Fed up with hearing about rude encounters between taxi drivers and the elderly, taxi dispatcher Dan Quiery decided to volunteer time in his retirement to righting these wrongs through Escorted Transportation Service Northwest (ETS/NW). Now the organization's 2011 Volunteer of the Year, according to the Daily Herald, Dan and a team of 70 volunteer drivers at ETS/NW offer both companionship and a vital service as they transport senior citizens to and from medical and dental appointments in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. The seniors often have limited transportation options and would not be able to get to their appointments without aid. Though $12 donations are requested for each ride, the drivers chip in their own money to cover the cost of the trip's gas. Still, this does not deter founder Kathy Kasprowicz and her dedicated volunteers—honored with the 2012 STAR Merit Award from The Beverly Foundation—who were proud to have provided 2,453 roundtrip rides throughout the region in 2011 alone.
ChiroXchange supports a nervous system of more than 250 nationwide locations, whose varying services and technologies all converge with the end of healing bodies with holistic, drug-free techniques. The chiropractors believe that many of the body’s ailments, from sore backs and headaches to fatigue, are caused by blockages in the nervous system. To reverse these blockages, they nudge spinal discs back into place with gentle, strategic pressure, aligning nerves with the vertebra to free the flow of information and cat photos to and from the brain. The chiropractors at each location emphasize communication with their patients. They field questions, explain the purpose of every adjustment, and work with patients to design programs around their unique wellness goals.
The Plastic Bag Solution aims to decrease the number of plastic bags left in areas such as landfills and water sources to decompose, leech toxins into the environment, and destroy natural landscapes. The organization produces a compostable bag made from a renewable blend of BPI-certified organic polymers including corn and potato starch. They naturally decompose the same way a potato would, but are as durable and waterproof as a plastic bag. The Plastic Bag Solution distributes these bags as a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based bags and raises awareness about the dangers of plastic-bag waste through community green events, lectures, and advocacy among local politicians. Staff members also show their dedication to the health of the environment by attending all of their meetings by bike.
Like most 6-year olds, Jack O'Neil enjoyed playing with toys; unlike a typical 6-year-old, though, he played with his toys in the hospital. Jack was gearing up for corrective limb-lengthening surgery, a process that affected him long after his successful recovery. Once he was healthy, Jack wanted to make sure other hospital-bound kids had toys to play with. Jack began holding charitable lemonade stands, using the proceeds to buy toys. Over time, his pastime morphed into his current charity, Little Hands Make A Big Difference. Powered by fundraisers such as an annual 5K, the kid-run organization delivers Build-A-Bears and other toys to sick tots, fueling their play and filling their imaginations with geometric shapes. For more information, see the organization’s blog.