Custom Scuba’s two boats aren’t typical leisure vessels—they’re inflatable boats, originally designed for Navy SEALS. And like Navy SEALS, the company’s captains use the boats to reach hidden channels and hard-to-access waterways. However, unlike Navy SEALS, their top priority is fun. With more than 10 years of experience each, the two captains helm snorkeling adventures, fishing trips, and sunset cruises that showcase the area’s natural beauty at sites often not visited by other companies. True to its company name, the team also offers scuba classes, teaching basic underwater skills and doling out dive certifications with a teaching motto of never rushing a student and always putting safety first and cannonball competitions last.
Keri Bowers is an autism advocate. She’s a speaker, author, filmmaker, mother, and the founder of Pause4Kids. Normal People Scare Me—her 2006 film made in conjunction with her son, an aspiring filmmaker with autism—interviewed 65 people with autism, exploring seldom-asked questions such as “Do you like being autistic?” and “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Through her films, Keri has spread awareness about autism-spectrum disorders and other disabilities, but her work gets far more hands-on as well.
Pause4Kids aims to improve the quality of special education, empowers parents to support their children, and advocates for children’s legal and civil rights. Following a whole-child philosophy, the organization’s volunteers believe that special education should cover a variety of disciplines, including the academic, social-communication, emotional, and recreation realms to enable youth with disabilities to thrive among their peers. Staff members also sponsor a monthly advocacy group and regular recreational activities, such as Art-A-Thons and Abilities Awareness events.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.
The Maori people—indigenous to New Zealand—coined the phrase "kia kaha," which translates as forever strong. To them, it's not so much a boast as a life philosophy about overcoming adversity, a philosophy shared by the staff of trainers at New Zealand Fitness. They use exercise methods from around the world—be it India's yoga, Latin America's Zumba, or the world-dance-fusion art of Danzmundo—to strengthen bodies. In addition, they provide supportive coaching to strengthen the spirit.
A red carpet leads the way past a cluster of spotlights, and two large lacquered doors grant access to a low-lit room. Conversation buzzes, layered over the underlying thumping of music that emanates throughout the space. It's the quintessential modern nightclub, but Sunset Room is alive with old-school Hollywood glamour; it's decorated with crystal chandeliers and dark wood, aesthetic touches that are the very antithesis of stale chain restaurants or picnic tables set up in a cave. In the dining room, white tablecloths rest beneath the light of flickering candles, and small plates encourage sharing bites of flatbread and steak sliders. Reserved seating can make guests feel extra special, and live bands and DJs start dance parties on the dance floor. A team of mixologists also arrives on the scene to shake and stir a variety of craft cocktails and drinks at the towering bar.
The elegant mixture of cuisine, libations, and decor that constitutes Sunset Room is the brainchild of Chris Breed and James Ashford. Since 1990, Chris has been improving nightlife in Hollywood, first with the Roxbury Supper Club and now with Sunset. Chris teams up with James, who has a background as an LAPD officer and a real-estate man.
Create Studio gives kids, aspiring artists, and weekend Warhols the means to unleash their creative sides in a multitude of artistic media. A Ralph Waldo Emerson quote on each of their eco craft kits sums up their inclusive artistic approach: “Nothing in nature is exhausted in its first use.” With that spirit animating their work, the studio's staff furnishes paint, fabric, and paper, but also less-typical materials, such as plastic bottles, sunglasses, and pinecones. In addition to everyday activities, they host birthday parties, where celebrants can craft their own party hats or personalize their birthday cake by smearing frosting across the top à la a youthful Jackson Pollock.
Ghouls, goblins, angels, and bumblebee's trample through the friendly filth at the Conejo Valley Halloween Mud Run. Racers sweat in running spandex or costumes as they complete either a 5K or 10K course complete with hay bales to hurdle, walls to climb, and mud pits to throw incriminating evidence into. The prospect of warm showers greets racers as they finish, along with food vendors, exhibitors, and live music. Racers power through the muck in groups of 75–100 fellow crazies, each affixed with an electronic chip for accurate race timing.