Jennifer Arnold was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as a teenager and spent two years in a wheelchair. A local organization at the time trained service dogs to help people in wheelchairs, but it had a long waiting list, so Jennifer and her family went on to spend the next 10 years organizing Canine Assistants to connect people with service dogs. Canine Assistants trains dogs and places them with recipients that have physical disabilities, seizure disorders, and special needs. The dogs can assist with a variety of everyday tasks, such as turning on lights, opening doors, retrieving dropped objects, and providing companionship. Specially trained seizure-response dogs can also remain next to recipients during episodes and summon help. Canine Assistants also takes trained dogs on educational presentations around the region where they meet with students and people in hospitals to teach about disabilities. A new K-9 kids' reading program aims to motivates children to learn to read by letting them read aloud to the dogs, putting them at ease with a companion from whom they will receive no judgment.
The YMCA of Coastal Georgia promotes healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility through a variety of fitness and wellness classes. Membership includes access to gymnasiums, pools, strength and cardio equipment, and group exercise classes such as Contoured Bodies at the Effingham branch, in which simple deep-muscle movements tone the body to improve posture, balance, flexibility, and the likelihood of causing nearby coworkers to sit up straighter in their chairs. Various locations host traditional yoga and flexibility-technique classes, and Zumba classes fuse energetic music with calorie-burning dance moves for a lively workout experience. Groupon buyers also receive $25 to use toward classes, programs, and benefits not included in the monthly membership, such as a 30-minute massage from a licensed massage therapist ($25 for members), or a fall youth soccer session ($50+ for members) that teaches good sportsmanship, the value of exercise, and the importance of being able to manipulate a large object with one's forehead.
Talking Rock Pottery caters to bursts of ceramic expression. Customers can choose the perfect piece, such as a dragon, teapot, or witch figurine, from its wall of unpainted pottery, add their own unique colors, and later pick up a freshly glazed work of art. For those who want to share the pottery-painting experience, Talking Rock Pottery also offers parties.
In WhirlyBall, participants maneuver free-range bumper cars and use a handheld scoop to collect wiffle balls to launch at the overhead targets located on either end of the court. You'll work together in teams of up to five at a time (up to 20 players are allowed on the court at once, and at least 10 are required) to crush your opponents in a whirlywind of scoops and balls. Surrounded by safety bumpers, your vehicle enjoys a complete range of motion with powerful steering that allows you to turn on a whim or a dime. If more than 20 Whirlers are in the party, players can be rotated in and watch from the comfort of leather lounge couches instead of gathering posterior splinters on the end of a rigid bench.
It’s hard to find a monkey to attend a child’s birthday party, and even harder to find a purple one. But at Monkey Joe’s, the furry purple mascot makes an appearance at every child’s party, delighting kids already excited by the inflatable-filled play area.
Youngsters whoosh down colorful slides, bounce in jump areas, and build agility in its obstacle courses. While their kids safely frolic on sanitized inflatables supervised by staffers, parents can relax in an adult area with free WiFi, flat-screen TVs, and computer stations, as well as refreshments at the concession area. Kids 3 years old and younger have a separate play area, meaning they can happily play without having to listen to the elderly 11-year-olds talk about “when I was your age.”