RescueCats, Inc. is a no-kill group dedicated to caring for homeless and owner-surrendered cats. While cats are waiting to be placed in loving, permanent homes, volunteers provide them with shelter and any necessary medical care, including spay or neuter procedures to prevent pet overpopulation and special supplements for those with feline leukemia virus. They also host weekly adoption fairs at PetSmart to increase each cat’s chances of being adopted. During its 13 years of operation, RescueCats, Inc. has found loving homes for more than 5,700 cats and kittens.
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When he isn’t exploring underwater or volunteering at the Georgia Aquarium, Jacob Moore, founder and owner of Living Water Conservation and Scuba Inc. and The Order of Atlantis, shares his scuba knowledge with students during classes. A NAUI-certified scuba instructor, Jacob leads courses that range from skin-diver and scuba certification to advanced scuba-diving and instructor courses. He also leads expeditions during which students and instructors alike can use their skills to explore reefs, caves, and wildlife at destinations such as Ginnie Springs, Panama City, and Ponce de Leon, Florida.
Since banding together in 1979, the historians at Atlanta Preservation Center have helped ward off packs of angry bulldozers from more than 175 endangered buildings. Working alongside local government, businesses, and community leaders, the preservation team has saved elaborate structures including the Peters House and Winecoff Hotel. In addition, its headquarters—the 1856 Grant Mansion in Grant Park—is one of just three antebellum houses left in Atlanta and the team is currently working to restore the building to its architecturally accurate origins. When it isn’t keeping delicate treasures from crumbling, the Atlanta Preservation Center leads walking tours of historic areas and tells embarrassing stories from the days when the city’s buildings were just a bunch of baby bricks.
Piedmont Park preserves the luxury of yesteryear. Designed in the late 1800s, the park's facilities have withstood the test of time with recreational halls that reflect the simplicity of its lush landscapes, and wetlands. Over the past 20 years, the Piedmont Park Conservancy has restored the park to its historic natural beauty, transforming a dilapidated space into a frequented green space. A slew of activities engage the community with outdoor programs ranging from environmental day camps to team sports such as soccer and softball. Park tours explore the history of the neighborhood and the weekly Green Market whets appetites with fresh produce from local farmers and thieving rabbits.
Known for guiding the women of The Real Housewives of Atlanta through ab-strengthening moves, the instructors at the Nazeem Allayl Belly Dance Studio started as a professional dance troupe before opening a studio in 1999. Now with 32 classes offered under one roof, the Nazeem Allayl Belly Dance Studio aims to boost the self-confidence of its all-female students during drop-in Shimmy Fit classes and five-week technique courses. Instructors disguise calorie-blasting exercises with engaging choreography so that students can tone muscles without spending the day trying to slip an oiled-up pig into a wetsuit.
In 1860, three women in Hartford Connecticut believed that the boys they saw lollygagging in the streets should have something better to do with their time. So they made sure they did. They started a club that gave the boys constructive, community-based activities that helped forge their characters. In the 150 years since, this idea has spread from a community cause to a national sensation, with that first club inspiring more than 1,140 independent organizations to form since. Today, Boys & Girls Clubs of America reach more than 4,000 communities, giving children?including the child versions of spokespeople Denzel Washington and Jennifer Lopez?positive outlets for their spare time.
The Clubs' programs touch on everything from volunteer-service days to bake sales and zoo field trips. Yet no matter what the specific activity, participating students gain a connection with and respect for their community, enhancing their communication skills and self-esteem. The organization also focuses on specific goals through tailored programs, helping build leadership skills, artistic talents, or the knowledge necessary to compete in the job market.