Taking kids ‘Beyond the Classroom’
Washington Wizards player John Wall signs autographs for Lisa Ambers, founder and president of Beyond The Classroom, and local children during a meet and greet with the team at Six Flags in 2016. See inside for more about Ambers and her vision for the program and local youth
A local organization is getting the youth involved in ways that are out of the norm — and not accomplished behind a desk. Beyond The Classroom Inc. has become a dream come true for young people who rarely get to experience exciting activities in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
“I’ve always had a love for the youth,” said Lisa Ambers, founder and president of Beyond The Classroom. “In the past, I’ve served on the PTSO/ PTA Boards at my son’s schools, served as a mentor and the leader of the Teen Girls Ministry at my church Tabernacle of Praise. Due to the success of the programs at my church and with lots of encouragement from my pastor, Antonio Matthews, I decided to start this nonprofit to reach more youth.”
“As a pastor I guide those who are connected to my ministry into their purpose and life assignment, and that’s what I did with Lisa,” said the Rev. Antonio Matthews. “I heard her speak her heart on many occasions, and I began to reiterate to her what I heard her saying. Her vision and purpose was always there; I believe I was one of the voices that helped Lisa push out what was already in her.”
Beyond The Classroom Inc. launched in December 2016. The mission of BTC, a nonprofit organization, is to expose children and young adults to people, places and things they would not normally or easily be able to access in their daily lives. By providing unique, educational and fun experiences, they empower youth to see the world outside of their classrooms and neighborhoods, grow hope in their future, pursue active roles in society and achieve goals.
Beyond The Classroom programs are for youth ages 6 years old and up, with at least 50 or more participants attending each event. Ambers said funding for the organization is provided through partnerships with other organizations, as well as donations and contributions from supporters of the local youth.
Activities provided by Beyond the Classroom include learning workshops, educational trips, social awareness classes and community service activities. It will soon launch a mentoring club named “Butterflies” for girls ages 6-12. Children and young adults are involved from across Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Recent experiences for local youth included vision board workshops, a mission trip overview, a spring break party at Sky Zone trampoline park and a financial literacy workshop. Participants have also been on trips to see Disney on Ice, the Harlem Globetrotters and the Capital Classic basketball games.
“At the vision board workshops, the youth created their own vision boards reflecting goals and things they want to have manifested in their lives. Financial literacy workshops teach youth how to be financially responsible — budgeting, savings and establishing credit. At the meet-andgreet with the Washington Wizards, the children had an opportunity to get autographs from several Wizards players including John Wall and Bradley Beal,” Ambers said.
Sarita Lynn, CEO of Skie Publishing, is a mom whose children have attended many Beyond The Classroom events.
“I have known Lisa for five years and she truly has a heart and passion for children,” Lynn said. “My daughters Ebony and Imani have participated in countless programs and activities that Beyond the Classroom has organized, and it has enriched their lives tremendously. I have seen where Lisa has gone out her way to pick up children, spent money out of her own pocket to ensure no child was left out.
“Charles County is fortunate to have Lisa and Beyond the Classroom in our neighborhoods to teach our children financial literacy principles, life lessons strategies, confidence and awareness around bullying,” Lynn continued. “If we had more people like Lisa who loved our kids and took the time to mentor them, this world would be a better place to live.”
Pastor Matthews said the Beyond The Classroom is vital to the community because programs like these are important to the elasticity of a developing child’s mind. “As a child, after school we were exposed to things that school only touched on, but not in depth. This will help open them up to other cultures, ethnicities and many more nuances our world has to offer, not just in the classroom setting,” Matthews said.
Ambers said she will continue to develop Beyond The Classroom by offering after school activities, summer camps and more unique experiences. Upcoming Beyond The Classroom events include a visit to the James E. Richmond Science Center, trips to see the Washington Nationals and the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, as well as an anti-bullying workshop.
“Beyond The Classroom delivers experiences that transform lives ... it’s all about positive exposure,” Ambers said.
For more information, go to www.beyondtheclassroominc.org.
Lisa Ambers, founder and president of Beyond The Classroom, with parents and local children during the Vision Board Workshop at Waldorf West Library.