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.
At DeCarlo's Bar and Grill, chefs take an innovative approach to burger making. Rather than piling toppings on the outside of the burger, they stuff flavorful ingredients—such as pepper jack cheese, bacon, or jalapenos—directly between two quarter-pound patties. These signature burgers ooze juicy fillings and gossip with every bite, and they star on a menu of pub fare also populated by hearty sandwiches, fried appetizers, customized pizzas, and a variety of draft beers and cocktails.
With Y-kiki Divers' Discover Scuba Diving class, aspiring aqua explorers can get a taste of navigating the sea's depths under the tutelage of one of Y-kiki Divers' trained staff members. After mastering basic scuba skills and concepts, each diver experiments with the weightlessness of underwater existence. Diving in the safe, supervised, chlorinated cradle of a swimming pool almost entirely prevents peanut butter and jellyfish incidents. Students must sign a liability release and fill out a medical questionnaire available on the Y-kiki Divers' website. Skippers as young as 10 can participate in this experience, but all those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. The Groupon includes all equipment except bathing suit and towel. View the schedule to see when and where classes will be held. Though not included in this Groupon, those sold on the powers of the in-ground seas can progress to open-water diving courses with Y-kiki Divers.
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.
Founder and owner of Crossfit St. Charles, Kim Wilkes, leads a task force of experienced, certified coaches in calibrating athletic, healthy bodies during one-hour strength-training and conditioning classes. CrossFit helps fitness-seekers tone and build muscles and amplify endurance through exercises that involve power-lifting, cardio routines, kettlebells, and bench-pressing characters from Transformers. Gymnastics-inspired movements, such as handstand push-ups and ring-dipping muscle-ups, challenge athletes to stretch bodies to their threshold in a manner not often offered at traditional gyms. Limited class-sizes allow each trainee to receive individualized attention from coaches and count fellow participants with the fingers on their two hands or the two hands of someone else. The trainers at Crossfit St. Charles also impart nutritional knowledge by providing pupils with advice on how to properly energize bodies. Morning and evening classes populate the gym's schedule to accommodate both A and B personalities.