Founded in 1921, Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) is an open-admission shelter that cares for approximately 7,000 animals every year—including companion animals, exotic species, farm animals, and injured or orphaned wildlife. It accepts all animals regardless of age or health condition. In 2003, DCHS partnered with the University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine to become the first organization to treat ringworm, an infectious disease once thought untreatable in animals, and has since saved the lives of more than 650 cats.
Every animal that enters DCHS’s facility receives necessary medical treatments. After being microchipped and evaluated for behavioral issues, companion animals are placed with permanent families. The organization also helps rehabilitate ill, injured, or orphaned wildlife through its Four Lakes Wildlife Center program. When not working directly with animals, DCHS advocates for humane animal laws and provides outreach programs to teach people about animal welfare.
The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin strives to ensure bicycling is safe, accessible, and fun for residents across the state to achieve its vision of making Wisconsin one of the world’s best places to ride. Along with supporting campaigns such as Bike to Work Week and youth bike camps, the federation works to create bicycle-friendly policies that support riding opportunities throughout Wisconsin, reduce air pollution, and lessen traffic congestion. At neighborhood bike rides and safety presentations, city alders, community members, and police officers are invited to participate and learn about cycling options in their neighborhoods.
The transitions-camp program runs for two weekends in February and May, and hosts activities that teach life skills such as money management, grocery shopping, and cooking healthful meals. The camp prepares young adults who will be living without their parents’ care and attendance for the first time, and participants can learn at their own pace in a relaxed camp environment away from the challenges and stresses of home and school. Campers can also learn to network with potential employers or educational programs, and work on their individual goals to achieve greater independence, such as learning to brush their own teeth or count money. Easter Seals Wisconsin is in need of additional funding to sponsor a scholarship for the transitions camp, which covers the costs of meals, lodging, staff support and care, and supplies.
As Madison residents bid good riddance to cold weather, Elements Boardshop throws open its doors to prepare for summertime activities. Rows of Element, Zero, and Darkstar skateboard decks entice visitors to shed their wheel-less shoes for more mobile transport with crisp, colorful designs and sturdy construction. T-shirts by Hurley stand at the ready to free patrons from the confining threads of suits or giant silkworm cocoons, covering torsos in purple, green, and black designs emblazoned with the company's iconic logo. Board shorts and bikinis in assorted styles are durable enough to brave rough waters or cover their owners as they lounge beachside.
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.
Founded in 1884, the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center is among the oldest community music organizations in the U.S., inviting patrons into its halls year after year to support and experience the excitement of live music. The center is home to the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra, which won the 2011 award for Best Chamber Orchestra from the Illinois Council of Orchestras. The group of in-residence musicians keep fans of classical music thoroughly entertained with concerts throughout the year and tag-team wrestling matches between the string and brass sections.