Classes and Events

A lot happens during a day at Embark Center

Embark classes and one-on-one tutorials are offered on a variety of topics: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday between 9 and 3. Embark is closed on Wednesday. The schedule is organic and is a reflection of the interests of current teen members and the interests and expertise of our staff, volunteers, and interns. In addition, we support teen members to lead classes for their peers. Rather than attempt to fulfill any particular curriculum, we ask our teachers to share the topics that excite them.

Everything we do at Embark, including our classes and one-on-one tutorials are optional and open to every member; most are scheduled for one hour per week, with the option to meet more often if needed or desired.

A Selection of Classes at Embark

Adulting 101:

What is it like being an adult? How do I get where I think I want to go in my life? Once a month we have a member of the local community come to lunch and share their journey into adulthood. This is the perfect opportunity to ask questions about career choices, finances, owning a home, having children and the role of post secondary education in finding a fulfillment both professionally and personally.

American History: The Untold Story

Have you considered the arrival of Christopher Columbus on this continent from the point of view of the Arawak Indians? Using the book A Young People’s History of the United States, we will explore the history of the United States from the point of view of those whose stories are rarely included in history books.The study will begin with the arrival of Christopher Columbus, and it will proceed through the struggles for workers’ rights, women’s rights, and civil rights during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will explore the untold stories of today and learn how to view history and current events from a multitude of perspectives.

Books that Matter to YOU and why?

If you were stranded on an island with only one book, which would it be and why? Which stories are relevant to you as an adolescent in the twenty -first century? What books have changed your life? What books are considered classics and why? Do the classics stand the test of time? How do you decide what you want to read? If you are happiest with a book in your hand this is the group for you.

Do Something/ Current Events

This course is designed for interested individuals to come together and discuss important issues as identified by the members themselves. Members may focus on a particular issue in great depth and/or design an action plan.

Facing History in Ourselves

Through historical analysis and the study of human behavior, we will examine our understanding of racism, religious intolerance, and prejudice. We will work to increase our ability to relate history to our own lives and gain a better understanding of our roles and responsibilities in a democracy.

Hey! Want to Come?

This is an active course that will be engaging members in a number of different sports and activities. Every few days or so, we will go out around lunch for a few hours and go into town to swim, bike, hike, or play tennis. This course will evolve based on the suggestions of students’ favorite sports or active hobbies. We will decide as a group what to do at each meeting and determine a list of needed equipment or supplies.

Journeys In Film

Founded in 2003, Journeys in Film operates on the belief that teaching with film has the power to prepare youth to live and work more successfully in the 21st century as informed and globally competent citizens. Join us as we explore several of these films, beginning with the Global Education Series, which includes the following:

  • Like Stars on Earth – India
  • Please Vote for Me – China
  • Beat the Drum – South Africa
  • Children of Heaven – Iran
  • Whale Rider – Maori Culture
  • The Way Home – South Korea
  • The Cup – Tibet
  • The Prophet

Let’s Make a Blog

Express yourself through the design and maintenance of your very own blog. Work as a group or individually on issues that matter to you. Connect with like-minded people and challenge yourself to be educated by the opposing argument. Provide yourself an avenue of expression. What do you need to say? What does the world need to hear?

Mapping the World by Heart

If you were given blank sheets of paper, could you draw a detailed map of the entire world? It may seem hard to believe, but after exploring the innovative Mapping the World by Heart curriculum, you can have a comprehensive knowledge of geography that will allow you to map the world entirely from memory! Combining memorization with the real use of knowledge, practice, mnemonics, large and small group activities, and games, Mapping the World by Heart will inspire you to study — and love — geography. You will learn to draw — entirely from memory — detailed world maps including the names, borders, mountain ranges, rivers, and major cities of more than 190 countries. You will get excited about geography and begin to think globally. No drawing expertise needed!

Math Lab

This is an open lab, which provides opportunities for members to ask question of tutors and peers about math. Members are able to move through math concepts in their own style and at their own pace.

Needle Felting

Needle felting is one of many felting techniques. It uses a barbed felting needle to manipulate wool fibers into any object your heart desires. We will use this techniques to create two and three dimensional art projects. We will have the opportunity to clean and card wool as well as dye roving to colors that inspire. No experience necessary!

