The Washington, DC chapter of A Home Within provides weekly therapy sessions for youth in foster care, many of whom have suffered from unstable living environments and occasionally from abuse. Nationwide, 52 chapters of A Home Within partner with more than 750 private-practice therapists to meet the emotional needs of current and former youths in foster care. Participants have an opportunity to work through mental-health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and dissociative disorders. These sessions can help mitigate the stress of chronic loss and childhood trauma so that youths can rebuild their lives socially and emotionally and move toward mental well-being. The resulting relationship with a caring adult and steady role model can also empower young people to break the cycle of loss and become contributing members of their community.
The graceful ease with which a good bartender mixes drinks masks the difficulty of the job, one that requires knowledge and dexterity—not to mention charisma. The seasoned barkeeps at Bartender of America, a TIPS-certified school, know what it takes to be a good bartender and lead their students through deliberate exercises inside a fully simulated tavern environment. Amid ambient sounds and music, novice bartenders dole out maraschino cherries and shake martinis while refining their conversational skills and learning how to identify underage kids by their mustaches. Fully committed students can opt for the entire Bar 101 curriculum, attaining a bartending license and valuable tricks for managing their resume and acing job interviews, while abbreviated classes offer insight into the fundamentals of the trade.
A menu of time-tested Moroccan cuisine fills Marrakech Lounge's casual two-story dining room and lounge with enticing aromas and cheery chatter. A medley of traditional, oven-baked tagines range from the sweet-and-savory Chicken Marrakech, loaded with sweet dried apricots, to tender braised lamb simmering in a pot of artichokes, fava beans, and vegetables. A selection of couscous dishes includes a vegetarian option that mingles fistfuls of warming spices that conceal heaps of produce like a farmer's offshore bank account. The Couscous Royal struts to tables accompanied by a procession of lamb, chicken, and lamb sausage, and patrons sidle up to the bar beneath a bright, curry-colored wall to sip on glasses of domestic brew, pinot grigio, or house cabernet. On weekends, chefs forge time-tested dishes until 2 a.m. to fuel joviality in an upstairs lounge equipped with black leather couches, which serve as an ideal late-night rendezvous point after long evenings of book-club hopping.
Since opening its doors in 1998, Language Stars has introduced more than 30,000 children to foreign languages with small-group classes and full-immersion activities. Through a selective process, Language Stars recruits ambitious teachers from more than 20 countries who share a common goal of revolutionizing how and when American children learn foreign languages. Parents and Tots Classes are available for children between 1–3 years old, and Kids Only classes are available for children 3–5, 5–8 and 8–10 years old. Absorbent little minds soak up Spanish, Mandarin, French, German, or Arabic with the help of their FunImmersion approach, learning naturally through games, songs, activities and art projects to help kids finally understand their foreign-exchange imaginary friends.
Bearing the titles of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman from Professional Photographers of America, David and Ally McKay embody the keen vision and aesthetic prowess that separated good photographers from great ones. They share these skills during classes at McKay Photography Academy, where they train eyes, fingers, and imaginations to work in tandem as a snapshooting dream machine. Their classes help aspiring photographers progress from neophytes to seasoned pros; the Beginning Digital Photography course teaches students to harness the intricacies of their instruments, and the Pro Academy offers inside tips on how to successfully snap wedding portraits, pose recent grads, or tease out candid emotions. When not busy instructing the next generation of shutterbugs, David and Ally also devise photo safaris, which send small teams of photographers to capture shots of famed landmarks including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge; the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC; or Yosemite's 60-foot statue of Yogi Bear.
Beyond providing an opportunity for friendly competition and social interaction throughout the DC area, the organizers of Capital Bocce League only have one mission: help players have fun. During each season, teams of up to 12 players compete in lighthearted bouts of the classic Italian game, which unlike other sports, requires little to no experience, physical exertion, or physics PhDs to master. After each game, teams can head to local bars for exclusive drink specials, and a variety of prizes await the victor of each season's playoffs.