Jamie spent her entire life volunteering, working with preschool students who had special needs, terminally ill children, and survivors of sexual abuse. Then in 2005, she was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID). After fruitless searches for support resources, she shifted her focus and humanitarian mindset toward helping people like herself, founding a peer-led support group for DID.
That initial group evolved into An Infinite Mind, an organization dedicated to educating people about dissociative disorders and dispelling the stigmas attached to them. Advocates at An Infinite Mind write articles for journals, work with trauma organizations and public institutions to unearth the realities of living with a dissociative disorder, and speak as both survivors and trained trauma therapists to raise awareness across the country. As part of its expanding efforts to work with trauma survivors on the ground, An Infinite Mind also plans to connect people with therapists and help them find ways to cover the costs of treatment.
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SAK Comedy Club, a breeding ground for highly pedigreed improv comics such as Wayne Brady, targets funny bones with the unique brand of improvised comedy that's made it an Orlando landmark since 1991. Sak’s skilled rib-ticklers offer a robust schedule of all-ages shows designed to evoke hearty laughter, humanity's only form of exercise prior to the advent of the treadmill. Thursday–Sunday, “Duel of Fools” allows the audience to play judge and jury to jousting comics. Like rodeo clowns settling a boundary dispute, four improv directors clash in a humorous battle royale in the “Gorilla Theatre” show staged on Fridays. On Saturdays, the “Early Show” at 11:30 p.m. allows Sak's masterful mirth-makers to spin longer scenes that give elements such as character and story a chance to frolic and roam free.
A one-stop schooling emporium, Spark! fosters left- and right-side brainpower with a sundry slate of award-winning art classes. Under the benevolent guidance of certified and Montessori-trained class masters, kids cultivate fallow imaginations with elementary art classes in drawing, crafting, and cartooning, unearthing their innate artistic prowess and penchant for sketching sharks wearing sunglasses. Beginning and intermediate lessons in drawing edify teens and grownups alongside tutorials in abstract painting, chromatics, and the curative powers of color. Relaxing 90-minute Sip and Sketch classes allow adults, couples, and Renaissance-themed motorcycle gangs to sip on the libation of their choice while leisurely sketching still-life objects and figures. Students hone their sketching skills in a sun-soaked classroom swathed in vibrant shades and sensibly furnished with art-making implements and modular tables.
The menu at Doc’s Streetside Grille may be only two pages, but it includes a diverse selection of dishes that showcase ingredients from a variety of cuisines. Guests can soak up the pub atmosphere with beer chili served in a bowl or on cheese fries, or keep it light with an almond-crusted goat-cheese salad with fresh spinach and strawberries. A bit of Mexican flair is introduced in dishes such as seasoned mahi-mahi tacos and a taco pizza with black beans, beef, and olives. Apple barbecue sauce sweetens a half-pound burger with bacon, and for after dinner but before 10 p.m. Scrabble, serious sweet tooths can share baked brie for two, which is slathered with raspberry marmalade.
Though the menu appeals to diverse palates, Doc’s seeks to bring people together. The restaurant fosters a community of sports fans by broadcasting regular games on TV, and encourages regular visits with events such as live music and trivia.
Melissa McMurray, founder of Bikram Yoga Orlando, passionately practices and teaches the renowned yoga style originated by Bikram Choudhury, who won the All-India National Yoga Competition three times in a row and retired undefeated. During 90-minute classes held seven days a week, Melissa and Bikram Yoga Orlando’s certified instructors cycle through 26 hatha yoga postures and two breathing exercises inside a heated studio. In addition to facilitating safe stretches, the heat expels bodily toxins and improves the cardiovascular effect of each pose. Many students find they can participate regardless of their age, weight, flexibility, past injuries, or past lives as statues.
Energizing beats fuel each furious workout at F.I.R.M. Fitness Camp as groups move together to shave off pounds and shape stronger bodies. Certified personal trainers start fresh each day with a new workout that employs dumbbells, jump ropes, and the Lebert Equalizer to keep heart rates pumping while building muscle mass. Unlike other boot camps, the trainers motivate through positive reinforcement rather than by yelling at clients or leaving passive-aggressive post-it notes on their fridges. Additionally, each energy-boosting session is held indoors, so students need not worry about sessions being canceled due to rain.