Easter Seals UCP North Carolina & Virginia, Inc. runs nine children’s care centers across the region that serve infants and children with disabilities. The care centers offer special services including speech, occupational, and physical therapy to those with disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome, in addition to classes for children with and without disabilities. Its curriculum is designed to appeal to each age group, with developmental programming for toddlers and exploratory play with toys for children up to age 8. Because the classes are inclusive, differently abled children learn together in groups, breaking down social barriers and encouraging them to help each other learn.
Many families are not emotionally or financially prepared for weathering the ordeal of a baby's stay in the NICU. Noah's Arc provides them with meals and newborn essentials, as well as information and resources relating to the challenges and health risks facing infants born prematurely. Families also receive care packages prepared and distributed by The Arc. Each care package costs $20 to assemble and contains items such as baby mitts, a pack of diapers, an infant onesie, and two pacifiers.
Located near two major children's hospitals in Charlotte’s Myers Park area, the Ronald McDonald House offers a comforting environment featuring 28 bedrooms and suites with private baths. Additionally, the facility is equipped with a community kitchen, playground, computer room, and porch. Although families are asked to donate $15 per night to stay at the house, Ronald McDonald House accommodates families in need, even if they are unable to pay the donation costs.
Angie Acosta, founder of Queen City DanceOut, has a simple motto for her students: "If you're moving, you're doing it right." This encouraging, low-pressure attitude attracts people of all ages to her dance-inspired fitness classes, which meet at 18 public locations. Angie and her instructors aim to make exercise feel like a celebration and a refreshing break rather than a dreaded routine. To this end, their classes incorporate intuitive dance moves and invigorating music. DanceOut, the signature course, blends genres as diverse as swing, hip-hop, and reggae into a workout, relying on repetition and basic choreography to keep everyone grooving. Other highlights of the curriculum include the Latin rhythms of Zumba; the Dance Impact class, which fuses dance and kickboxing; and JamStrong, a mixture of core-conditioning, dance, and fun.
Community is a central aspect of every DanceOut class. As pupils practice their twirls, they can follow both the teacher and the Jam Crew—a team of regulars who help make the steps easy to follow and can assist fellow dancers. In addition to group workouts, instructors host skill workshops such as Booty Bootcamp, where attendees learn rump-shaking techniques and how to turn any chair into a rocking chair. They also put on performances and lead private classes for special events and parties.
Each weekday, 100 Friendship Trays volunteers prepare more than 500 meals to be delivered to homebound recipients, sometimes preparing as many as 725 for one day's delivery. The volunteers deliver meals around lunch time, and each balanced meal comprises two separate containers of food—one with meat or fish and an accompanying vegetable, and one with a carbohydrate, fruit or salad, and dessert—along with a container of milk or juice. Friendship Trays drivers hand-deliver each meal to its recipient with a friendly, face-to-face greeting. Since each meal costs the organization $4.50 to prepare, it costs a total of $1,170 to provide one individual with a meal each weekday for one year, and the organization relies on outside donations to continue to provide this service.
A recent merger of Charlotte Emergency Housing, Family Promise of Charlotte, and the Workforce Initiative for Supportive Housing, Charlotte Family Housing has the opportunity to provide temporary housing for six working homeless families in a new shelter space at St. John's Baptist Church. The shelter's dormitory-style quarters provide these families with a safe place to live while proceeding through the holistic program. Before the space opens in November, the rooms require basic sleeping necessities, including mattresses and bedding.