Though its stationary cycles, strength-training machines, and free weights craft the image of a well-stocked gym, Imagine Center also aims to empower the community. Its three basketball courts have diverted at-risk teens during midnight mentorship programs, which blend gameplay with motivational life coaching. In the childcare center, staff members combat inactivity with kids' Tae Bo routines instead of rounds of Xbox keep-away. Group fitness classes strengthen camaraderie between students who pummel kickboxing targets and heft BodyPump barbells. Elsewhere, personal trainers oversee their clients' reps, and café patrons recharge after workouts. Permeating these scenes is a sense of shared strength—a feeling buoyed by the fact that the center's profits benefit community initiatives, such as inner-city outreach and crime prevention. By hosting blood drives and other special events to supplement its exercise amenities, the gym inspires its guests to work toward health on an individual and collective level.
Certified trainer Kenya Dease and his team of coaches at KD Workout give athletes a roadmap toward accomplishing their personal fitness goals. Specializing in sports-specific training, Dease designs individualized workouts for clients seeking to improve at various sports, or to lose weight and build muscle. No matter the goal, his programs combine strength training, flexibility, and agility exercises with a regimen of good nutrition and proper rest.
Certified professional photographer Gene Taylor has fine-tuned his artistic vision while working in photojournalism and portrait photography for more than 30 years. During classes at Your Photo Safari, Gene introduces students to the photographic arts and the workings of DSLR cameras. Sessions begin in classroom settings, allowing students to get acquainted with camera basics as well as advanced features such as setting white balance and reducing blur. After learning how to navigate the multiple settings and buttons on their digital cameras, students traipse to area gardens to explore the natural world through their lenses. The hands-on experience allows students to take home artfully composed shots of plants bathed in natural light or trees planking over riverbanks in a bid for Internet fame.
For 40 years, Ron's team of purification wizards has banished loitering ground grime and stains via professional cleaning services. A carpet connoisseur kicks off the cleaning process with a detailed inspection, then vacuums up dry soil and rascally animal crackers. After carefully moving furniture so that it can watch the floor-fur makeover from the sidelines, a staffer sprays carpet with a special cleaning compound designed to loosen soil and other fiber-entrenching morsels. Using a vortex cleaning system powerful enough to siphon cement through a crazy straw, a hot-water extraction treatment sanitizes and deodorizes each foot-petting strand. The process is capped off with deft carpet raking, setting fibers in a single direction and guaranteeing a shorter drying time than that of the average Muppet.
A former United States Navy fighter pilot with more than 30 years experience, chief flight instructor Cecil Tune personally selects each new member of Mint Air's staff. These handpicked educators parachute out of their offices and welcome pupils aboard a Flight Design CTLS, the company's primary training aircraft. The German-manufactured planes enclose pilots in a full-glass cockpit, allowing for unencumbered views while soaring above rolling foothills on discovery flights or certification programs. Combined with the school's ground instruction, the flight training can secure the sport, private, or commercial licenses required to finally patronize the world's floating drive-thrus. Mint Air's crew also manages and sells planes.
When discussing CT's Grillin & Chillin's atmosphere with reporters from Metromix, founder Mike Fletcher explained, "I didn't call it a sports bar on purpose." Mike wanted his eatery to be something more than just a sports bar— a place where his son could perform music, where his daughter could work during summer break, and where family and friends could gather over classic American dishes. So while the 12 televisions are often aglow with the latest sports games, on other nights, the bar hosts live music, karaoke, and trivia nights. Servers hoist plates of hearty sandwiches and spicy wings from the kitchen, while bartenders dole out mixed drinks and pour glasses from their selection of more than 25 draft brews.
Neon beer signs cast a nostalgic glow across the dark-red walls of the cavernous dining rooms, illuminating the large booths and wooden tables. A spacious area in the front of the venue is equipped with microphones and speakers, creating an ideal stage for open-mic nights or public declarations that calculus is boring, no matter what popular opinion says.