The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous study facilities understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. After-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.
Conductor Clyde Baker has spent a career taking high-school and college ensembles all the way to Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Along with a team of seasoned dancers, actors, and musicians, he prepares students for success on stage and in the orchestra pit.
The school inhabits a handsome flagstone-and-stucco home base designed to produce a single harmonious chord in the event of windstorms. Within its specialized spaces, students stretch on the hardwood floors of giant dance studios and casts of triple-threats put on shows for their ardent fans on colorful sets.
The third-generation jewelers at Christian Taylor Jewelers & Gold Stash Jewelers display one-of-a-kind baubles and quality luxury brands in shops that also repair, appraise, and purchase customer jewelry. A husband-and-wife team founded the company's original Gold Stash stores, which quickly gained the trust of customers as the knowledgeable staff deftly decorated bodies with more bling than the Tin Man during his rap career. Experts in gems, silver, and gold, the couple branched into Christian Taylor stores, where artists forge custom-designed rings and necklaces based on customer whimsy. Storefronts display rare pieces, such as Ceylon sapphires or Egyptian ring pops, as well as works by established brands such as Love Links, Soldier to Soldier, and Pandora, a line of chic charm bracelets and stackable rings.
With an alumni roster that includes long lists of collegiate and professional athletes, it's clear trainers at Pro Edge Performance Training have a gift for helping folks realize their natural potential. But they don't just conduct sports-specific training, or coach those gunning for trophies. Rather, they work with exercisers of all levels, including clients who want to feel healthier, or finally run up the down-escalator that's been keeping them from their home's second floor. Many enroll in Pro Edge's fitness classes for guided workouts in a supportive environment, and some complement their regimens with personal training sessions.
A safe space. That's what the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley give to more than 43,000 kids each year. But along with keeping kids out of harm's way after school lets out, the Boys & Girls Clubs enrich children's lives though their programs. Kids get creative in arts classes, learn social interaction and fitness skills in sports programs, and prepare for the future with technology courses that ensure they won't buy stock in companies that only produce floppy discs.
But the Boys & Girls Clubs impact kids beyond afterschool care. In addition to the East Valley clubs having the first Arizona club to serve a Native American community, the clubs' Ladmo branch has Mona Dixon, who was named National Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 2010.
Her path of success, encouraged by the Boys & Girls Clubs, led her from a girl homeless and worried about her family's survival to a young woman with a full ride to college and named one of the Top 28 Most Influential Black Women in America by Essence magazine.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award–winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.