Literacy Advance provides free classes that teach adults in the Houston area English as a second language. In 2010, Literacy Advance developed stronger literacy skills for 3,416 people and trained more than 360 new tutors. Volunteer tutors teach five students in each class how to read English with the use of picture dictionaries and textbooks, focusing on the skills necessary for gaining employment, utilizing health-care access, earning an education, finding housing, and navigating street maps. Literacy Advance provides training, books, and supplies for students in its ESL classes, but more than 350 people are currently on the waiting list to attend, stretching the organization's budget.
It's hard to pigeon-hole the cuisine of Texas into just one style of food. The large state is home to people from a wide range of cultures, and its cuisine reflects these Mexican, German, Creole, African, and Native American influences. In order to show off the true flavors of Texas, Texas Mesquite Grill's owner, Austin Yates, opted to serve everything from rib eyes hot off the mesquite grill to sizzling enchiladas to chicken-fried steak.
Whether it's a Texas quail kissed with a chipotle glaze or fish tacos flecked with a creole sauce, no dish truly evokes the flavors of Texas until it's paired with a beer, so Texas Mesquite Grill serves up 21 different beers on draft. The bartenders even make a version of their classic margarita with a splash of Corona, creating a beachy drink that's more refreshing than a tall glass of water with salt poured into it.
At each of its 31 area locations, the YMCA of Greater Houston pursues a mission to bring health, wellness, and personal growth to communities. Kids leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to a teen Youth & Government program that stirs up confidence and leadership abilities in students, preparing them for mudslinging student-council campaigns.
Zumba, ballroom dance, and Les Mills group exercise classes shake up adult workout routines, as complimentary childcare frees up parents to pursue fitness goals. Meanwhile, adult sport leagues such as basketball and racquetball result in friendly competition and hyper-literate team names inspired by obscure philosophers.
Sometimes it seems that timeless movies and holiday meals are the only way to simultaneously entertain three generations at once, but CrossFit Caveman adds a third activity to the mix: going to the gym. There, certified coaches engage entire families in fun workouts, scaling movements to suit everyone from grandparents to 3-year-olds. Each CrossFit routine incorporates exercises modeled off of real-life actions: pushing, jumping, running, and changing a monster truck’s tire, for example. Students master these techniques during introductory sessions before reporting to mainstream classes that hone their form and tone muscles through weightlifting, gymnastics maneuvers, and calisthenics.
Owners Sharon and Ray welcome clients of all sizes to their "cave." They and their staff—which includes sports enthusiasts, a Navy drill instructor, and a CrossFit Havoc Strongman competitor—push their students to achieve milestones that once seemed incredible, such as completing a series of chin-ups or using a kettlebell for something other than a parking-space saver. In addition to their regular curriculum, they host classes for kids aged 3–12, as well as sport-specific regimens and women-only sessions.
Jump & Joy amps up the action at any kid's party with inflatable bounce houses and slides. Partygoers leap around inside bounce houses printed with popular characters from movies, tv, and Newsweek, and kids can also splash down thrilling slides. All inflatables have been designed with extensive safety features, such as ramps and screen mesh, and they're disinfected after every rental. Staff also creates themed packages that not only include a bounce-house rental, but also a party attendant, sweet treats, music, and decorations.
Though women clad in bikini tops roam the area, the people munching on half-pound burgers and fish tacos aren't lounging on the beach. Rather they're seated within Beach Babe Sports Bar and Grill's sea of wood tables, where servers in swimsuits and shorts bring them boneless wings slathered in seven sauces as football games and UFC matches beam from more than 40 LCD television screens. Or they may be perched on the high-backed chairs that surround the oval-shaped bar. It's here that bartenders fill glasses with beer from more than 15 taps and mix cocktails from a stock of liquor sizable enough to get Paul Bunyan to go ox tipping.