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.
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Gymboree offers a bevy of baby-engaging classes in which parents and wee ones work together to build tots' creativity and encourage development through play. Weekly classes are available for every age from the freshly born sapling to the 5-years-young wise wanderer. This deal includes rhythm-building music classes, imagination-expanding art classes, athletic sports classes, and Gymboree's most popular class, Play & Learn. The month-long membership allows you to take one class per week, with make-ups available during enrollment if you miss a class. This deal also includes unlimited attendance at Gymboree's open gym sessions (contact location for schedule).
Every Thursday, Comedy Hideaway ushers in a lineup of HBO– and Comedy Central–anointed performers, its stage still echoing with the bygone riffs of such national acts as Zach Galifianakis and Whitney Cummings. The club's founder, Andrey Belikov, often hosts and performs at the evening's revues, spinning impressions of his Ukrainian father and detailing his foibles in American society. Between sets, guests avail themselves of Petrini’s menu of Italian fare, sip laugh-loosening drinks, and stand in line for autographs from nationally touring microphone stands.
With more than 20 high-def televisions festooning their walls, Draughts Restaurant & Bar applies a full-court press to unsportsmanlike hunger with a menu that bursts at the seams with American eats and a monster selection of draught beers. Unlike marriages between roller-skates and quicksand, a glass of "Draughts" Amber Ale perfectly suits the Long Board specialty pizza ($9.95 personal, $16.95 medium, $21.95 large), which crowns fresh dough made from scratch with shrimp brushed with olive oil and garlic, and mozzarella and fontina cheeses. Or, pit a pint against Draughts' full menu of appetizers ($2.65-$10.50), sandwiches ($7.95-$11.95), pastas ($2.50-$14.95), and desserts.
A 65-foot curvilinear orange slide spits out kids into the nearly 210,000-gallon indoor pool with a splash during recreational-swim time. Twenty-five yards in length and separated into eight lanes, the pool also makes for excellent exercise. With water kept between 81 and 83 degrees, the pool also keeps muscles loose for programs, such as Aqua Zumba Fitness and Aquacize, each designed to incinerate calories and boost cardio through fun dancing and aerobic workouts. Committed to safety, the facility is supervised by top-notch lifeguards, and experienced swim instructors equip the water-bound with the skills needed to put a midsize fish in its place. To provide the community with top-notch facilities, renovation was completed in 2007 to include amenities such as changing rooms with lockers, showers, diaper-changing stations, and restrooms. Families are also welcome to relax on the outdoor patio while the little ones patter about in the splash zone.
Museum Quality Framing’s staff encases cherished photos, artwork, and three-dimensional objects in materials ranging from polished wood to leather. Ready-made photo frames ($10+) clasp snapshots in a wood-and-glass embrace, protecting them from wrinkles, stains, and the scratchy nuzzles of sentimental lumberjacks. Lackluster walls can find colorful companionship in preframed artwork and a vehicle for deep self-reflection in mirrors ($100+). Ensconce valuables in custom framing packages ($69.99+), which can accommodate sports memorabilia, or preserve fine art with archival mats and backing boards. Handcrafted frames add a Renaissance flair to photos, utilizing materials such as 22-karat gold leaf to create one-of-a-kind frames.