At the Vancouver Elite Gymnastics Academy, professional instructors, including Olympic bronze medalist Zdravko Stoianov, design gymnastics, dance, and fencing classes to increase the strength, flexibility, and self-awareness of each student. Inside of the 17,000-square-foot facility, gymnasts of all ages and skill levels can learn fundamentals, technique, and agility, while dancers can hone jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, and ballet abilities. Fencing classes implement classical Italian instruction for both beginner and advanced students, preparing them for showdowns with scarlet pimpernels and orchestra conductors run amok.
Since 1966, Outdoor School has been supplementing Oregon’s public-education system with lessons on the environment, ecology, natural resources, and flora and fauna held in a camp setting. Friends of Outdoor School was recently founded to preserve this experience for youth and to make it available to all students regardless of their socio-economic statuses.
During day-camp courses, student leaders from local high schools work with middle-school students to explore the wonders of science through hands-on outdoor activities and traditional camp experiences. Students remain active from sun up to sun down, conducting field studies, engaging in recreational activities, preparing meals, and building campfires. The student leaders emerge from the experience with greater leadership abilities and both sets of students can bring their newfound knowledge to their science and math classes.
Hands & Voices was originally founded to unite people within the deaf community who had chosen different methods of communication. It began when a parent-support group in Colorado witnessed a national debate over the merits of oral versus ASL communication within the deaf community in response to an exhibit at the Smithsonian. Aggrieved by anger that resulted in the exhibit being shut down, the parents worked to create an entity that would represent and aid all deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
A local autonomous chapter of this national movement, Hands & Voices of Oregon helps new parents of deaf and hard-of-hearing children. When children do not pass the newborn hearing screening, Hands & Voices of Oregon contacts their families with information about follow-up diagnostics and educational and communication services. Each family also gains access to a guide who can provide emotional support, connect parents to resources and other families, and attend developmental planning meetings at schools.