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.
There are dartboards and pool tables aplenty inside J.P's, a down-to-earth sports bar with a model pub menu. Chase your game with a sourdough BLT or a thin-crust pizza with five kinds of meat. Or, pig out on pork wings and a big plate of nachos supreme. Chicken sandwiches get their own category here; you'll find six varieties, including grilled chicken, grilled blackened chicken, and you know what, I could really go for some grilled chicken. If the weather's fair, head outside to the beer garden for the alfresco version of J.P's.
The dedicated instructors at the newly reopened The Little Gym of West County employ their 15 years of educational experience to bolster kids’ minds and bodies through noncompetitive fitness classes held in a nurturing, positive environment. The programs and classes introduce kids aged 4 months to 12 years to fun physical activities that weave in intellectual stimulation and the social skills needed to tactfully part with imaginary friends. Knee-high tots work with parents to prepare for the rigors of toddlerdom in parent and child classes, as older kids amplify self-confidence in karate, gymnastics, sports classes. Rather than overloading tykes with daunting feats such as ripping out-of-date phone books in half, the instructors engage children with regular encouragement and positive feedback to ensure their active futures are fueled by self-esteem.
Unlike summer etiquette lessons or math camp, four days of baseball keep 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."
Under the able tutelage of Ozzie Smith's Sports Academy's helpful instructors, athletes can build up speed, agility, and endurance while increasing confidence and honing their skills at baseball, softball, basketball, football, and soccer—either privately or in groups. Get individual attention in a half-hour private single softball lesson ($40), rent out a batting cage for one hour ($35), or sign up budding basketball stars ages 10–17 for a skill-focused basketball clinic ($25 each). Ozzie Smith's also offers camps, leagues, and private instruction for soccer contenders of all ages. Underlying all of Ozzie Smith’s Sports Academy's instructional lessons is a commitment to physically and mentally elevating every athlete to his or her full potential through hard work, dedication, and practice.