SOS Children's Villages - Florida nurtures youth in foster care through a neighborhood built exclusively for them. The street's 12 houses buzz with the activity of the 75 resident boys and girls, who were removed from their homes due to abandonment, abuse, and neglect. They spend their childhood with foster families selected by a caseworker and have access to an array of social and mental-health services. Most children stay at the Village for about two years until they are found a permanent adoptive home or reunited with their biological families. The Village places a high priority on maintaining family connections among siblings, generally placing them in the same house.
SOS Children’s Villages sustains a connection with all its youth after they turn 18 through the After Care program, which helps them transition into adulthood and self-sufficiency. SOS boasts incredible success with this program: 83% of its alumni have graduated high school—33% higher than the national average for foster children—and 47% have gone on to pursue higher education.
Pump It Up invites overenergized youngsters to tucker out their internal springboards in safe, inflatable indoor arenas. With five open-jump passes, children can leap around gargantuan air-filled bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, and slither like snakes covered in bacon grease through an air-filled obstacle course. Pump It Up’s fun-tastic facilities are climate controlled and maintained according to rigorous guidelines enforced by a well-trained staff.
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From its North Lauderdale and Davie locations, Galaxy Skateway launches visitors into a vortex of nifty moves, groovy tunes, and wholesome family fun. Throughout the week, both venues crank up energy levels with special events. On Fridays and Saturdays, doors remain open later into the evening, and on Flashback Thursdays, music from the 1970s and 80s helps skaters explore the past without having to spin super fast to induce time travel. But no matter the day or decade, Galaxy always surrounds its guests with an impressive lineup of amenities, including a full-service snack bar, video game areas, a pro shop, and a full fleet of regular and in-line skates, available for rental.
Animal Planet’s Most Outrageous Pet Digs dubbed Chateau Poochie the “world’s most decadent hotel for dogs” for the lavish care with which the staff treats its canine guests. Tiny nails click on the white marble floors of the lobby, where overnight guests check in at a mirrored front desk beneath a crystal chandelier before a staff member escorts them to one of the suites. Each suite is appointed with raised beds and fleece bedding, access to filtered water, and classical music, while most bear flat-screen televisions so guests can keep an eye on their investments in squeaky toy futures. At mealtime, pet owners choose from a freshly prepared menu of roasted meat accompanied by steamed vegetables and brown rice.
During the day, both overnight and daycare charges enjoy playtime at the Social Lounge, where pups are separated by size so they can romp safely on impact-resistant floors as they dive through hoops, clamber up steps, or challenge their tails to a winner-take-all battle royale. They can also enjoy the fresh air in the outdoor garden or schedule individual playtime with someone from the staff.
Chateau Poochie also houses a luxe salon and spa where grooming sessions can be supplemented by facials and pedicures. Therapeutic massages help whisk away tension, and training sessions teach pups better manners. Cats can get in on the overnight luxury in their own three-tiered abodes, and pet parents keep an eye on their furry friends via 24-hour streaming Web cam.