Established in 1985, Living Classrooms Foundation strengthens communities and inspires people to achieve their highest potential through hands-on learning opportunities in the fields of education, workforce development, health and wellness, and violence prevention. Our programs leverage our surrounding environmental assets and maritime resources to serve as “living classrooms.” 

For over three decades, we have helped communities in Baltimore and Washington, DC become safer, stronger, and healthier through diverse programs designed to disrupt the generational poverty that can be directly traced to historic racial, social, and economic disparities. We have provided opportunities for thousands of children, youth, and adults to identify specific needs, communicate their aspirations, and achieve their goals. 

From serving a few hundred people in our initial year, Living Classrooms has grown to serve over 30,000 children, youth, and adults in our best-in-class programs. 


We are dedicated to providing children, youth, families, and communities with holistic and transformative opportunities that empower them to become agents of change. 


Living Classrooms has developed a distinctive competency in experiential learning – literally learning by direct experience – or what we call “learning by doing.” We utilize our environmental campuses, athletic fields, community centers, and historic ships as “living classrooms.”

We work with one child, one teen, one adult, and one family at a time to identify existing barriers towards success and provide resources and opportunities to help each person reach their full potential, thus creating stronger family units and more resilient communities.

While each of our program areas is distinct, in combination they create a powerful synergy. Our maritime heritage sites create opportunities for employment training. Our education programs use our environmental and maritime resources as living learning laboratories. Our employability programs create stronger communities that are better prepared to exercise environmental stewardship.

We apply our “learning by doing” approach in three focus areas:


Our Commitment

We are dedicated to improving the lives and futures of children, youth, and families as we serve communities with holistic and transformative opportunities.

Our Vision

We strive to build strong, equitable, and sustainable communities through effective education, workforce, and health and wellness opportunities that address deeply-ingrained challenges, and we set high expectations for academic achievement, living-wage job placement, improved community health and safety, and increased constituent engagement.

Our Core Values

  • Excellence

We believe that every child, youth, and adult who steps through our doors has the ability to learn and the potential to be great. We recognize that the strength of the community lies in the resilience of each resident, and we nurture the abilities of all participants to achieve a positive collective impact.

  • Collaboration

We believe that communities must be heard and actively involved from the very beginning. We listen, and we respond with empathy. We keep families, stakeholders, and constituents involved in our planning and programming, and we engage communities with high-quality services and opportunities.

  • Integrity

We believe that respectful and honest service, uncompromising standards, a culture of dignity and respect, and transparency in reporting are the foundation upon which we hold ourselves accountable to our supporters, our constituents, and the community.

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness

We realize that educational equity and excellence take a diverse coalition of people united around a common purpose and shared values. As a result, we believe our efforts to help dismantle barriers to success in historically marginalized communities must be shaped by those who are directly impacted by the educational, social, and economic inequities. In order to create progress, we believe that each of us needs to work, respect, and communicate effectively with our various stakeholders (e.g., students, parents, partners) with diverse backgrounds (e.g., cultural, educational, political).

Our Core Beliefs

  • Diversity is vital for successful change efforts and is one of Living Classrooms’ greatest strengths.
  • The full potential of our diverse team will be reached only when we are an inclusive community.
  • The progress made by the children, youth, and adults we serve in our organization should not correlate with any social, cultural, or other identity-based factors.

We see every challenge as an opportunity to learn, grow, and think expansively about solutions. When faced with obstacles, we deepen our resolve, adapt, and persist with optimism.