In 2010, 2-year-old Ella McPheeters was diagnosed with autism. Her parents, Hope and Sam, soon became frustrated with the long waiting lists for behavioral-therapy programs and other services and decided to do something about it. They rallied the local community and won a Pepsi Refresh Project grant to found Ella's Hope for Autism. Ella’s Hope aims to raise awareness of autism and increase the availability of therapeutic resources for young children with autism-spectrum disorders. Working with the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Ella's Hope also sponsors scholarships for families and maintains an autism lending library.
As a Pivot Point member school, the Academy of Beauty has been offering top-notch cosmetology training for aspiring mane tamers and skin smoothers for more than 25 years. At the academy salon, noodle nests are nurtured by student stylists working under the watchful eyes of licensed educators and Adonia, the Greek goddess of Brazilian blowouts. Each haircut begins with a relaxing scalp massage to lull scared strands out of hiding before shampooing, snipping, and shaping them to the height of follicular fashion. Brighten dull dreads with all-over color (a $30+ value), lift lazy locks with a perm (a $35+ value), or loosen tress tension brought on by years of supporting your many fruit hats with a relaxer (a $45+ value).
For more than 25 years, The St. Louis Funny Bone has hosted national touring acts and local comedic talent in its cozy club for diverse 90-minute stand-up sets. While headlining jokesters dominate weekend slots, humorous hopefuls can sign up for Tuesday night open mics. During open mics, 12 to 20 performers test out their material in four-minute slots. The club strictly adheres to the time constraint, reprimanding participants who exceed 240 seconds with a month-long ban from the club and a nuggie administered by the nearest carrot top. Up to 300 attendees per show can witness these plunders and successes while sitting in either the VIP or general admission areas. Both sections offer alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, along with appetizers such as pizza slices, chicken wings, and toasted raviolis.
As the only team to appear in the championship series for three straight seasons, the River City Rascals continue their dominance of the independent Frontier League. At their home stadium, T.R. Hughes Ballpark—the same field where players such as the St. Louis Cardinals' Josh Kinney and the New York Yankees' Justin Christian cut their major-league teeth by gnawing on aluminum bats—the River City Rascals face challenges from division rivals amid crowd-pleasing antics such as dizzy-bat races. On the field, outfielder Stephen Holdren returns after leading last year's playoffs with three homers and eight RBIs, and first-baseman Chris Andreas dons a Rascals uniform for the first time after hitting 0.336 with the Arizona Mariners. Throughout the season, several games feature special promotions such as a Salute to the Troops on August 29 and regular giveaways of posters and lifelike busts of managers' giant bobbing heads.
United Volunteers' knowledgeable staff lines the shelves with a vast inventory of upscale clothing, furniture, and wares, and uses all proceeds to help disadvantaged people. Peruse well-organized racks or enlist a shop guru to help you locate properly fitting shirts or pants for casual barbecues ($3–$5) or studded leather jackets and pants for crashing casual barbecues. Younger shoppers can don kid-size clothing ($1.10–$2) or challenge their minds with a puzzle or board game ($0.50–$2). Furniture, such as sofas ($100–$150) and recliners ($35), cradles spines while supplying the adequate recumbence to take in a book ($1 for hardcovers, $0.50 for paperbacks), DVD ($3), or impromptu nap. The ever-rotating inventory, which passes through a gauntlet of highly selective sorters, brings in an assortment of other items, such as housewares and entertainment centers, and weeds out unusable items such as torn dresses and forged Declarations of Independence.
Balls-n-Strikes has helped hone the baseball and softball skills of more than 100,000 young sluggers over the course of two decades. Camps run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday (with Friday reserved as an alternate day in case of rain) throughout June, July, and the first week of August. Unlike summer etiquette lessons or math camp, four days of baseball camp keeps kids active and healthy while teaching them social skills and confidence. Whether or not kids go on to become players, they’ll learn the importance of sportsmanship as the friendly instructors make each day fun. Balls-n-Strikes pairs one certified instructor to every six kids. This ensures that the game will not have to go into the 16th inning before your child gets a chance to bat, and also removes the need to make up additional outfield positions such as "assistant to the regional shortstop" and "human foul pole." Boys and girls must provide their own gloves, bats, and sack lunches before hitting the diamond.
Named St. Louis’s Best Driving Range by the Riverfront Times in 2007, Family Golf & Learning Center earns praise as an encouraging environment in which golfers of all levels can hone their games. The lighted range boosts golfers with a second story of hitting stations stacked on top of the first that offers a bird’s-eye view, if that bird is sitting on the head of a giraffe. The range also features both real zoysia-grass tees as well as artificial-turf tees, and it stays open year-round thanks to heaters that prevent golf clubs’ handles from developing frostbite.
Once thoroughly limbered up, golfers can tee off on the par 3 course, where a maximum hole length of 160 yards allows for practice with short strokes and putting. Should self-improvement reach a plateau, the center’s instructors stand ready to help players make further strides through onsite lessons.
Course at a Glance: