Founded in 1893, Sheltering Arms Senior Services has devoted more than a century to providing Houston’s elderly population with care, advocacy, and community support. Despite its long history, the nonprofit organization is only looking forward. Between 2011 and 2012, it provided seniors with 128,658 hours of personal-care assistance—including meal preparation and housekeeping—and fed 2,182 seniors a nutritious meal. And their specially designed Adult Day Center, which provides top-notch care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Factor in the organization's more than 20 Houston-area senior centers, where staffers offer recreational activities, health education, and legal advocacy, and it is clear that Sheltering Arms is only building upon its 120-year foundation.
Sheltering Arms' mission begins with its committed corps of staff members and volunteers. Certified nurses’ aides customize and implement home-care plans that include light housekeeping, meal prep, and medication reminders. Social workers advocate for members at risk of being institutionalized by managing their financial and health casework. Volunteers make daily safety checks on seniors who are living alone and organize arts-and-crafts classes, game nights, and dances.
Amigos volunteers—mainly high-school and college students—live and work in a host community in Latin America for six–eight weeks. Volunteers work with the community to identify potential projects, build community awareness about the selected project, and organize local fundraisers to offset project costs. Past projects have included painting schools, establishing wool cooperatives, and laying new pipe to bring in clean water. In addition to improving communities, the projects help improve volunteers’ confidence, problem-solving, and public-speaking skills. To set the work in motion, Amigos covers the majority of the costs through private donations.
The male and female massage therapists at Touch of Health Massage soothe aches and pains deep inside muscles using a variety of massage modalities. Deep-tissue massage loosens up muscles with finger pressure and slow strokes. Trigger-point massage alternates between gentle and firm pressure to target the branching channels of pain that spread throughout the body. Thai massage combines traditional massage techniques with stretching to ease musculoskeletal ailments, increase joint mobility, and tame muscle spasms. Therapists also soothe pain-racked jaws by gently massaging clients from the shoulders to the scalp, or by convincing the upper teeth to stop fighting with the lower teeth.
Trees for Houston has been dedicated to planting, protecting, and promoting trees for more than a quarter century. In that time, the organization has helped more than 420,000 trees spread their roots in the Houston community. Its mission is to use the benefits of lush vegetation to improve air quality, slow storm-water runoff, reduce urban heat, and reestablish the connection of people with nature.
Volunteer projects educate communities about urban forestry and reforestation. In addition to planting at schools, parks, and medians, Trees for Houston's volunteers donate seedlings at events, and work with third- and fourth-grade students to impart the importance of trees.
Lemonade Day helps youth become productive members of society by teaching them how to start, own, and operate their own businesses. With the help of adults who serves as their mentors, children can participate in the annual Lemonade Day, when thousands of children open lemonade stands for business. Children prepare for the day by studying entrepreneurship lessons and working with their mentor to learn how to set goals, secure an investor, and other crucial steps for a successful business. Along with learning necessary entrepreneurship skills to help them understand the basic principles of business and become successful in the future, children keep the money earned from their lemonade stand. After covering their expenses and paying back their investors, they are encouraged to open a bank account or share some of the profits with a local charity of their choice.
The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. DetermiNation is the American Cancer Society’s endurance program that will train you for a marathon or half-marathon while you fundraise to fight cancer.
The kindhearted grassroots gallopers at the 10th annual Run to Cure HD race and Team Hope Walk lunge and leap to raise awareness and needed funds to fight Huntington’s Disease. Whether pushing the envelope in the competitive run, enjoying a leisurely run for fun, casually walking with the pack, or impressing onlookers with a practiced moonwalk, caring bipeds can sweat comfortably knowing that every limb movement goes toward a good cause. Compare times, goody bags, and calf flexes at the post-race party, where philanthropic sprinters can dive into a vat of complimentary snacks and beverages. One overall female and male champion will take home the Shirley Whitley Memorial grand prize, which awards each with an expense-paid January trip to the Carlsbad Marathon in San Diego.