Books Through Bars, Inc. provides free reading materials for prisoners across the country. Every month, it receives more than 120 letters from prisoners requesting books. The organization responds by sending donated volumes from individuals, libraries, and community organizations, making selections based on the stated preferences of the inmate. Reading the books provides a productive activity for the inmates and can help them develop politically, spiritually, and academically during their time in prison.
At Little Folks School, learning happens all the time, falling into one of two categories: structured or organic. Preschoolers (between ages 3 and 4) and pre-kindergarteners (between ages 4 and 5) spend their mornings immersed in storytelling, playtime, and learning basic reading and writing, which naturally fosters social learning. They'll form new friendships and work to solve conflicts with peers in a way that will augment their new academic skills once they start kindergarten.
Bally Total Fitness enshrines exercise classes, calorie-burning equipment, and a fitness-focused staff within its sanctuaries of health. A 30-day guest pass includes access to a spread of group exercise classes, including Pilates, Reaction Cycling, Step Fitness, and High-Impact Hopscotch (class offerings vary by location). For self-guided worker-outers, cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, cross-trainers, and stair climbers work to torch calories while entertaining the brain with video entertainment and integrated music systems that occasionally whisper quotes from Charles Atlas. Bally also boasts a bulk-building army of strength machines, free weights, and small-apparatus equipment, and grants gym-goers access to on-site locker rooms, showers, and, at some locations, a pool and steam room, ideal for drenching annoyingly dry towels. Visit each location's webpage for a list of specific amenities and the lineup of classes.
Bar 101's amiable atmosphere plays host to an expansive menu of burgers, pizzas, and bar delicacies that set the stage for weekly events. Rich layers of crumbled bleu cheese, bacon, and ranch dressing smother the pepper-encrusted black and bleu burger ($8), while the thai crunch salad chauffeurs bites of grilled chicken, mixed greens, chow mein, wasabi peas, and rice wine peanut vinaigrette ($8) safely to hungering mouths. As the night stretches on toward a 1 a.m. closing time, grilled pizzas ($7–$8) such as the loaded potato, topped with bacon, potatoes, monterey jack, and garlic oil, accompany a hearty list of martinis and wines set to grease tall tales of champion fish and game-show-winning sharks.
Fitness trainer Paul Dexter knows that actions speak louder than words. That’s why the former Bally’s Total Fitness director became nationally ranked as a natural bodybuilder, proving he had the goods to transform his body and the bodies of others. To give his clients a more personal experience, Paul left Bally’s and teamed up with his wife Laura to open Dexter Training Concepts.
Along with a team of certified trainers, Paul and Laura lead personal-training sessions that approach fitness using a three-pronged philosophy: strength training, cardio exercise, and nutrition. They put these fitness pillars into practice inside a 5,000-square-foot gym, which holds training sessions as well as yoga, Pilates, cardio-kickboxing, boot-camp, and aerobics classes. Free weights and machines occupy most of the gym floor, a juice bar fuels athletes in between sessions, and an onsite licensed massage therapist soothes aching muscles with practiced strokes and whispered sweet nothings.
Led by experienced dance tutor Richard Maddalena, Simply Ballroom leads pupils through the basic of dance. Classes cover such styles as ballroom, foxtrot, waltz, cha-cha, and swing, with remedial hokey-pokey classes for those who just never learned.