Educating Hands School History with CE Institute LLC

This has been posted in June 2019:

My name is Selena Belisle - I am a retired professional athlete. I founded and own CE Institute LLC here at 111 NE 1st Street, Miami FL, 33132.  We are aware that the Educating Hands School of Massage of Miami FL moved into our building last year and then went out-of-business; however, we are not associated with their business and we hope this BLOG will help provide some transparency of this fact.

I am a born and raised Vermonter who moved to Boston MA to train with Team USA after I won my 1st WAF World Title in the Athens Olympic Stadium in 1989 in Athens Greece.  I taught bodywork, alternative health and spa modality classes in the Boston market for 15 years. I moved to Miami in 2011 where I currently offer massage, spa and bodywork CE classes.  You can learn more about my accolades and experience by clicking HERE. My only association with Educating Hands is I took 2 very short CE classes with them several years ago, paid for a class that was cancelled and took months to get a refund after lengthy and repeated requests (back in 2011), and I taught 1 FSMTA class presentation at their 17th Terrace Miami location to about 50 licensed massage therapists in 2015.  I have also spoken at length with the Educating Hands’ school owners about their CE program and my business.  Other than that, I have had no other business association with Educating Hands – and I definitely did not know that they would move into our building last year (October 2018) or go out-of-business this year (January 2019). 

CE Institute LLC has successfully offered massage and bodywork CE classes well prior to Educating Hands move to our building in October 2018.  As NCBTMB Approved Provider #68, in a one-year period between from Oct 2016 to Sept 2017 at our 111 NE 1st Street building (in the pic shown below), I posted 1,418 CE class completions with a 5-star rating for FL Licensed Massage Therapists to CE Broker alone (prior to Hurricane Irma whopping our building and pretty much the entire state of Florida in September 2017).  

 

After the hurricane hit and briefly disabled our building in September 2017, I showed Kate (one of the Educating Hands school owners), our successes and spoke with her at length about our CE programs.  6 months after we completed these lengthy communications, Educating Hands moved into our building without notice.  The way I learned Educating Hands moved into our building is by showing up to work on October 27, 2018 and finding this note taped to our building front door:

 

We immediately texted our landlord and asked about this sign and our non-compete agreement.  Our landlord texted that they thought a travel agency had moved into our building.  Here is a partial thread of our texts with our landlord on the day that this happened: 

We immediately called Educating Hands and told them that someone was using their school name with my building/location to possibly perpetuate fraud.  Educating Hands response was they had moved into our building that week.  When I asked Kate why she didn’t contact or notify us of their move into a building that I had occupied for years, Kate responded “we saw you in 908 on the building directory so we went up to 908 and knocked on your door, but you didn’t answer so we just figured you moved out of the building.”  I will never forget this mind-blowing conversation or response - she knew and repeated our exact office number in that phone call.

I have spoken to both Iris and Kate (owners of Educating Hands School of Massage) at length, so they both know who I am.  I spoke with Iris around 2016, specifically about her CE program and some of the disappointments I faced trying to take CE class with her school.  Our conversation included an experience I had in 2011 when I tried to obtain a refund for a class that their instructor suggested I cancel. Months after the class was cancelled and I had requested this refund, I had to drive to Educating Hands when they were on Biscayne Ave, and wait over one hour to get a refund processed which was months overdue.  So, I have personally seen/experienced financial hardship with this school from a very long time ago.  In more recent years, I sent Iris a condolence card a few weeks after her husband died.  I also spoke at length with Kate about CE Institute’s and Educating Hands’ CE Program in early 2018.  I showed Kate our successes in the Miami market, and wrote a proposal about CE Institute LLC & Educating Hands working together at Kate’s request.  Kate claims she never read my proposal that she asked me to provide her, and then 6-months later, Educating Hands moved into our building without notifying me.  We have had students tell us that the Educating Hands school owner(s) claim they do not know who I am or CE Institute; but we have many emails, texts and phone call records over the years that show our history.

