United Volunteers' knowledgeable staff lines the shelves with a vast inventory of upscale clothing, furniture, and wares, and uses all proceeds to help disadvantaged people. Peruse well-organized racks or enlist a shop guru to help you locate properly fitting shirts or pants for casual barbecues ($3–$5) or studded leather jackets and pants for crashing casual barbecues. Younger shoppers can don kid-size clothing ($1.10–$2) or challenge their minds with a puzzle or board game ($0.50–$2). Furniture, such as sofas ($100–$150) and recliners ($35), cradles spines while supplying the adequate recumbence to take in a book ($1 for hardcovers, $0.50 for paperbacks), DVD ($3), or impromptu nap. The ever-rotating inventory, which passes through a gauntlet of highly selective sorters, brings in an assortment of other items, such as housewares and entertainment centers, and weeds out unusable items such as torn dresses and forged Declarations of Independence.
In 2010, 2-year-old Ella McPheeters was diagnosed with autism. Her parents, Hope and Sam, soon became frustrated with the long waiting lists for behavioral-therapy programs and other services and decided to do something about it. They rallied the local community and won a Pepsi Refresh Project grant to found Ella's Hope for Autism. Ella’s Hope aims to raise awareness of autism and increase the availability of therapeutic resources for young children with autism-spectrum disorders. Working with the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Ella's Hope also sponsors scholarships for families and maintains an autism lending library.
If summer could talk, it would brag about how every year, it gets to spend its final days at the Washington Town and Country Fair. The all-ages festival combines the quaintness of the old-fashioned with the marvels of modern times, much like Charlotte's Web, but with more monster trucks. Showing off the "town" part of Town and Country, classic rock and country stars perform on the main stage, while the Midway twinkles and rumbles with carnival rides. The fair shows its "country" side with livestock pavilions, farm mechanic exhibits, and Agriland, where wee ones leans the joys of farm living while participating in pig chases. Adults get to cheer on monster truck rallies, tractor pulls, bull riders, UTV, and motocross races.
Annie’s Hope sponsors a teen retreat in which small groups of bereaving teens interact with empathetic peers, explore their concerns about a recent death, and work toward healing. Group and individual activities encourage teens to develop coping strategies by expressing themselves through arts and crafts, journaling about complicated feelings, and creating mementos of their loved ones in a candle-lighting ceremony. Annie’s Hope requires additional funding to cover the costs of its next retreat, including transportation to and from the retreat site, meals and snacks for the weekend, lodging, arts-and-crafts supplies, candles, and a nursing staff.
The astronauts deftly dodge the oncoming trickle of rocks and debris from the meteor shower, and as the rubble clears they see the Moon up ahead. It is at this site that they’ll soon establish the first permanent human base. Though it sounds like science fiction, novice astronauts attempt this feat daily at Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis. Part of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education—a nonprofit founded by the families of the astronauts who died in the 1986 Challenger space-shuttle mission—the center educates visitors in science and teamwork with its space simulators. Whether navigating a spacecraft or abetting astronauts at a Mission Control modeled after NASA’s Johnson Space Center, student, community, and corporate groups must maintain a cooperative spirit while rocketing to Mars, assembling a probe, or stealing one of Saturn’s rings.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), a nonprofit health agency dedicated to combating muscular dystrophy and related diseases, has more than 200 offices across the country, including a location in St. Louis. To help combat neuromuscular dystrophy, the MDA sponsors 200 medical clinics and supports more than 300 research projects across the globe, and is the nation's largest nongovernmental funder of scientific research to seek cures and improved treatments for more than 40 neuromuscular diseases.
Along with research and public-health education, the MDA works to improve the quality of life for people with muscular dystrophy and related diseases through a variety of efforts including its national advocacy program, summer camps for children, and support groups.