Nearly two decades ago, a group of 14 religious communities founded Sisters Place, Inc. to provide housing and support services to single-parent families. To ensure the families settled into a larger community, the organization purchased 16 apartments in the 450-unit Century Townhomes complex. Today, Sisters Place works to empower 32 families to escape the cycle of poverty by completing education and securing employment. After receiving a recommendation from a social-service agency, families who have been victims of abuse, lived with a mental illness, or struggled with addiction can move into housing and take part in support programs. Single parents with physical or mental disabilities or substance-abuse issues can live in permanent housing, whereas young parents between the ages of 18 and 35 can live in rent-assisted housing for up to two years. While in the housing, families benefit from support services including childcare, transportation, cultural opportunities, and case management to get them on the path to self-sufficiency.
At Pittsburgh Improv, comics lure laughs from bellies in the hopes of following in the footsteps of standup legends such as Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, and Dave Chappelle, all of whom have graced the Improv club stages. The calendar schedules comedians as often as six nights a week, alternating between big-name headliners and up-and-comers who tickle funny bones with fresh material, abundant energy, and feathered reflex hammers. Audience members munch on their choice of a savory appetizer, such as spinach-and-artichoke dip or buffalo wings, while sipping a cocktail to avoid eye contact with the giant rubber chicken sitting at the next table.
The culinary craftsmen at Dukes Station II tame appetites with a menu of classic American fare. Populate mouth-caves with a crispy basket of shrimp ($4.95) or a helping of jalapeño poppers ($4.95) for a hotter beginning than a phoenix’s 21st rebirthday. A lineup of more than 30 phalange-fillers includes the cheeseburger ($5.95); a half-rack of ribs ($12.95) meets the Constitution-mandated requirement to pronounce something as “finger-licking good” in order to be able to vote. Landlubbing entrees such as spaghetti and meatballs ($7.25) alternate with seafaring treats such as luscious crab cakes ($9.95), and individually sized pizzas come festooned in traditional cheese toppings ($3.95) or with a zesty taco flair ($4.50). Miniature masticators can indulge in kids’ menu items or steal peppermints from a neighbor’s pocket.
The gentle rumble of scattering pins blends with jovial laughter across Princess's 44 well-kept synthetic lanes. Alley dwellers hurl balls down polished lanes equipped with automated scoring systems, putting Newton’s laws of physics to the test more effectively than sitting beneath a bowling-ball tree. High-definition televisions throughout the alley keep patrons updated on athletic events, and optional bumpers avert ball follies and human frustration. Pleasant aromas lure tired and hungry bowlers to the adjoining Prior's Tap and Tavern where cooks crown pizzas with toppings, including barbecue chicken and banana peppers.
Named "Best Deli" by Pittsburgh City Paper and "Best in City" by Pittsburgh Magazine, Carson Street Deli owns up to its accolades with a menu full of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. New York-style sandwiches ($6–$8) throw plenty of elbows alongside more mild-mannered sides ($1–$3.50), salads ($4–$7), and conversational lunch-goers (free after administering a low-five handslap). Ramp up meat locker training efforts with help from the Balboa—piles of sopressata, imported Di Lusso Genoa salami, prosciutto, spicy capicola and hard salami on a French baguette ($8)—or the slightly spicier diversion, Montezuma's revenge, which melds grilled buffalo chicken breast, green and red peppers, onions, melted cheeses and hot sauce into a warm pita ($7). Vegetarians appease appetites with buffalo mozzarella layered within the handheld veggie Roma ($6).
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes opened The Little Gym based on his new take on physical education. His curriculum emphasized motivating children to achieve instead of pressuring them to win. As a result, The Little Gym became a noncompetitive, positive, nurturing environment where young ones could develop physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually. Since then, Little Gyms have sprouted up across the country. Enter Kevin and Page Helmick. Kevin and Page's passion for working with children stirred the duo to open their own Little Gym locations in Liberty Township and Mason. Parents of two young boys, Kevin and Page captain a talented staff of childcare professionals and instructors that is as passionate about childhood development as they are. The programs and classes they teach aim to help kids develop skills such as rhythm and coordination, and kids camps during winter, spring, and summer breaks prevent children from creating finger paintings that express the existential ennui they feel when school is out of session. The gym's classes, camps, and childcare programs have earned this location the Best Children's Play award from Cincinnati Family Magazine.