Oil Painting

We will paint a still life using oil paints. Beginning with a sketch, we will use paint to represent dark, light, and mid-tones in our compositions.

Paper and Stationery Making

Learn how to make paper.  Collect bits and pieces that tickle your fancy and design and construct stationery. Use multiple media to build a journal cover and stitch together your homemade journal. Personalize your holiday, birthday and other greeting cards.


Traditional or crazy; beginner or experienced stitcher; grand plans or don’t know where to start? This is the class for you. Explore fantastic fabrics and the endless possibilities they provide.  

“Real Life” Science

Science is more than you think! Using real life accounts to see the application of science in our everyday world. Exploring resource like: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Why Evolution is True, and the Hidden Brain podcast

Starting and Running a Small Business

Be your own boss and make your own money! What is involved in running your own business? Let’s explore the necessary “know how” to run a successful business!

30-Minute Shakespeare

To be in this course, or not to be…that is the question! Join us to choose a work of the great William Shakespeare and prepare to perform it at the Folger Shakespeare Library’s annual Secondary School Shakespeare Festival

Timeline of My Life

Students use the materials of their choice to create a timeline of their life  with possible projections into the future. A visual autobiography that shares the important and unique story of its creator.

Whole Foods Nutrition & Cooking Class

Want to know the best way to eat to achieve optimal health and wellness?

Using an easy to understand book based on the principles of the Weston A. Price Foundation, we will explore the principles of good nutrition and healthy eating  based not on government standards but on the ancient wisdom of traditional diets throughout the world.

Take this course in Whole Foods Nutrition to:

  • Understand how eating whole foods is an important key in maintaining health and wellness
  • Learn the difference between whole foods and processed foods and how they affect our health
  • Learn about the nutrients in whole foods and how they affect our bodies
  • Understand the difference between carbohydrates, fats and proteins which are macronutrients and vitamins & minerals which are micronutrients
  • Explore the basics of food preparation and the best way to source whole foods from grocery stores, gardens, farmers’ markets and local farms.
  • Execute a menu plan and implement it from shopping list to table.
  • Practice the basics of cooking healthy meals from scratch.

Writing Workshop

Pat Schneider (Amherst Writers and Artists) has  Five Essential Affirmations that guide her approach to writing:

  1. Everyone has a strong, unique voice.
  2. Everyone is born with creative genius.
  3. Writing as an art form belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level.
  4. The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer’s original voice or artistic self-esteem.
  5. A writer is someone who writes.

In this workshop, you will be invited to leave all your assumptions about what you can and cannot write at the door! We will start with prompts, and write for a specific amount of time, Then we come together to read our work aloud, if we choose, and each participant receives feedback on what is strong and memorable about his or her writing. There is no criticism of this fresh, first draft work–just appreciation of its strengths. It’s a wonderful way to find out what is particularly good in your writing, and to be supported by other writers.

All writing is treated as fiction, which enables participants to write more freely. Confidentiality is also a key to this method of writing.

Yoga and Meditation

Stretch your body and your mind with gentle suggestion and grounding breath. Invite yourself to be still and experience a brief pause from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. No musts. No rules. Nowhere to go, nothing to do. Work with your body and discover the many gifts our bodies provide. Whether you are a newbie or an advanced yogi come and create space, breath, a pause and possibility of the mind and body.


Personalized Learning

At Embark we work with each teen member as an individual, building on strengths to create a meaningful and positive experience while also preparing for each person’s next steps. Teen members work closely with their mentors to determine their own ideal schedule, creating a combination of group classes and one-on-one tutoring sessions.

Many Embark members work with tutors individually to study a topic. Members who wish to study math and writing often do so with a tutor, who can tailor the study to that particular person’s needs.

The format of individual classes can vary significantly, depending on the vision of the leader as well as the input of the participants. Some classes will ask for and expect a considerable amount of work to happen outside of class time while others will be more limited. This is made clear in the class description and by the teacher and should be taken into consideration by the student deciding to join the group.

We encourage all Embark members to learn about and try as many classes as they can. Once a member decides to be a regular participant of a class, we expect commitment. There are no grades or punishments, but we expect class participants to communicate with the teacher regarding attendance and other issues and to fulfill any requirements such as readings, research, or other assignments.

Members may choose to participate in an early college program with their local community college or take on an internship, volunteer work, or paid work as part of their learning experience.