Xplore Scuba equips erstwhile landlubbers to explore the ocean's wily blue underbelly. This basic introductory course acts as a first step toward greater subaqueous adventuring, with near-amphibious instructors first schooling students on dry land before letting them loose in controlled waters. Students wary of traditional bathtub-and-twisty-straw snorkeling will delight as Xplore Scuba professionals mold top-quality gear to their limbs and lungs, facilitating safe diving fun for the remainder of the three-hour experience.
The Academic Advantage Center Home School specializes in all levels of Spanish, French, English, Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, and standardized-test preparation. Instructors who matriculated from the country’s most prestigious universities help students reach his or her highest academic potential with coursework tailored to their unique academic struggles, such as the struggle to do algebra. Meticulously trained instructors shepherd students through challenging subject matter, writing progress reports for parents at the end of each session. With guidance from the AAC, some students have gone on to attend some of the nation's most renowned universities.
Ten-year-old John refused to wear socks. His Asperger’s made him hypersensitive to touch and unpredictably violent with siblings and classmates. Four years on medication weren’t bringing the results his parents were hoping for, so they enrolled him at Brain Balance Achievement Centers, a network of therapeutic facilities aiming to assuage the symptoms of kids’ behavioral disorders without the use of pharmaceuticals. Within three months of starting his program, John’s tantrums lessened significantly, he became a member of the Boy Scouts, and his doctor approved eliminating his medication.
John’s journey is just one of many success stories shared by Brain Balance. Their programs strive to remedy the adverse effects of functional disconnection, a miscommunication between the two hemispheres of the brain, which they believe to be the root of conditions such as autism, dyslexia, and ADHD.
After an assessment of a child's physical and cognitive ability, a team of professionals designs a custom program of academic exercises, sensory-motor activities, and nutritional changes that can improve brain function. Along the way, continual feedback keeps families notified of the child’s progress. To achieve further awareness of developments in children’s neuroscience, Brain Balance partners with various research facilities such as New York’s F. R. Carrick Institute and the Children’s Autism Hope Project.
Angie Acosta, founder of Queen City DanceOut, has a simple motto for her students: "If you're moving, you're doing it right." This encouraging, low-pressure attitude attracts people of all ages to her dance-inspired fitness classes, which meet at 18 public locations. Angie and her instructors aim to make exercise feel like a celebration and a refreshing break rather than a dreaded routine. To this end, their classes incorporate intuitive dance moves and invigorating music. DanceOut, the signature course, blends genres as diverse as swing, hip-hop, and reggae into a workout, relying on repetition and basic choreography to keep everyone grooving. Other highlights of the curriculum include the Latin rhythms of Zumba; the Dance Impact class, which fuses dance and kickboxing; and JamStrong, a mixture of core-conditioning, dance, and fun.
Community is a central aspect of every DanceOut class. As pupils practice their twirls, they can follow both the teacher and the Jam Crew—a team of regulars who help make the steps easy to follow and can assist fellow dancers. In addition to group workouts, instructors host skill workshops such as Booty Bootcamp, where attendees learn rump-shaking techniques and how to turn any chair into a rocking chair. They also put on performances and lead private classes for special events and parties.
HandPicked's bauble boutiques brandish original, elegant adornments and sterling-silver jewelry handcrafted by artisans from around the world. HandPicked originals such as the Tiny Twinklers studs ($12) grant wishes for lonely lobes, and bare wrists find themselves encased in the turquoise globes of the For The Nurturing Center bracelet ($32), which pleases its parents by donating a percentage of proceeds to its namesake, a local therapeutic treatment center for child abuse.