Propelled by a degree in human development, Fran Durekas desperately sought a career where she could put her passion for children to use. Instead of finding full-time work, she landed a spot at a small after-school program near Stanford University—it was anything but ideal, as the miniscule budget and poor quality often forced her to dip into her own funds for supplies. She began looking for a way out when the director offered her the chance to buy out the program and transform this little part-time gig into the career she was looking for. The thought of redesigning the curriculum to match her high standards, treating the teachers as professionals, and upping the involvement of area families thrilled her. She went for it, opening her first Children’s Creative Learning Center in 1992.
Now a multistate company accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, CCLC continue to overhaul their programs to keep pace with the latest research in the field of early development. CCLC hire top educators, focusing on developing social, emotional, physical, and intellectual skills while maintaining important boundaries and a feeling of play. Recently, educational company Knowledge Universe brought all CCLC under its umbrella, providing its newest independent division with even more resources to help children grow into well-rounded students and not into giant, skyscraper-destroying monsters. They also offer daycare services, which operate in or alongside many of the classroom facilities at CCLC.
With a roster of female-only classes, Women’s Fitness of Boston aims to create an unintimidating environment for women to reach personal fitness goals. Group fitness classes such as salsa-inspired Zumba and Tae Box Flex—a kickboxing class that blends tae kwon do with traditional boxing moves—help ladies sculpt muscles and—when taken as part of a complete regimen—help them win full-contact dance-offs. Along with classes, club members can take advantage of weight-loss programs and personal training, as well as the two tanning booths, which help further beautify newly buff bods.
As natural light streams through the windows, members at Fisique Fitness run on treadmills equipped with their own screens, take to Cybex elliptical machines, and make the rounds on strength-training equipment. In group exercise classes, instructors lead cardio-centric spinning workouts or model mindful breathing during Vinyasa yoga's flow of poses. Dedicated personal trainers take things up a notch, pushing their clients past a plateau or preparing them for the arm-wrestling portion of a corporate job interview. After workouts, members can hit the showers equipped with convenient toiletries or plunk down on one of the lobby’s leather armchairs.
In addition to providing chiropractic treatments and physical-therapy sessions, Fisique Fitness partners with Joint Ventures to offer a menu of spa services that includes massage and acupuncture.
A certified personal trainer and the owner of Boston’s Bootcamp, Kelsey Raycroft sharpened her competitive spirit as a member of the U.S. synchronized-skating team, later channeling her figure-skating techniques to plan off-the-ice workouts. Her exercise programs have benefited clients from internationally ranked athletes to gym newbies, and at Boston's Bootcamp, she coaches students from all fitness backgrounds.
Boston's Bootcamp classes blend cardio intervals with resistance bands and body-weight moves to keep heart rates humming. From April through autumn, Kelsey leads her one-hour sessions on the greenway for a scenic view of the Boston skyline. Her enthusiasm for the outdoors also fuels training for Mud Run training for Spartan and Tough Mudder races.
The Sylvester family had bartending in its blood. Whether it was Uncle Mickey holding court with 40 years' worth of regulars or Tony Sr. mixing one of his signature Skip and Go Nakeds, they exemplified the easy grace and no-nonsense craftsmanship found in a true barman's barman. That dedication to well-poured drinks carried over to Tony Jr., who has spent the last 35 years training mixologists nationwide through the curriculum of his ABC Bartending Schools. Taught behind fully functional bars, his courses educate students in topics ranging from drink recipes and equipment setup to flair moves and alcohol awareness. His schools also emphasize employment; after graduation, students can take advantage of a nationwide job placement service to land gigs in Miami nightclubs, Las Vegas casinos, or the bar cars of Chicago's El trains.