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"Blue Umbrella Experience was born out of a passionate belief that individuals of all abilities deserve high quality, professional and affordable continuing education within a community setting."


The story of Blue Umbrella Experience began on a rainy day in 2015, when our Director Christy Hawkins reluctantly accepted the gift of an embarrassing big, blue umbrella from a trusted friend. Unearthed from her car years later, the sight of that big, blue umbrella quite literally saved her life walking through a busy area during a blinding downpour. The importance of friendship and looking out for one another hit home that day.

When the pandemic disrupted the lives, communities, and educations of many families, we committed to answering this call by providing shelter from the storm. In July of 2020, Blue Umbrella Experience launched and began offering classes and social events to just 22 students entirely over Zoom.


Now, nearly 3 year later, our community of over 100 students has collectively participated in over 15,000 hours of class engagement and enrichment, both via Zoom and in person.

Our Story

The mission of Blue Umbrella Experience is to provide inclusive, accessible, and affordable post-education classes and experiences to students of all abilities and skill levels. 

We recognize the importance of continued structure, community engagement, and diverse learning experiences in the lives of those completing their educational career, which is why we offer a variety of ways for students from every walk of life to come together and form lifelong bonds.

Whether you're interested in cooking, want to learn how to balance your personal finances, or are just looking to have fun and sing some karaoke, Blue Umbrella Experience is here to support everyone and tailor your time with us to be as engaging, uplifting, and memorable as possible.

Our Mission

Take A Class... Join A Community!

Who We Are


Christine Hawkins, LMSW

Executive Director

Christy considers herself beyond fortunate to live that by working with children, young adults and their families for over twenty years within several supportive and educational settings.  Christy’s dedication to youth has led her to teach English and Math to street children in Kenya and Tanzania to teaching English and Psychology and leading the Environmental Club in a therapeutic high school in upstate New York.  Christy then went on for her Masters in Social Work….just like her pre-K teacher, Mrs. Eagen had predicted. Christy’s masters thesis focused on the Human-animal Bond and Biophilia.  For the last 13 years, Christy counseled and taught classes such as Social Psychology, Communications, Environmental Studies and Mindfulness at a college program on Long Island. Christy is happiest any time she can help people appreciate their surroundings, work towards their goals and connect well with others. Christy could not be more grateful for the evolution of the nonprofit, Blue Umbrella Experience so that this incredible team of instructors and students could come together for Above and Beyond Community Classes, Inc.

"It really does come down to the saying, “do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.” 


Jason Baron, M. Ed

Assistant Director

As a Master in Education, Jason has over 15 years of experience working with children, young adults, and adults.  He has taught Literature, English, Health and Executive Functioning at the college level. Jason’s diverse educational background ranges from Music Appreciation to Writing to Media Communications which has allowed him to provide support for students attending college classes including public speaking, advertising, TV and Visual production and many more.  Jason’s extensive knowledge and understanding of music genres, his love of writing music and playing instruments and all things Disney makes for a perfect fit for Above & Beyond Community Classes. Jason’s commitment to bringing high-quality, meaningful experiences to participants of ABCC is a top priority. When he is not working, Jason enjoys spending time with his two boys, where you can find them anywhere- from a concert to just about any kind of outdoor recreation. 

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