A-SPAN provides housing and case management for people who suffer from mental illness and substance-abuse problems through two permanent, supportive housing programs. As A-SPAN continues to expand these programs, the demand for new furniture for their clients continues to grow. Not only can a new bed help clients feel more at home, A-SPAN's staff has noticed it also can make them more appreciative of their new housing, giving them a greater incentive for staying there. Due to health concerns, A-SPAN buys new beds and cannot accept donated beds.
Founded in 1944 and accredited by the Humane Society in 1977, the private, nonprofit Animal Welfare League of Arlington has helped generations of stray and abandoned animals live out their days in loving, permanent homes. Hundreds of volunteers carry out services ranging from low-cost spaying and neutering for low-income families and individuals and humane education program to animal control. Within the shelter, scores of dogs, cats, and small critters such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and parakeets await new owners to take them home once the staff has ensured their full health and good behavior. The League also hosts several events throughout the year, from an annual springtime Walk for the Animals to classes that help parents prepare their existing pets for the arrival of a new baby with its swaddling blanket made of roast beef.
When searching for a new dentist, patients prize a light touch almost as much as they do extensive training or whiz-bang technology. Fortunately, Tarek Mogharbel, DDS—who worked in District of Columbia General Hospital’s oral-surgery department and is a certified Invisalign and Lumineers practitioner—and his partner, Sun Park, DDS, both describe themselves as gentle people. This character trait translates to each of their cosmetic and family dentistry services. The doctors take special care no matter the procedure, whether it’s an exam for an anxious youngster, a teeth-whitening treatment for an adult, or a new set of porcelain veneers for a ventriloquist’s dummy locked in an eternal, unfeeling grin.
When she was a tutor to children from low-income families in Washington, DC, Kyle Zimmer was amazed by how excited students would get whenever given their own books. As she relayed in a 2011 New York Times story, this work inspired Zimmer to start First Book, an organization dedicated to making reading materials accessible to children in need.
Today, nearly 20 years after Zimmer's eureka moment, First Book works toward this goal through two channels: the First Book Marketplace, an online store with quality books—including Caldecott and Newbery award-winners—available at up to 90% below the retail price, and the First Book National Book Bank, a clearinghouse for publishers’ excess inventory. To date, the organization has distributed more than 100 million books and educational resources to 50,000 schools and programs throughout the United States and Canada—with more added each month.
The impact has been inspiring. An internal study found that 70% of children reported reading more at home after receiving books from First Book. In recognition of this and other accomplishments, the organization has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2005 Nonprofit Innovation Award and a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.
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In 1989, Karin Walser was leaving her job on the Hill when she stopped at a gas station. Several young children offered to pump her gas in exchange for change. Moved by their stories, she organized a trip to the zoo to help them experience the city in a new way. She soon founded Horton’s Kids to address the needs of children living in poverty around the city. The organization’s volunteers provide a wide range of services for participating children, including regular tutoring in reading and math and activities such as swimming lessons in local pools. In 2011, Horton’s Kids was awarded the Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management due to its long service educating and empowering the youth in Ward 8 with academic and social programs.
As their motto goes, "It's all about the music." Eschewing props, costumes, and staging for a focus on the sounds of voices and instruments, the Washington Concert Opera seeks to thrill audiences with performances by some of the profession's leading lights. Their stripped-down approach allows the company to focus on rarely produced works, from little-known Rossinis to classic Puccini B-sides.