important life skills such as collaboration, compromise, resilience, and critical thinking. “We turn the classroom into an island, divide students into tribes, and create challenges. Kids don’t realize they are learning. They are having too much fun,” she says.

Estroff and her team create and constantly add to the curriculum, which incorporates science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). “We have a blast coming up with new challenges,” Estroff says. Cross-curricular Island themes include Cool Carreers which is made up of whimsical engineering destinations like City Planner Speedway, Marine Biologist Bay, and Pet Emergency Room. The summer camp curriculum includes kid-approved themes such as Slime Squad Camp and Island Tube Camp.

Franchisees can customize their offerings by using the hundreds of themed lessons to run after-school enrichment classes, camps, birthday parties, scouting events, and even senior programs. “Our franchisees have a lot of creative freedom, which is something you don’t get in most franchise systems,” Estroff says.

While the brand attracts former teachers and corporate moms, you don’t necessarily need to be a parent or have a teaching degree to run this business. “Our owners come from a variety of backgrounds: former investment bankers, lawyers, marketing executives and everything in between. They all share a passion for working with children and a desire to make a difference as well as an income,” says Estroff. For more information, contact (985) 209-8430 or franchising@challenge-island.com.

Share this story

An innovator who runs her business with passion

by Jill Abrahamsen

Sharon Estroff lives her brand. As the mastermind of Challenge Island®, she describes her unique franchise with the same playful enthusiasm that sparked her to start the innovative business in 2002. Estroff never intended to launch a leading franchise system with more than 90 locations worldwide. The growth and success of Challenge Island is a byproduct of her desire to make a difference—and she has.

A former teacher, Estroff created Challenge Island as an after-school program to get kids excited about learning. Inspired by her favorite reality TV show, she designed a curriculum that was fun and engaging, but at the same time helps kids develop important life skills such as collaboration, compromise, resilience, and critical thinking. “We turn the classroom into an island, divide students into tribes, and create challenges. Kids don’t realize they are learning. They are having too much fun,” she says.

Estroff and her team create and constantly add to the curriculum, which incorporates science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). “We have a blast coming up with new challenges,” Estroff says. Cross-curricular Island themes include Cool Carreers which is made up of whimsical engineering destinations like City Planner Speedway, Marine Biologist Bay, and Pet Emergency Room. The summer camp curriculum includes kid-approved themes such as Slime Squad Camp and Island Tube Camp.

Franchisees can customize their offerings by using the hundreds of themed lessons to run after-school enrichment classes, camps, birthday parties, scouting events, and even senior programs. “Our franchisees have a lot of creative freedom, which is something you don’t get in most franchise systems,” Estroff says.

While the brand attracts former teachers and corporate moms, you don’t necessarily need to be a parent or have a teaching degree to run this business. “Our owners come from a variety of backgrounds: former investment bankers, lawyers, marketing executives and everything in between. They all share a passion for working with children and a desire to make a difference as well as an income,” says Estroff. For more information, contact (985) 209-8430 or franchising@challenge-island.com.

Share this story