Established in 1985, the Ronald McDonald House of Akron serves as a home away from home for families with children hospitalized at the nearby Akron Children’s Hospital. With amenities that include private rooms and bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and free laundry facilities and indoor and outdoor play areas, the house serves as a comfortable respite where families can rest and recuperate after emotionally draining hospital visits. Most importantly, it ensures that parents can remain close to their hospitalized child and focus on the child’s care rather than where they can afford to stay or get meals. Although guests are asked to donate $10 per night, no families are ever turned away due to an inability to pay. Housing costs are largely funded by community donations and fundraising efforts.
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Dancing Classrooms Northeast Ohio (DCNEO), which builds confidence, respect, and self-esteem through the practice of social dance, aims to help youth break down social barriers and learn to communicate with a new set of behavioral skills. Teaching artists lead classes of fifth- and eighth-grade students through 10 weeks of ballroom-dancing lessons that are held twice a week during the normal school day. To make lessons accessible and ease children into a new endeavor, they incorporate pictures and stories and connect dance terms to food, transforming feet into chopsticks and dance frame into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In addition to dance, DCNEO also enriches children’s education with opportunities to create visual artwork, poetry, and original songs. At the end of the course, students showcase their dancing skills and other projects completed during the program at a performance for friends and family.
Although the symbol of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a small pink ribbon, it represents a powerhouse of breast-cancer research and education. The rallying cry of "I am the cure" represents the foundation's multifaceted approach to fighting the disease, which focuses on community outreach, public perception of the disease, and funding for scientific research. Susan G. Komen for the Cure's work has helped increase early detection, survival rates, and federal funding of groundbreaking breast-cancer research.
Beyond its signature pink ribbon–bedecked merchandise, the Race for the Cure is the centerpiece of the foundation's fundraising and outreach efforts. Originally an 800-person charity race in Dallas, Race for the Cure has blossomed into a series of more than 150 races worldwide, which collectively host more than 1.7 million participants annually. Marathoners, runners, and walkers alike collect sponsorship donations from friends and family as they tackle races of varying lengths, wearing personalized signs on their backs to honor the breast-cancer victims and survivors in their lives. To date, Race for the Cure has raised more than $1.9 billion to support Komen initiatives. The Northeast Ohio affiliate serves 22 counties, and 75% of its net funds earned stay within the area, while the remaining 25% go to global research.
Berea Animal Rescue Friends (ARF) started in a family garage outside of Cleveland after a small group of animal lovers recognized the desperate housing and healthcare needs of homeless animals in the area. Now, 20 years later, ARF continues to help stray and abandoned animals by providing shelter, food, and medical necessities—as well as loving care and companionship—in a more formal facility for as long as needed. In addition to traditional adoption services for cats and dogs, ARF also runs temporary foster-care programs and partners with a correctional facility to operate a prison foster program in which dogs receive basic obedience training.