Animal Rescue Front (ARF) was founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as a first-responder animal-rescue team that helped save the lives of cats and dogs that survived the disaster. Focusing on one affected community in Mississippi, the organization transported more than 1,100 animals to homes and shelters that wouldn't euthanize them at locations across the country. The effort reduced the kill rate from 80 percent to zero for the first 12 months after the hurricane.
Now, ARF continues to fulfill its mission: “Until there are none save one.” The organization works to prevent companion animals from being euthanized through spay/neuter initiatives, adoption services, and educational programs. Teams in Louisiana and Mississippi also rescue animals directly from shelters that are at full capacity, and then place the animals in foster homes to socialize them and provide medical care and prepare them for adoption.
It was the early 1980s, and after devoting about a decade of her life to fitness, Zayna Gold felt like her body was beaten up. Over time, she began noticing that her high-intensity gym workouts were hurting her body as much as—if not more than—they were helping it. Her husband, Clark, was having the same problem. An avid weightlifter and runner, he found the physical wear and tear was starting to prevent him from maintaining his physique. Zayna recalled teaching Pilates early on in her career, and how it worked her entire body with low-impact movements. She returned to the lengthening and strengthening classes, and by 1989, she and Clark founded Boston Body Pilates.
Their mat, equipment, and barre classes each call upon low-impact stretches and resistance moves that strengthen the core, elongate muscles, and promote overall muscle tone. Zayna's signature program, Brand New Body, challenges students to complete 30 Pilates or barre classes over 2–3 months; and upon completion, they may notice significant changes to their figure. The schedule also includes spinning classes, in diverse variations such as Zen Spin and Spin Bootcamp. In any class, Zayna and her large team of instructors inspire their students to establish a mind-body connection, helping them to feel both physically and mentally stronger, much like solving a crossword puzzle carved in stone.
Koko FitClub’s automated personal-training system rockets both men and women toward fitness goals with 30-minute custom workouts that incorporate cardio and strength training. An initial consultation determines fitness levels and baseline measurements, which Koko’s computerized equipment uses to design a tailored workout plan that precisely measures the weight, pace, and rest time appropriate for each exerciser.
The Koko machines guide exercisers through each workout and adapt as the user’s fitness needs change in order to constantly challenge the body. Designed by professional trainers, workouts maximize the body’s lean-muscle mass, which can boost metabolism and help fight off disease by challenging viruses to kickboxing matches. Exercisers can track their shrinking waistlines and swelling muscles online by analyzing workout scores and comparing individual fitness levels to the Koko FitClub community.
When Malcolm and Mandy Sim welcomed two children into the world, the veterans of both the animation and theme-park industries visited numerous indoor play centers in Los Angeles, hoping to find the one that best suited their kids. Nothing quite clicked, however, which inspired the parents to call upon their entertainment backgrounds and develop their own indoor facility. Since relocating to the Boston area, the Sims have opened Jam Time, where youngsters ages 3 months to 6 years can surmount climbing structures, leap about in a bounce house, or shop in a pretend grocery market before whipping up faux soufflés in the playhouse kitchen. Classroom sessions further engage tykes with art projects, science classes, and princess-etiquette lessons, where young ladies learn to detect whether evil witches have booby-trapped their science projects. Soft play toys engage visiting toddlers and infants, while adults surf free WiFi, sip gourmet coffee, or enjoy a treat from the organic snack bar.
Henry Houh has earned four degrees—including a Ph.D.—from MIT, patented seven inventions in the United States and Europe, founded several tech start-ups, and even played on the famous MIT blackjack team portrayed in the film “21”. Instead of spending his afternoons toasting flutes of champagne with other successful entrepreneurs and scientists, Henry works with kids. When he’s not raising his own three tykes, he’s educating other youngsters at local schools, museums, or his own venture, Einstein's Workshop.
Henry and his staff fill the 7,000-square foot Einstein’s Workshop with hands-on activities designed to teach scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical concepts in a fun, engaging way. Inside the main play space, youngsters can solve stacking puzzles, build elaborate LEGO and K'Nex structures, or assemble electronic devices using Snap Circuits. Classes delve deeper into various scientific subjects, from 2D and 3D computer-aided design workshops to classes where students create robots using LEGO WeDo and Mindstorms kits. Einstein's Workshop even caters some courses to curious adults, such as sessions that explain how to operate a laser cutter or implant a cleanliness microchip into messy roommates.