In 1928, John H. Harris, the manager of the Sheridan Square Theatre in Pittsburgh, found a month-old baby girl abandoned in one of the theater chairs with a note asking someone to take care of her. He took her in, dedicated his social club—the Variety Club—to underwriting her support and education, and named her Catherine Variety Sheridan. Harris’s efforts drew support from other entertainers internationally, who joined together to provide aid to disadvantaged youth and children with disabilities. Today, Variety – The Children’s Charity has chapters in 14 countries and 10,000 members and works to enrich the lives of children around the world.
The Wisconsin chapter was started in 1935 by businessmen with ties to show business, and it assists children with disabilities through three programs. The Freedom Program funds durable medical equipment to grant youth greater mobility, and the Caring for Kids program donates medical equipment and therapeutic devices to local clinics and hospitals. The Future Kids program provides educational experiences for young people, including trips to museums, sporting events, and shows.
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Sometimes numbers speak louder than letters. And sometimes they come together to tell a wonderfully vociferous story: six large-screen TVs, 700 full CDs, and 2,000 music videos. That's the tale of the tape at Third Base Sports Bar & Grill, where the staff navigates around a pool table and dartboard to serve pizza, burgers, and sandwiches. The menu includes a BLT stack and a philly wrap with shredded steak, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, and mozzarella. The team rents out a party room for $15 per hour, which includes a lighting-and-sound system and a dancing stage that actually gets up and dances in front of the floors of the other rooms. The libation department complements the food team by serving Budweiser, Blue Moon, and Miller Lite.
Elite Sports Club started as an all-tennis facility, but over the years has netted a larger variety of fitness activities and services to create multi-purpose, family-oriented clubs. Elite's large facilities house high-end cardio and weight equipment such as LifeFitness, Cybex, Paramount, Matrix, Star Trac, and Precor machines, basketball/sport courts, and Pilates and GRAVITY studios (GRAVITY training encourages organic movement and exercise by using the body’s own weight as resistance). Elite's classes and group training vary by club location, but include Pilates, Body Blitz Boot Camp, Women on Weights, triathlon training, and a miscellany of junior fitness classes to teach youngsters the importance of health, nutrition, and not acting their shoe size. All locations grant their members free tennis-court time from June through August, and all can provide daycare services.
Generations At Play offers offers appealing options for both adults and children: parents can relax and chat with one another or plug into complimentary Wi-Fi while their little ones are engaged in entertaining, enriching activities. Those activities might take place in a 1,500-square-foot play area outfitted with a playhouse, slide, and toys, or in a classroom where teachers lead structured lessons. The center also offers babysitting services, giving parents a change to run errands or spend an evening on the town.
Ho-Chunk’s 60,000-square-foot gaming facility contains more than 1,100 Class II bingo slot machines and a state-of-the-art poker room. A rewards-club card preloaded with $25 worth of play lets jackpot seekers set out for an e-poker table, where digital cards are dealt to personal screens, allowing poker play to proceed exactly as it would with a paper deck and the cheesy vest of a monotonous dealer. Slot jockeys can head on over to bingo slot stations, such as the Penny Frenzy, Mystic Lamp, and Double Blazing 7’s, where betting denominations range from a single cent to $5 per play line.