Charity & Grassroots in San Miguel Ranch

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My Kids Clubhouse supervisors watch over open play as socked feet scamper through a ball pit and a mesh tunnel opening onto three slides. Across the open-format playroom floor, youngsters as old as 8 direct their own imaginative adventures in a play kitchen, soft-block area, dress-up area, and puppet theater.

Parents can drop their kids off through a secure check-in service, join their progeny on the playroom floor, or sip coffee in the Wi-Fi–enabled Clubhouse Café. In addition to holding open play hours, My Kids Clubhouse hosts two-hour birthday parties, including a slumber party option and a dinosaur-themed blowout with 3.5 billion candles to celebrate the birth of life on Earth.

My Kids Clubhouse founder Stephanie Antin opened her indoor playrooms after a disappointing search for creative play options for her own three children. She teamed up with business maven Jeri Price Smith to open two recreational locations in Poway and Bonita. Child development consultant Debbie Cazares funnels 20 years of education experience, a master's degree in Developmental Psychology, and 10 years of experience as a child to design the most creative and educational programs.

5034 Bonita Rd
Bonita,
CA
US

Named one of Sunset magazine's Top 10 Western Gardens, The Water Conservation Garden promotes wise fluid use through educational exhibits and instructive programs. Nearly 5 acres of beautifully themed flower beds, vegetable plots, and native plant patches showcase ways to enhance the landscape and make the most of your yard without slurping the world's aquifers through a sprinkler-sized straw.

12122 Cuyamaca College Dr W
El Cajon,
CA
US

Part of an international organization that aids businesses throughout the Americas and Africa, ACCION San Diego aims to increase income and access to jobs for self-employed men and women. It provides small businesses with microloans that range from $300 to $35,000, which can fund necessities to stabilize growth and help build good credit. In 2011, ACCION presented 98 small businesses with $1.1 million in loans, and continues to focus on helping individuals who are underserved or do not have access to traditional financing. ACCION also hosts free workshops and events to teach business owners new skills in financing, social media marketing, and QuickBooks.

404 Euclid Ave
San Diego,
CA
US

At each of several one-day festivals held throughout the country, thousands of revelers unite in an epic clash of pulp, beer, and live music. Armed with a cache of 300,000 tomatoes, participants don protective bathing suits and goggles and hurl the fruit at one another during a two-hour battle. Throughout the afternoon, live music and costume contests offer an entertaining respite from the front lines, as bartenders dispense drafts of beer to attendees older than 21, refueling soldiers' morale before they resign to writing goodbye letters to their produce vendors back home. All tomatoes used during the event are past ripe and already fated for disposal, making the battle an efficient means of tossing them before their cursed transformation into singing Muppets.

404 Euclid Ave
San Diego,
CA
US

The AjA Project’s semester-long Social Justice program guides student explorations of culture and identity, and promotes discussions of racial tension with the goal of preempting bullying and physical violence. Provided with photography training and the use of cameras, 100 young participants then create visual narratives that illustrate their own stories and reflect upon the problems facing their communities. Since 2000, the AjA Project's programs have helped more than 1,200 students to express themselves through photography, and displayed their narratives to more than one million viewers online and in galleries. The organization currently needs new digital cameras with basic accessories for students participating in the Social Justice program.

5253 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego,
CA
US

Mama's Pantry shoppers come from households with an average annual income of $7,800, and often struggle to cover costs of groceries after paying for housing, health care, and other urgent needs. Although the typical shopper at Mama's Pantry is strong enough to shop and cook food independently, many rely on public transportation and struggle to carry full bags of groceries home due to the effects of their illness. A collapsible mini shopping cart can help Mama's Pantry customers to shop more comfortably and commute back home independently.

3960 Home Avenue
San Diego,
CA
US