Operating under the Fayetteville Urban Ministry, the not-for-profit mentors of Find-A-Friend strive to positively impact the lives of adolescents between the ages of 6 and 19 years old who are in or at risk of becoming part of the juvenile-court system. Through the FAF's primary goals—helping youth to channel energy in constructive ways, developing social skills, bolstering self-esteem, and fostering a positive attitude toward education and flossing—caretakers deter the court system from placing youth into training schools.
The FAF program comprises four parts: The Governor's One-on-One program, which pairs youth with a volunteer adult who provides four hours of mentorship per week for a year; the JCPC Interpersonal Skills program, which coordinates group-guidance sessions focused on identifying life challenges and setting goals; the Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents program, which locates a mentor for youth who have at least one parent in prison; and the Support Our Students program, which furnishes academically at-risk youth with educational resources through after-school activities.
Built in 1925, the Temple Theatre first served as a vaudeville venue, later becoming a host for road shows, burlesque, and movies. However, the theatre closed in 1965, and would be subjected to disrepair, vandalism, and skeleton xylophone recitals for more than 15 years. A 1981 restoration project returned the theatre to its former glory. Today, seated under the gilded chandelier and wooden trim, theatergoers lose themselves in the thoughtful dramas enacted upon the stage.
Stars Theater & Arts Center fosters self-confidence and life skills through arts education and dramatic performance. Theatrical director Cindy Verian writes and directs, making each show a family affair by having her husband and children share the responsibilities of set construction, choreography, and sound design. Along with staging performances of musicals and original shows, Stars Theater & Arts Center also holds youth classes and camps to develop performance and personal skills. Through positive self-expression, young thespians hone creative thinking, speaking skills, and self-confidence to boost their academic performance and prepare them for upcoming congressional speeches.
Classes and performances take full advantage of Stars Theater & Arts Center's facility, which includes a 1,600-square-foot ballroom, a dance studio, and a 120-seat theater. First-time visitors take in the exterior's castle-like design and faux drawbridge flanked by archers on the lookout for acid-penned critics.
The face of the clock determines just what sort of gathering you'll find at La Residence. On Fridays at lunchtime, crepes leave the kitchen stuffed with sweet and savory fillings, from sriracha-spiced shrimp to bananas and chocolate. But as the sky darkens, a more classical air settles over the dining room. The fireplace begins to crackle, and patio lights flicker on above brick flooring. Now, Executive Chef Lemar Farrington and his team begin to prep appetizers of baked brie and warm bruschetta—overtures to an innovative French supper. They fill crispy pot pies with fresh seafood while monitoring pink cuts of filet mignon. Every night finds them experimenting with a different risotto and fish, just as each season heralds a new menu, replete with ingredients from local farms.
Even when dusk has come and gone, the restaurant doesn't sleep. Four nights a week, it becomes a late-night cocktail lounge: Cafe LaRez. Guests sip on mojitos, mint juleps, and French 75s made with gin and champagne. A dance floor beckons to antsy feet, but sitting-room corners and a terrace by Rosemary Street provide space for quieter chats. On some evenings, the restaurant even hosts weddings, amplifying the romance of the occasion with its rose gardens and historical charm.
Guests who pull up to the Summer Picnic Concert Series might find themselves torn between lounging and dancing. On the one hand, there's the lush, picnic-ready lawn of Cypress Bend Vineyards' pastoral grounds; on the other, there are the shuffling native sounds of Carolina beach music boogying from the stage. The three-piece team of Joyner, Young & Marie seamlessly shifts gears from power ballads such as "Frozen in Time" to twangy, up-tempo numbers such as "Live the Blues." The Sand Band plays up their dance, blues, and classic-rock influences, combining soulful melodies with eminently danceable beats.