Sensory-friendly: a safe play place for children with autism

The Northtown Mall in Blaine, Minnesota, bustles with activities for children: a video game arcade, furry motor scooters shaped like animals, a bungee-cord trampoline you’d expect to see at a carnival. Among the flashing lights and commotion is Tony’s Place, which opened doors in October with a mission to cultivate an inclusive play space for people who live with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), their family members and friends. Inside Tony’s Place you’ll find twinkling fairy lights wrap around various sensory swings that can hold multiple people, including children, adults and people with wheelchairs. A pallet of bubble wrap stands in an alcove, available for anyone to satisfy that tactile need. There’s a netted trampoline and physical activity center to help release physical energy. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 8/22: Expos celebrate natural black hair and beauty, encourage wellness in beauty industry

Although the Twin Cities has an increasingly diverse population of people from different racial backgrounds, Minnesota has long been considered a “flyover” state for beauty products aimed at black and brown people. However, two new beauty expos, the Twin Cities Natural Hair Expo and the Shades of Beauty Expo, are changing the conversation around POCI beauty and wellness in the Twin Cities. The two expos brought beauty practitioners from around the country to the Twin Cities who are interested in creating a beauty landscape that reflects our communities, as well as discussing the health effects for folks using damaging chemical hair products to mimic European beauty standards. “For so long, we have been left out of the discussion of what beauty looks like,” said Sherryln Thompson, Shades of Beauty Expo founder and producer. “We have been given image after image of blonde hair and blue eyes as a stereotype of beauty. Continue Reading