Wishes & More fulfills the wishes of youth up to age 19 who have a terminal or life-threatening illness to help bring joy into lives that have become burdened with fear and trauma. Wishes can range from items, such as nursery equipment or new cars, to once-in-a-lifetime experiences, including a trip to South Africa for the FIFA World Cup, a family ski vacation, and the chance to meet a personal hero, be it Garfield cartoonist Jim Davis or Jackie Chan. Wishes & More also provides $1,000 memorial-fund grants to the parents of children who did not live to experience their wish and $1,000 Scholarship of Hope grants to fund young people's transition to higher education following a terminal diagnosis and recovery.
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Though many students come to Mathnasium having fallen behind their classmates, a mathematically advanced child sparked the learning program’s creation. As founder Larry Martinek’s young son, Nic, developed an appetite for higher-level math concepts, Larry found himself developing an entirely new teaching language to explain them in an age-appropriate way. The kind of instincts he sought to build up couldn’t be nurtured by drills and rote memorization. Instead, they required a deeper understanding of the principles at the root of mathematical operations, delivered in a way that grade-school kids could apply throughout their academic careers.
In just a decade’s time, Larry and his team have established Mathnasium centers in most U.S. states and more than a dozen in other countries. At each, highly trained tutors develop custom learning plans for students in grades K–12 based on The Mathnasium Method. The system combines an education strategy of conceptual, tactile, and visual techniques with a curriculum structure that ensures kids can count, think proportionally, and break complex problems into smaller components to solve simply. Tutors allow some time during each session to help students with the concepts in their math homework, and the centers regularly check report cards and standardized tests as further measures of progress.
Named as an homage to one of the four historic theaters that once operated near what is now City Center, the New Century Theatre carries on the best of the stage. Whereas the original venue—which burned down in 1964—seated 2,000 and focused on vaudeville, the modern-day jewel creates an intimate space for theatrical performances with seating for 300. Since 2011, it has hosted local and touring performers as well as educational initiatives such as the Broadway Confidential series and an acting demonstration on how to cry your way out of a parking ticket.
Grumpy's Bar & Grill sates patrons with a menu of hearty burgers and sandwiches and quenches quaffers with 34 beers on tap. Friends, couples, or bitter, bitter rivals put bitter, bitter rivalries aside over two Fatty Melts—culinary colossi weighed down with a half-pound, black Angus burger peppered with sautéed onions and wedged between two grilled-cheese sandwiches. Both melts come with fries and a Surly Furious ale, a hoppy explosion with hints of citrus, pine, and caramel toffee.
A tall painted portrait, illuminated from above, shows a woman standing barefoot holding a lamb. Follow her glance downwards and sideways, and you'll sight row upon brightly colored row of carefully stacked skeins of yarn from brands such as Blue Sky and Spud & Chloë. Classes teach tender-footed knitters to wield these materials with care, and more advanced offerings cover refined and specialized stitching skills. The shop also carries its own line of all-natural soaps, household cleaners, and moisturizers designed to soften hands toughened by efforts to wrestle needles away from uncooperative porcupines.
Under the tutelage of Energy Dance Center's skilled instructors, groovers and twirlers ages 1–18 can actively engage in the art of dance. Tots and toddlers in the Rising Stars Summer Sessions I and II can work on coordination and basic motor skills during the Creative Movement class ($50) or try ballet and tap ($55). Young gents ages 4 and up can perfect moves at the Boys-Only Hip-Hop class ($55). Session I's Ballet, Jazz, and Tap classes for ages 5–7, 7–9, and 9–11 (all $68) use positive reinforcement to build graceful boogying skills, while Session II's Recreational Hip-Hop classes for 5- to 8-year-olds ($55), 9- to 12-year-olds ($55), and kids 13 and up ($55) inspire students to break out into spontaneous pop-and-lock routines during family road trips.
Steel Toe Brewery's founder was a home brewer, fermenting beer in his bedroom overnight, until the gurgling sounds of the carboy began to disturb his wife's sleep. Origin stories like these are just one of the attractions of Taproom Tours' brewery tours, which also explore the Belgian yeast of Boom Island Brewing, celebrate session ales at 612 Brew, and enable sud savoring in the wood-paneled taproom at Indeed Brewing Company. Visitors taste sample brews at each location, and, helped along by a knowledgeable guide, explore the breweries' inner workings until they have learned every yeast strain's first name and favorite sports team.