Working as a pediatrician in 2004, Dr. Joe Cangas noticed that many local children didn’t wear helmets while riding their bicycles. Concerned for their safety, he began talking to children at local schools and founded Helmets First! as his mission grew. As the Helmet Doctor, he conducts regular talks at neighborhood schools, clubs, and community centers, teaching youth about the importance of wearing helmets. His organization also runs events where it distributes free helmets to youth from low-income backgrounds after measuring their heads for the proper fit. Only with a proper fit are helmets effective at preventing traumatic head injuries. Since its inception, Helmet First! has donated more than 14,000 helmets to local youth.
Good Nature's locally sourced alpaca products swathe bodies in soft fabrics that cry out for gentle cheek rubs. Alpaca socks ($15–$22) enclose feet in their warm embrace. Sweaters, hats, and rugs made of the fine fiber also line the store's aisles. Add aromatic intrigue to séances that channel the spirits of former cars with the many scents of Fred Soll's incense ($5–$16), or adorn selves and surfaces with crystals such as a Celtic cluster crystal ($10.75). Wines such as the fruit-toned 2009 Illahe viognier ($17) infuse bellies with warm oenophilic well-being. Books published by Llewellyn, Hay House, and other spiritually minded page-binders ($8–$65) advise the soul in matters of its consciousness and improvement.
When it was founded in 1975, CAPA ran a crisis and information hotline, but quickly expanded to include treatment programs for survivors of child abuse. Today, it serves children and families with three levels of programming—education, family support, and counseling services—all designed to prevent and treat child abuse. The programs help strengthen family relationships through problem solving and communication-based activities, and reinforce self-esteem through educational presentations. Art therapy, play therapy, and individual counseling are all available for children who have experienced trauma or been abused, and a women's empowerment group provides enrichment for adult survivors of abuse.
While childhood obesity is a topic that receives widespread attention, registered nurse Jean Huelsing uncovered a facet of the issue that many have overlooked: Some of the very "fat camps" designed to help overweight kids slim down were actually part of the problem. She takes issue with these camps’ short-term approach, as they rely on fast-acting diets rather than instilling healthier lifestyle habits. Striving to succeed where other camps failed, Jean started Camp Jump Start in 2003 and, just three years and a score of happy campers later, founded The Living Well Foundation to extend the reach of her holistic-wellness principles.
The organization now hosts a wide range of camps for adults and children alike. They’re held at Living Well Village, which occupies 250 acres in the woods, where campers can develop a love for active pastimes through outdoor activities, such as navigating ropes courses, fishing, and juggling beavers.
In 2010, 2-year-old Ella McPheeters was diagnosed with autism. Her parents, Hope and Sam, soon became frustrated with the long waiting lists for behavioral-therapy programs and other services and decided to do something about it. They rallied the local community and won a Pepsi Refresh Project grant to found Ella's Hope for Autism. Ella’s Hope aims to raise awareness of autism and increase the availability of therapeutic resources for young children with autism-spectrum disorders. Working with the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Ella's Hope also sponsors scholarships for families and maintains an autism lending library.