Here’s my love letter to the staff, leadership, and community at EvolveAll Training and Growth Center in Arlington, VA.
EvolveAll had always been in the periphery of my knowledge ever since we moved to the area, with the idea that my husband and I might want to get one or more of our children into the program, over the years.
The facility had moved a few times within Arlington, and for one reason or another (sports, band, homework), it was only when our youngest child reached the age of a) needing some structured after-school activities, b) looking for a community, and c) seeking some physical growth as well as positive mental and emotional development, that we joined the community.
The story begins when we came to visit for one of the free “observation” classes. Our daughter at first thought she would just sit and watch, but she ended up joining in, because of the always-encouraging Ms. Sophie. My daughter now explains “that’s why I like her so much, because she was the one who encouraged me to join in, instead of just watching.”
At the end of that very first walk-on class she was awarded a white belt, which gave her confidence and a real excitement about the group. We decided to sign up for monthly classes.Because the model was drop-in, for whichever classes fit your schedule, we ended up going multiple times a week, as well as on Saturday mornings. We also brought in other friends, from class and Girl Scouts, so she could get a “girl power” squad together.
What great times!
We witnessed a blossoming of strength, self-mastery, and focus. Our daughter became much more communicative, and was spurred on to grow more in being able to be thoughtful of other people, and to be respectful in how she spoke with us and others.
For her first growth ceremony, we reported back on schoolwork, hygiene, self-care, and more in order for the chance to attempt the next belt. Nothing is given, only earned. I think this sense of continuous learning helped my youngest be more understanding and patient, and to be ok with trying and sometimes failing. She would mention that even her own teacher Mr. Christian, and Mr. Elijah, and even Master Emerson (the head of the center) were also earning their next belts.
I think she also gained more self-confidence, and really, really, just vibed with the EvolveAll crew.
She decided to have her birthday party at EvolveAll, complete with an energetic strength and conditioning workout, a board break, and cake cut with a sword!
On lockdown, we joined the virtual community, purchased a subscription to EvolveAll.tv, and continued with online classes, which they pivoted to offering 3x/week, as well as virtual Growth Ceremonies.
General Manager Mr. Brian, head of the welcome crew, did an incredible job organizing thoughtful and heartfelt conversation groups, Instagram Live conversations, and more, so adults in the community could get together and support one another through quarantine. I vividly recall one “juice” night where all the participants shared their best homemade juice recipes, and did demos with their blenders of their faves.
We took virtual classes all through 2020 and recently returned to an in-person “pod” model twice a week at the studio.
Two of the coaches who were helpers in my daughter’s first class, have been promoted to leading her current class. EvolveAll is doing a great job helping all of us learn, grow, communicate, and be better people: to evolve to be a little bit stronger and more resilient every day.
Thanks so much to all the crew! I have so much gratitude for the enrichment you’ve given my daughter and my entire family. I look forward to continuing forward in whatever model we can, and I hope there’s a way to do virtual learning. The EvolveAll spirit continues to grow, thank you so much to this wonderful Arlington community.