Skiing. Snowboarding. Canoeing. Rock climbing. Horseback riding. To someone with a physical disability, activities like these might seem impossible. Yet Eric Gray, founder of Catalyst Sports, has taught disabled individuals how to perform each one?plus a few others. At Catalyst, Eric and his team empower people to not only overcome physical disabilities, but also to thrive with them.
The organization provides unique recreational opportunities to individuals of all ages and ability levels, including adaptive rock climbing programs. In fact, Catalyst has grown into the largest such adaptive climbing program in the country. It has done so, in large part, by hosting frequent events and fundraisers, which are far better ways to raise money than playing the same Roman numerals in the lottery every week.
One Step Above encompasses a crew of urban professionals who sought a classier alternative to dance moves they witnessed in the club scene. Harkening back to a grander time, they specialize in styles such as Detroit (urban) ballroom, Chicago stepping, and soul line dancing, choreographing routines that earned them a Best Choreography award at the Usher’s New Look summer camp and a spot in the movie Stomp the Yard. During classes, instructors stress the lead-and-follow relationship, working with each student at their individual pace.
With locations in Midtown and Duluth, the Ballroom Dance Clubs of Atlanta teaches aspiring ballroom kings and queens how to confidently execute such staples as traditional waltz, foxtrot, salsa, and swing. A cast of instructors brings years of experience to the dance floor as they shepherd their charges through rug-cutting private and group lessons, dissipating patrons’ nervousness with a cheerful demeanor and constant reassurance that their high-school crushes aren't watching. The studios' weekly parties give students the chance to mingle with their peers and practice freshly learned techniques in a laid-back environment.
PartnershipsInAction's three races—a 5K run and walk, a youth 1K run, and a 100-yard dash—gets runners’ endorphins pumping for a charitable cause. 100 percent of the proceeds go towards funding programs to alleviate global poverty in all parts of the world. The nonprofit organization fights hunger, illiteracy, and disease in the developing world, marshalling grassroots and community-based solutions.
With a portion of the proceeds benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Great City Race challenges city dwellers' problem-solving skills and knowledge of their hometown in a race that's both mentally and physically challenging. Crowds of colorfully dressed teams gather on the date of the race armed with a digital camera or cell phone to document each task that they perform. Using nothing but their feet, public transportation, and knowledge of the city, teams must solve 11 out of 12 clues and return to the starting line. The teams with the best times are rewarded for their efforts with prizes, and all participants go home with a T-shirt and swag bag to stow excess confidence.