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The 3-Minute Interview: James Piper Bond, head of Living Classrooms

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DC,Maryland,Education,People,Eric P. Newcomer,3-Minute Interview

Bond is the head of Living Classrooms, a nonprofit that helps educate children and adults in D.C. and Baltimore.

How did Living Classrooms get started?

This is our 28th year of operation providing hands-on education and job training programs with a special emphasis on disadvantaged youth. We began in Baltimore and have been in the national capital region now for 12 years.

Why the name Living Classrooms?

We believe that children and youth learn best by having hands on-experiences. Our motto is "learning through doing." Our programing and our curriculum brings learning alive by making sure it's relevant. For instance, we provide STEM programing (science, technology, engineering and math). Historic boats with classrooms of intercity children go out on the Anacostia River. The children help navigate and drive the vessel with the captain. They test the waters of the river and use a trawl net to catch fish and crabs.

What's another program you offer?

At Kingman Island we have our green team. These are young adults who are in our job training program. They're learning job skills by helping to clean up trails. We also have an e-STEM program, and that is a program that is working with young, African-American girls, and we connect them with mentors and these ladies will work with women that are in the scientific field.

What about people who don't necessarily thrive in an academic environment?

Fresh Start -- that is a job training program that we offer. It gives them skills so they can be successful. ... They will build Adirondack chairs and other products. The goal is not so much to be a carpenter but to teach them the soft skills that are important in the workplace.

How can people help out?

Financially, we're always looking for donations to support the effort. ... As far as volunteer efforts, we're always looking for additional help, as well. Go to www.livingclassrooms.org to get more information.

?- Eric P. Newcomer

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