THEARC Theater was created out of necessity. The first theater in Ward 8 in Washington, DC, it was founded to provide residents living east of the Anacostia River with expanded cultural opportunities and hide-and-seek spots. Constructed by local nonprofit Building Bridges Across the River, the theater aims to improve the lives of children and adults in southeast Washington through educational, health, and social-service programs such as free theater workshops and youth internships in technical theater management. Noting the tower of glass windows that crowns the entrance, the Washington Post called it "a veritable lighthouse of learning—a $27 million, 110,000-square-foot campus set on 16 beautiful green acres."
With a rink defined by bright, citrus-colored walls and carnival-inspired artwork, Temple Hills Skating Palace isn?t shy about showing off its many forms of onsite amusement. The center?s main attraction is the glossy skating-rink floor, where guests can sharpen their skills during public skate or spend time with peers in specialized skating sessions for teens or adults. Most nights, the resident DJs soundtrack the skating experience with hip-hop and R & B jams, though they?ve also been know to spin gospel, top 40, and classic oldies tracks for special occasions?including the time that Billy finally asked Suzie to share a couples skate even though she was way out of his league as a fourth-grade honor student who also skipped kindergarten.
Temple Hills Skating Palace also offers more than just skating. Outside the bounds of the rink, the onsite arcade lights up the space with driving-simulation games, classic joystick units, and free-throw-inspired Pop-A-Shot machines. The more guests play, the more tickets and prizes they can earn; the more prizes that they win, the more likely they are to celebrate with a quick bite at the snack bar or a quick phone call to the friends who doubted their Whac-A-Mole prowess.
THEARC is home to the only community theater in its area, which hosts the I Can summer program, an internship that teaches area young people ages 14–24 about technical-theater management. The eight-week paid internship will invite 10 new interns beginning this June for an introduction to the creative and practical skills required to produce and design plays. Interns also receive training in life skills such as resume writing, setting long-term goals, public speaking, and financial literacy. I Can aims to empower young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with the skills they need to achieve academic and career success. THEARC relies on the help of donations to provide each intern with the basic supplies they need to participate in the program.
No Excuse Workout is a full-service health and fitness club that provides a motivating and friendly gym atmosphere, as well as up-to-date equipment and classes. At this functional space, gym-goers can run on treadmills, climb up Stair Masters, and lift free weights before punching away stress at the onsite boxing ring. Five personal trainers help clients get customized and tangible results, and there's plenty of free group classes taught in the studio. The teachers help students dance away calories in upbeat Zumba classes, or try circuit training or yoga—there's even a belly dancing class. The gym further demonstrates its ability to accommodate diverse guests with a relaxing onsite sauna, plenty of resistance-training equipment and tanning beds, and a pro shop. Here, patrons can buy exercise equipment and nutritional supplements—which, if bought in large enough quantities, can be lifted just like dumbbells for strength training.