Partner Spotlight: Living Classrooms
Chas Ackley, Chief Program Officer for the Target Investment Zone
Established in 1985, Living Classrooms Foundation strengthens communities and inspires people to achieve their potential through hands-on education and job training, using urban, natural, and maritime resources as “living classrooms.” The Foundation’s education, workforce development, and health and wellness programs serve children, youth, adults, and families in the Baltimore and Washington, DC areas.
The Hunger Challenge grant is supporting the Power Up Before School Nutrition Program at our POWER House community center in Baltimore. Power Up is providing students the opportunity to have a healthy and nutritious meal before starting their day at City Springs Elementary School. Our staff also uses this opportunity to engage with parents/guardians and foster meaningful relationships that support students’ school attendance and their participation in the POWER House’s enriching out-of-school time programming.
The building that is now Living Classrooms’ POWER House has a unique history. It first opened on July 8, 1910 as a firehouse, operating as Engine Company 34. It housed the horse-drawn LaFrance Steam Engine, one of the oldest fire engines in the United States. The horse stables can still be seen in the lower level of the beautifully renovated POWER House.
Today, the POWER House community center is located directly in Baltimore’s largest public housing community, Perkins Homes. POWER is an acronym for Providing Opportunities to Work, Expand, and Rise. Year-round out-of-school time programming provides services in five core areas: Education and Career Development, Character and Civic Development, Health and Life Skills, The Arts and Cultural Enrichment, and Health and Wellness.
Students attend our out-of-school-time programs and participate in various clubs at the POWER House. The POWER Up Program enables them to have a healthy meal, walk to school with an adult, and start their day at City Springs Elementary School ready to learn.