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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Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Each of Paint A Dream’s three studios are ringed by shelves, each stacked high with bleached-white ceramics that stare out longingly, ready to welcome creative coatings of paint. Artists pick out their ceramic soulmates from plates, platters, cups, and figurines before turning them into personalized masterpieces. Using provided paints and brushes, they adorn pieces with colorful designs, drawings, and algebraic equations. Once muses deem painting finished, staff members usher each piece away to be glazed and fired. The studios welcome walk-in creators as well as groups including class trips, birthday parties, and fundraisers.
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.
Dr. Michael Lin knows skin inside and out. After founding the Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Institute—where he has mended the skin woes of such celebrities as Cindy Chiu—Dr. Lin turned his attention to his clients' outer appearances, and the Linage Dermatology Institute was born. In this clinic, he and his team of dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and laser specialists harness advanced technology to lavish patients with clearer, smoother, and more youthful appearances. Light-based devices, such as the Sciton laser for hair removal, the ProFractional laser for wrinkle reduction, and the laser pointer for receptionist amusement, enhance exteriors with a noninvasive approach, and injectables such as Juvéderm and Botox help restore youthful radiance. For at-home care, the physician's signature line of Linage LINQ products helps keep newfound faces nourished and protected.
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.