In 2009, a group of University of Michigan students decided to give back to the community in appreciation for the scholarships they had received. They founded Appreciate + Reciprocate (A+R) to raise money for the LSA Emergency Scholarship Fund, which provides aid for undergrads facing an unforeseen financial hardship. Dedicated to the notion that finances shouldn’t pose a barrier to education, A+R raises money through bake sales, postgame cleanups, and benefit concerts to help students pay for textbooks or their rent. The organization also sponsors volunteer activities at a tutoring center, a residential home for the elderly, and local parks to help students make a positive impact on the community.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.
The classes Nataliya Pryzant teaches at her home studio may be friendly and casual, but the curriculum is born from an academic appreciation of the classics. Holding an M.F.A. she earned in Russia—the land of Brullov, Aivazovsky, and Tolstoy's finger-painting nephew, Sergei—Nataliya serves as the artist-in-residence of Rush In Academy, where she helps pupils hone their talents in drawing, painting, and calligraphy as well as pottery, sculpture, and jewelry. While adults can learn techniques in private lessons free from judging eyes, kids gather for group classes and summer camps, where Nataliya challenges them to create their own original works. She also helps high-school seniors applying to art school construct quality portfolios and make a good impression without having to bribe admissions offers by sending them flattering busts of themselves.
Before they were household names, Ellen DeGeneres, Tim Allen, and Drew Carey were performers at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase. The establishment, once dubbed by Rolling Stone as “one of the best clubs between the coasts,” has been corralling burgeoning stars to its stage since its 1984 inception when it was called Mainstreet Comedy Showcase. Several nights a week, nationally touring comedians who’ve graced the stages of Late Show with David Letterman and Showtime’s Comics Without Borders share witty observations, humorous songs, and intense eye contact with brave audience members in the front row.
As if inspired by the visitors stretching at the fitness center below, a glass spiral staircase extends to the high ceiling, where skylights illuminate the floor below. Heather DuPuis designed Vie Fitness & Spa as an oasis for healthy living, blending health-club amenities and fitness services with a light, airy atmosphere and soaring architecture.
Certified trainers keep clients engaged in an active lifestyle through programs tailored to each individual's goals and lifestyle. In barre classes, an amalgamation of Pilates, ballet, and strength exercises set to up-tempo music work to tighten abs and thighs, and spinning classes test students' endurance while reminding them of their first bicycle's eventual theft.
An onsite juice bar refuels bodies, which stay refreshed with the boutique shop's designer water bottles and hand-poured Illume candles. To unwind after a taxing workout, patrons can stop by the facility spa for a massage or facial or head to the locker rooms equipped with fluffy towels and Pure Fiji bath products with which to wash the towels.
Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable members to work on their physical well-being with a cornucopia of fitness equipment. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let The Man tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength and cardio equipment, which features built-in TVs and other media diversions. For those who exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere welcomes patrons of all ability levels, unlike schoolyard dodge-ball squads. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling.
For a dose of custom advice, patrons can seek out a personal-training session with a certified coach, who helps them assess and address their fitness goals. Clients reap the benefit of individual attention as a personal trainer helps them tackle weight loss, prepare for an arm-wrestling competition, or unveil the mysteries of arcane cable-weight machines.