Nearly two decades ago, a group of 14 religious communities founded Sisters Place, Inc. to provide housing and support services to single-parent families. To ensure the families settled into a larger community, the organization purchased 16 apartments in the 450-unit Century Townhomes complex. Today, Sisters Place works to empower 32 families to escape the cycle of poverty by completing education and securing employment. After receiving a recommendation from a social-service agency, families who have been victims of abuse, lived with a mental illness, or struggled with addiction can move into housing and take part in support programs. Single parents with physical or mental disabilities or substance-abuse issues can live in permanent housing, whereas young parents between the ages of 18 and 35 can live in rent-assisted housing for up to two years. While in the housing, families benefit from support services including childcare, transportation, cultural opportunities, and case management to get them on the path to self-sufficiency.
Dedicated to promoting local and national concerts, Pittsburgh-based Drusky Entertainment presents Ribs on the River 3, a three-day festival and cookout. Along with a different line-up of 10 or more professional tune-makers each day, each night features a special headliner; Kiss's original spaceman Ace Frehley headlines Friday night, bluesman Kenny Wayne Shepherd tops the bill on Saturday, and rock icon Leon Russell melts any remaining intact faces on Sunday. Guests can keep fingers sticky to avoid dropping a beverage or concert program courtesy of renowned barbecue vendors including Florida Skin and Bones, Butch's Smack Your Lips BBQ, and Sgt. Oink's, who serve up saucy, slow-cooked eats throughout the show.
Touchstone Center for Crafts keeps centuries-old traditions alive in a serene compound of art studios and mountain residences. More than 100 classes take place throughout the year in eight Appalachian studios, conveniently located near inspirational landmarks such as Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater and the natural wonder of Laurel Caverns. The center's workshops range from extended weeklong affairs to weekend crash courses, covering topics from painting and drawing to glass blowing, metalwork, and flower arrangements. While learning their trade of choice, students can choose from room and board options that include private rooms, rustic cabins, and camping opportunities for those hoping to show their work to Bigfoot.
Named "Best Deli" by Pittsburgh City Paper and "Best in City" by Pittsburgh Magazine, Carson Street Deli owns up to its accolades with a menu full of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. New York-style sandwiches ($6–$8) throw plenty of elbows alongside more mild-mannered sides ($1–$3.50), salads ($4–$7), and conversational lunch-goers (free after administering a low-five handslap). Ramp up meat locker training efforts with help from the Balboa—piles of sopressata, imported Di Lusso Genoa salami, prosciutto, spicy capicola and hard salami on a French baguette ($8)—or the slightly spicier diversion, Montezuma's revenge, which melds grilled buffalo chicken breast, green and red peppers, onions, melted cheeses and hot sauce into a warm pita ($7). Vegetarians appease appetites with buffalo mozzarella layered within the handheld veggie Roma ($6).
Alpha Fitness Club shepherds exercisers of all stripes toward their desired level of svelteness with a fleet of Star Trac fitness equipment and engaging group fitness classes. Ellipticals, treadmills, and bicycles give exercisers the strength to knock stubborn calories off their bodies, and resistance machinery and free weights convince muscles to come out of their hiding places. Furthering fitness pursuits, Alpha Fitness Club’s trainer, Frank—who hails from a decorated career as a Marine, a bodybuilder, and a power-lifter—tailors his one-on-one sessions to help customers to lose weight, gain muscle, and maintain mint-condition sweatbands. Exercise classes include Zumba, spinning, Pilates, and step; the club’s schedule inspires exercisers to power through with a dose of fitness camaraderie.
Doug Crytzer holds the rare distinction of being a professional racer. When a local boy scout troop hired him to organize an adventure race for them, he discovered he loved producing races even more than running them. He founded American Adventure Sports in 1997 to indulge his new passion, while raising awareness of nature's beauty and efforts to preserve it.
Today, AAS, as Doug dubs it, organizes adventure races, triathlons, mountain bike races, and camping trips into American wildernesses across the country. The organization also has a brick and mortar store located in Pennsylvania, where staffers provide athletes with all the gear they need to compete in any of the events or go on an adventure of their own making.