Birthday Dreams’ volunteers devote themselves to one simple principle: all children deserve a birthday, regardless of economic circumstance. By working with homeless shelters and transitional-housing agencies throughout the community, they’re able to help children in need enjoy one special day of celebration. Their meticulous party planning leaves no detail unaccounted for—everything from eating utensils and personalized gifts to decorations and a fresh-baked cake ensures the child's day will be full of smiles. They encourage community involvement by soliciting handmade gifts from local crafters and inviting volunteers to bring their own children to help out at the party. Since its founding, Birthday Dreams has curated more than 1,100 birthday parties across the greater Puget Sound area, averaging about 60 celebrations each month.
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The team at Burien C.A.R.E.S. has a huge responsibility. The non-profit organization is responsible for Burien's animal control, which means?among a slew of other tasks?they rescue cats and dogs, help them get care, and ultimately find homes. A glance over the organization's Facebook page reveals that this is a never-ending effort, though there are plenty of stories with happy endings. The staff of animal lovers often share information about dogs returned to their owners or cats that have found new homes.
While they mostly cater to furry clients, Burien C.A.R.E.S. also works with the occasional human, mostly through educating the community about pet care, responsible pet ownership, and what to do once a dog learns it can order pizza online. To support these efforts, the organization hosts occasional fundraising events.
A Pampered Pooch cares for its canine clients with grooming, daycare, and boarding services, each designed to cater to owners as well as pets. A bath, brush, and dry leaves coats fluffy and free of grime, and nail trimming or grinding keeps pets from scratching up floors while tap-dancing. Dogs who arrive for daycare entertain in off-leash areas, where they play with other pups or with plenty of provided toys. Humans headed out of town can sign up their pets for boarding, which includes large personal suites and dog beds raised off of the floor. Owners can also opt for boarding add-ons that cater to their dog’s personality; staff can take active pups for a walk around the park or treat mellower dogs to one-on-one cuddling time or a midday bath and groom.
In 2006, Bellevue First Congregational Church opened a day center to provide respite for women who are homeless, and later opened The Sophia Way as an overnight shelter. It was equipped with 10 beds for single women who have no place to go for a night's rest. Today, the organization has recently acquired an additional space that can house 21 women at a time. In addition to overnight shelter, The Sophia Way also provides a two-year subsidized apartment for 45 women at a time, along with life-skills classes and case-management services to help the women work toward financial independence.
Northwest Harvest took root more than four decades ago when a group of community leaders got together to empower underserved people. The group learned that hunger was one of the largest causes for concern in Seattle and beyond. As the years passed, Northwest Harvest's leaders found that it was more than the underserved populations who experienced food insecurity, and in fact many out-of-work middle-class families were in the same situation. So they worked to establish a partnership network of more than 325 food banks and meal programs to help extend their reach and supply nutritious food to people across the state.
Today Northwest Harvest focuses on delivering healthful meals and teaching families about nutrition while reducing overall hunger in a way that respects individual dignity. With the organization's partnership network, thousands of volunteers prepare more than 1.6 million healthful meals every month with adequate servings of fruit and vegetables. Furthermore, the distribution centers are spaced across the region to ensure rural and urban communities have an equal access to food.
Tucked into a two-story loft space, Mind Unwind is both an art gallery and a happening events space. Visitors can peruse the rotating art that cascades across the long stretch of walls or join classes such as cartooning, painting, or Paint It Up, which is hosted at local bars. Though only recently established, Mind Unwind holds fast to its vision of becoming a collective for local artists, a community outreach organization, and a space for all types of performances. A portion of all Mind Unwind event proceeds go to a non-profit that aims to reinstate art-education in schools.