Great Dane Friends of Ruff Love rescues great danes and other mixed-breed dogs, especially those with specials needs or health problems. Volunteers pick up the dogs from local shelters and evaluate them for temperament and health. After caring for any treatable conditions, such as heartworms or injuries that require surgery, the volunteers place the dogs in compatible foster homes. The foster families supply the dogs with food and toys, transport them to and from the vet, and bring them to events to meet potential adopters.
Angie Acosta, founder of Queen City DanceOut, has a simple motto for her students: "If you're moving, you're doing it right." This encouraging, low-pressure attitude attracts people of all ages to her dance-inspired fitness classes, which meet at 18 public locations. Angie and her instructors aim to make exercise feel like a celebration and a refreshing break rather than a dreaded routine. To this end, their classes incorporate intuitive dance moves and invigorating music. DanceOut, the signature course, blends genres as diverse as swing, hip-hop, and reggae into a workout, relying on repetition and basic choreography to keep everyone grooving. Other highlights of the curriculum include the Latin rhythms of Zumba; the Dance Impact class, which fuses dance and kickboxing; and JamStrong, a mixture of core-conditioning, dance, and fun.
Community is a central aspect of every DanceOut class. As pupils practice their twirls, they can follow both the teacher and the Jam Crew—a team of regulars who help make the steps easy to follow and can assist fellow dancers. In addition to group workouts, instructors host skill workshops such as Booty Bootcamp, where attendees learn rump-shaking techniques and how to turn any chair into a rocking chair. They also put on performances and lead private classes for special events and parties.
Easter Seals UCP North Carolina & Virginia, Inc. runs nine children’s care centers across the region that serve infants and children with disabilities. The care centers offer special services including speech, occupational, and physical therapy to those with disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome, in addition to classes for children with and without disabilities. Its curriculum is designed to appeal to each age group, with developmental programming for toddlers and exploratory play with toys for children up to age 8. Because the classes are inclusive, differently abled children learn together in groups, breaking down social barriers and encouraging them to help each other learn.
A recent merger of Charlotte Emergency Housing, Family Promise of Charlotte, and the Workforce Initiative for Supportive Housing, Charlotte Family Housing has the opportunity to provide temporary housing for six working homeless families in a new shelter space at St. John's Baptist Church. The shelter's dormitory-style quarters provide these families with a safe place to live while proceeding through the holistic program. Before the space opens in November, the rooms require basic sleeping necessities, including mattresses and bedding.
In addition to maintaining 20 gardening plots—as well as a plot specifically set aside for growing free organic produce for those in need—Cooks Community Garden plans to host classes in the coming year to encourage individuals to begin gardening as a way of lowering food costs and removing obstacles to accessing fresh, seasonal produce. Anticipated classes will cover topics ranging from gardening basics to grilling vegetables and keeping backyard chickens.