Our building (111 NE 1st Street, Miami FL) is a commercial condominium.  Each floor is its own commercial condo.  CE Institute’s landlord owns the top 3 floors where we have a non-compete for our workspace.  Educating Hands moved into the 2nd floor which is owned by a different landlord who lives in another country.  We’re unsure of how much the 2nd floor out-of-country landlord knew about their new tenant – but I do know that it was falsely rumored in my building that a travel agency had moved into the 2nd floor – not another school that would provide massage classes (see the text with our landlord above which helps confirm this fact).

On January 22, 2019, we had a couple of Educating Hands’ school graduates show in one of our CE classes. They are the ones that told us that Educating Hands had closed – or – had gone “out-of-business”.  I told them I didn’t think that was true because we had seen advertising signs in our elevators just a few weeks earlier for Educating Hands’ student clinic.  So, to get to the bottom of what would be a vicious rumor if it were untrue, we went down to Educating Hands on the 2nd floor during our class break and found a rental notice that states Educating Hands owes more than $30,000 in rent, with a pile of opened and unopened mail sitting on the front desk and a closed business.  We have never seen anyone in their 2nd floor space since the January 2019 notice was taped to their front door – although we did hear that someone removed a substantial amount of property out of the 2nd floor after the school closure.

We emailed Educating Hands and their various associates at their various email addresses and contacts within the first few weeks of their closing – and received no response. I also left voicemails at the school and on Kate’s personal cell phone.  While we have not been able to speak with any of Educating Hands purported owners since their closure, we did speak to the Florida Board of Massage who states that Educating Hands' students did not receive their transcripts or refunds after it closed.  We have also spoken to several LMTs who had either deposited, credited or paid for CE classes and they were not reimbursed in the school closure. We do know that various Educating Hands representatives are speaking "off the record" to many MANY people, telling them not to repeat what they're saying (which rarely happens) - and to the contrary we now have an industry "rumor-mill" without verifiable or transparent facts being shared to support the rumors.

We have also heard stories from multiple reliable sources (in addition to my own personal experience) that Educating Hands had been financially problematic for YEARS, well prior to its “sale” to new owners or move to our building.  We were equally told that AFTER the “new owners” invested, things such as back-pay owed to the school's instructors was immediately paid-in-full and that back-pay issues no longer happened with the new owners, until they were "on their last leg" right before the school closed.  We are also aware that the rent plus government permitting and fees for our central downtown location can be tremendously expensive, so they undoubtedly faced tremendous operating and moving expenses, in addition to the school's past bills and their day-to-day school expenses, payroll, etc.  It is certain that some businesses cannot remain financially viable with the evolving times, so it’s been disheartening to hear stories about the school’s demise, especially about the new owners who infused or invested an unknown amount of money into the school to continue it's operation and perpetuate it’s future both at 17th Terrace and in our building - and kept the school operating for a considerable amount of time despite not having any dicernible industry experience.

We believe it is well known that Educating Hands occupied 3 different commercial buildings in its last 5 years of business with both the “old” owner and “new” – ending its long history as our neighbor in our building without any public or official explanation about the school’s closure or demise. We hope that sharing our information will help others publicly share theirs – and together we can piece together a better picture of what has happened for perpetuity and transparency, which will include the fact that Educating Hands and CE Institute LLC are not affiliated in any way.

Since Educating Hands closed in January 2019, we have been bombarded with assumptions and questions which have been difficult to process or respond.  We understand how confusing and illogical it must seem that Educating Hands was in our building and we offer similar CE classes – so how could we not be affiliated or know what’s going on?  The answer is – we just don’t.  Educating Hands does not answer their phones or emails.  We have different landlords because it is a commercial condominium building and many of the building occupants (including us) were under the impression that a travel agency was moving in - not a massage school!  From their brief opening to closing - we were not kept abreast for any of it.

