The Livian Center "FoReal" Learning
"where believing is seeing"
Arlivia Elaine Smith-Hamlin
The Livian Center's educational approach is one of the most innovative of its kind. Named for Arlivia Elaine Smith-Hamlin, Georgia native, Fort Valley State University alumna, and educator for the Baltimore, Maryland Public School System, we begin from the premise that all students have the capacity to master any subject area of interest if they CHOOSE to.
We then "teach one to teach one." While individuals may learn in different ways, we remind each student of his or her unique talents and gifts. Focusing on the academic needs of minority high school and senior adults, our goal is to produce informed and responsible citizens of the world committed to a life of learning.
Instructional sessions take place in educational facilities throughout the Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Georgia metropolitan areas for a minimum of 2 hours in groups of 4-10 clients. The Livian Center provides instruction in American, African American, and Cultural History, while our Reading, Writing, Adult Literacy, and Wellness courses provide a holistic foundation for preparing students for high school, undergraduate, and graduate school success. In addition, we embrace and encourage
individuals with learning challenges as well as those differently able.
In celebration of a life devoted to teaching and service, we have established a reputation for professional excellence and accountability. All sessions are facilitated by credentialed and/or advanced degreed professionals who have (1) successfully undergone background and security clearance, and (2) are in agreement with excellence in all things "Livian." What is more, our services are offered free of charge.
Be assured that your mind and spirit will be nurtured at the Livian Center-"FoReal!"
About our Namesake
Arlivia Elaine-Smith Hamlin was born in Emmanuel County, Stilmore Georgia on March 25, 1931 to Reverend Morris C. Smith and Sally Brown Smith. She was the youngest of ten children. Her mother, Sally, died when she was only six and, as a result, was raised by her father and older siblings. Reverend Smith, the grandson of a white slave-owner, was a large property owner with holdings that included a general store with a gas station, and several houses surrounding his residence. Nurtured by a prosperous family, Arlivia graduated from High School in 1947, and in 1950 was admitted to Fort Valley State College (now University) where, in addition to pursuing her major in Elementary Education, worked in the home of Dr. Blanchette, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.
In 1951 Arlivia met Lewis Hamlin, Jr., and they later married. By the time of their graduation in 1956, Lewis and Arlivia had two children and another on the way. They traveled from county to county in search of teaching positions; Blackshear and Waycross, Georgia (1956-59); Orlando and Winter Park, Florida (1960-61); Savannah, Georgia (1961), and in between stops welcomed their fourth child.
Husband, Lewis, in 1961, accepted an invitation from James Brown to direct his band. After his departure, Arlivia raised their four children through part-time teaching and by selling Avon door-to-door oftentimes strolling with her children down Savannah's dark, dirt roads. She also supplemented what was lacking by planting and maintaining a substantial garden, and could often be seen bending over in her black garden pants planting and harvesting her crop which included corn, collards, green beans, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.
In 1964, Lewis ended his tour with Brown relocating the family to Baltimore, Md., purchasing a modest house in Northwest Baltimore. Lewis taught music at Crownsville State Hospital while Arlivia pursued and received her MA degree in Special Education from Baltimore's Loyola University.
Mrs. Hamlin worked tirelessly to change the stigma attached to students enrolled in "Special Education" classes. In 1977, the family moved to Baltimore, County where Hamlin continued to not only teach but reassess students' placement in Special Education in Baltimore City Public Schools. Retiring in 1995, Arlivia Hamlin's forty-year tenure as an advocate and educator was devoted to identifying and addressing the needs of "intellectually challenged," and "differently abled" students.
In addition to her love for teaching, Arlivia or "Sister Hamlin," as she was affectionately called by members of the Pitcher Street/Central Church of Christ in Baltimore, was a faithful member for
nearly forty years having served as Librarian, Superintendent of the Sunday School and Education, Choir member, and Chief Caterer/Director of the Food Committee. According to Humphrey Foutz, former minister (deceased), she had the "golden spoon," so much so that she established her own catering business, "Elaine's Catering." In honor of Sister Hamlin's entrepreneurial spirit and extraordinary "cooking skills," the Livian Center also provides instruction in nutrition and recipe creation/collection.
On February 2, 2002, Arlivia Elaine Smith-Hamlin, our "Westchester Lady," died of a pulmonary embolism caused by complications associated with multiple myeloma. She is buried alongside her husband of over thirty-eight years, Lewis Hamlin Jr., in Woodlawn Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland: facing the natural landscape's setting sun. We are eternally grateful and forever reminded of her love, devotion, and service to humankind.
Courses/Classes Taught , 2016-present
"U.S. History : American Paradox" (Tuesdays, 2015-present) (distance and class instruction)
Washington Memorial Library, Macon, Georgia (2016)
Music & History: "James Brown: The Macon Factor"; 4 weeks; Thursdays, January 21-February 4; Genealogical Room, 6 p.m.
Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA), Adult Ed., 2 p.m., (2014-2015)
Art & History: "California Landscape Paintings of the 19th Century"; (8 weeks, Thurs., Sept. - Oct.)
Music & History: "James Brown and the Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1970"; (4 weeks, Thurs., February)
Nature & History: "A Date with an Orchid: The Blue Mystique Phalaenopsis "; (4 weeks, Thurs., June)
Literature & History: "Race and History: Reading John Hope Franklin"; (4 weeks, Thurs., Jan., 2015)
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