For low-income, undocumented, underserved, immigrant, LGBTQ, gang-affected, and otherwise at-risk youth, the path to prosperity can seem impossibly arduous. No one understands that viewpoint better than the crew at Momentum Alliance, a group composed entirely of youth who have faced down and conquered dire circumstances of their own. They leverage a number of tools at their disposal?namely a guiding cadre of coaches, a network of allies, and each other?to inspire their peers to become leaders themselves. Through programs such as summer camps and workshops, the team instills leadership skills in its charges and prepares them for the transition from vulnerable individuals into effective community advocates and decision-makers.
When the First Presbyterian Church founded Friendly House—then named the Marshall Street Community Center—in 1926, it was dedicated to a spiritual mission. But when the 1930s gave rise to the Great Depression, its focus quickly shifted to social concerns out of a desire to help those affected by the economic catastrophe. Friendly House’s scope and reach continued to expand over the next few decades, and today it enriches the lives of community members from every age group with educational, recreational, and life-sustaining services.
The neighborhood center and social-services agency help prepare children for school through playgroup and preschool programs. Friendly House also provides housing assistance and transportation for seniors and homeless families and brings the community together through martial-arts classes and other workshops.
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Whether they're dangling from a tree, a club's ceiling, or pull-up bars inside the studio, A-WOL's cohort of dancers dazzles with a unique combination of dance and aerial fitness. Classes range from aerial yoga to trapeze, helping participants fly through the air like projectile cream pies. Instructors ensure that each participant soars safely by building a strong foundation before testing out skills and tricks.
Ride Connection’s weekday door-to-door-transportation service furnishes free rides to adults ages 60 and older and to people with disabilities, connecting them to medical-care facilities, grocery stores, workplaces, and the homes of friends and family members. The nonprofit doesn't charge participants a fee for its largely volunteer-driven services, thus ensuring that those with a low-income receive equal access to transportation. For participants with limited mobility, ready access to transportation can grant a sense of independence by allowing them to travel outside of their homes in order to meet day-to-day needs.
Fences For Fido aims to facilitate change in the lives of pets and their human family members by unchaining dogs and allowing them to run free. In order to accomplish this, volunteers build custom fences and insulated doghouses for local families. They also provide shelter and veterinary care when necessary, and educate families on taking care of their dogs during extreme summer and winter temperatures. Since its inception, Fences For Fido has unchained more than 360 dogs.
Mark and Amy Meyers bought their first donkey, Izzy, more than a decade ago. Though they only sought a pet, their close relationship with Izzy inspired them to take up a cause. Soon after buying Izzy, they noticed that other donkeys in the neighborhood were suffering from abuse and neglect. They took immediate action: Amy began adopting the donkeys, and Mark spent his evenings talking to the donkeys and tending to their ailments. After they adopted their 25th donkey, they decided to start their own rescue organization, Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue.
Peaceful Valley, which currently cares for more than 1,500 donkeys, rescues domestic donkeys that have been abused or neglected and wild burros that have been displaced from their natural habitat. The donkeys are often found injured and wandering in the wilderness or are surrendered by their owners. After being rescued, they live in one of the farm sanctuaries in Texas, Oregon, or other satellite locations. Peaceful Valley has worked with capture programs, private landowners, and numerous government agencies—including the National Park Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife—to ensure that all donkeys have a safe place to live. Toward that aim, Peacefully Valley also holds clinics, trains donkey owners to better care for their animals, and educates the public about the nature and history of donkeys to improve their plight.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.