We understand that Educating Hands was a beloved school by many, although we mostly/obviously saw the students who wanted what we have, which is how and why thousands of LMTs have become our customers over the past 8 years in Miami, FL. We provide TREMENDOUS bodyworker education and are beloved by many as well.  Regardless, we want it to be clear that CE Institute is not associated in any way with Educating Hands.  As such, we publicly state the following:

  • CE Institute/Selena Belisle is not associated or affiliated in any way with Educating Hands (even though we occupied the same building before Educating Hands closed in January 2019).
  • CE Institute/Selena Belisle was not consulted or notified when Educating Hands moved into our building in 2018.
  • CE Institute/Selena Belisle was not notified by any official from Educating Hands that they were closing or closed - ever.
  • CE Institute/Selena Belisle did not own, purchase or ever offer to purchase Educating Hands School of Massage.
  • CE Institute/Selena Belisle does not have Educating Hands school transcripts, money or any other Educating Hands’ business assets.
  • CE Institute/Selena Belisle has no way to contact Educating Hands for refunds or other Educating Hands' business matters – nor is it our business to do so.
  • CE Institute/Selena Belisle are thriving in the Miami market and have no plans to affiliate ourselves in anyway with the now defunct Educating Hands school.
  • CE Institute/Selena Belisle are heart-broken that we cannot provide better answers or information for those seeking it - we equally hope that posting this BLOG will inspire others to come forth with more PUBLIC information, particularly the school's owners (both old and new) ON THE RECORD without suggesting students come to their own conclusions, or feeding more whispers or rumors - so that EVERYONE can have a PROFESSIONAL closure process over this school's passing.

It has been a business nightmare for us to have Educating Hands move into our building last year and go out-of-business this year – less than 3 months after their move.  We understand that many therapists were attached to Educating Hands and want to know what happened.  The fact is, we do not have all of the answers although we have been repeatedly treated poorly and accused otherwise by dozens of therapists – hence this public posting.

We advise anyone seeking further information about Educating Hands - to contact Educating Hands and its representatives directly.  We understand it may not be possible to reach anyone at Educating Hands - hence this BLOG with all information being provided to the best of our ability or knowledge.  CE Institute cannot continually field phone calls, walk-ins and questions about Educating Hands - this is our last and final comment about their business.  We also will not comment about or discuss this BLOG.  Our time over their matter must come to an end.  Please do not contact us for anything further about Educating Hands School of Massage.

CE Institute LLC is a 5-star, top-rated, LEADING alternative bodywork and massage therapy CE provider - and has been so for years well before Educating Hands' brief move to our building. We offer incredible CE classes almost every weekend of the year, and many weekdays too.  We’ve trained therapists and athletic staff from almost every major sports team in America.  We have international students who travel to us for training from some of the top spas and bodywork establishments in the world.  Next year in 2020, we will lead scientific research trials for the bodywork, massage and energy medicine industries.  We have fresh, scientific, evidence-based classes with superior instructors, who provide visual presentations, quality student handouts and written treatment protocols with incredible bodywork demonstrations and hands-on practice labs.  We often provide snacks, treats and other miscellaneous offerings to help support professionals during our classes with amazing student break areas.  We provide all necessary equipment to perform your bodywork training, including tables, lotions, oils, etc. – however, we do not have laundry facilities, so we simply ask all students to bring their own linens.  We also have online computer training available for theory and scientific data, and we teach for multiple state and national boards beyond Florida.  We post class pictures and student feedback throughout our website to show additional transparency of our training, facilities and experiences.

CE Institute LLC has 2 company “mottos”:  Quality Affordable Education and Come Join the FUN!  We offer creative, interesting, affordable, up-to-date learning experiences which have propelled us to become one of the top-rated bodyworker education facilities in the world.  We love what we do.  It shows in every class.  We hope this information will help demonstrate that we are a transparent, stable, organized, detailed and conscientious company with a superior reputation for it all.  Come Join the FUN!  We are thriving and open for business – we want YOUR business and we hope to see you soon!