Programs that build character, leadership, and valuable skills for young people are at the heart of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Alabama’s main mission. Today more than 8,000 children and teens count on the four area BGCCA clubs as a place where they can learn to grow and hone their abilities. By providing a safe place where children and teens can both learn and have fun, the centers hope to promote healthy lifestyles, community engagement, and a greater readiness for the working world. That mission is most apparent in the success of program graduates, who graduate from high school at a rate of 90%, compared to 66% nationally.
Slinging strikes and slamming home runs since 1885, the Birmingham Barons ready themselves for another year of fierce Minor League competition. Pitcher Charles Shirek and returning manager Bobby Magallanes look to build momentum from the team's 2011 playoff appearance and begin the 2012 season with numerous wins, few losses, and no trouble from the actual barons of Birmingham. Duos of Barons fans can head to Regions Park for a six-pack of bat-and-ball spectacles. The 10,800-capacity stadium hosts a profusion of special events, such as a fireworks displays, T-shirt giveaways, and panel discussions on traditional baseball-stitching patterns. Groupon customers should call the box office to schedule their welcome announcement at least one week prior to the chosen game.
At Moxii, colorful quilts, curtains, kitchen towels, and whimsical wares for bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms wait to beautifully befriend a home’s preexisting helpers. Greet carolers and milkmen in style by slapping an aviary doormat ($33) on your stoop, or ease the anxiety of goodbyes by slipping photos of the family pet wearing a bandanna into some vibrant storage boxes ($11) for a dorm-bound young'un. The damask and classic quilts (both $159) are customer favorites for their vibrant hues and the soft-cotton coziness they provide to sleepers who fall hard. Because so many fabric patterns, textures, and colors of bedding are available at Moxii, shoppers can let their own style spot creativity and govern their décor decisions.
Sips n Strokes gifts paintbrush-wielding neophytes the tools and confidence to create, with a mélange of masterpiece-making tutorials and a bring-your-own-beverage policy. Artists can elect a class from the shop's calendar to hone the painting style that best complements their home, office, or neighbor's windshield, including picks of imagery from Parisian scenes to funky roosters. Each course, led by an instructor well versed in the trade, pairs well with the liquid inspiration of each student's choosing. Silence-seeking artists or easily corruptible mimes may opt for an afternoon or weeknight session, as the weekends generally garner 20 to 50 rowdy rookies.
Team In Training's certified coaches provide nutritional and fitness advice to help participants meet their physical goals, and they welcome experienced athletes and green-but-determined terrapins alike. The program adopts a double-pronged training method incorporating personal attention from coaches with weekly group sessions. Participants also receive travel to and accommodation at their selected event.