The volunteers at Wildlife Rescue Aid Project receive more than 50 striped skunks a year. Then they do what most people would not: they care for the skunks, provide food and shelter, and teach them how to hunt and spray in self defense. These rescued skunks and other mammals native to Oregon are often orphaned or injured and in need of extensive rehabilitation before they can return to the wild. So the volunteers ensure they find proper veterinary care to heal, and spend roughly 20 hours a day in a cycle of feeding and cleaning. When the skunks are ready to go, the volunteers identify each with a marker or cut a specific pattern into its hair to track its progress.
North Willamette Valley Habitat for Humanity is one of 33 Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Oregon, and it constructs decent, affordable homes for selected families in need. NWV Habitat builds homes through help from private donations and volunteer labor. The partner families who move into Habitat homes contribute 500 hours of volunteer labor, known as sweat equity, and make modest monthly mortgage payments with zero interest. In the last 25 years, NWV Habitat has constructed 37 homes for local families.
Binky blankets help to comfort youth from newborns to 18-year-olds, and they are distributed at locations such as clinics, foster-care agencies, and shelters for victims of domestic violence, as well as to those experiencing homelessness. Though Binky Patrol receives fabric donations from several sources, the organization is in need of rolls of batting to fill its blankets to make them soft and plush.
At Adorned Aesthetics, even the most familiar of skincare treatments, the facial, contains some surprises; the center's roster of nine different facials includes three services specifically designed for men as well as a Just Like Heaven exfoliation and massage treatment that lasts a full two hours. Two other services make use of some rare materials: the 24 kt. gold facial uses a gold serum and mask to reverse oxidation damage, and the Diamond Exfolight facial removes dead skin using the diamond-soled shoes that inspired Paul Simon to become a cobbler. When serums fall short, clients turn to the Bio-Roller, an FDA-approved micro-needle rolling system that treats wrinkles and acne without inflicting the downtime associated with surgery.
The spa can offer all of these treatments thanks to the expertise of Melanie Hamilton and Kathryn Hoffman, who are professionally certified and trained by Obagi Pharmaceutical Skin Care. This company also provides a few of the specialized products that they use during treatments on a variety of skin issues. Melanie and Kathryn, who are also trained in the formal modalities of the Valmont skincare line from Switzerland, stay sharp by attending classes, seminars, and conventions in the industry.
Mark and Amy Meyers bought their first donkey, Izzy, more than a decade ago. Though they only sought a pet, their close relationship with Izzy inspired them to take up a cause. Soon after buying Izzy, they noticed that other donkeys in the neighborhood were suffering from abuse and neglect. They took immediate action: Amy began adopting the donkeys, and Mark spent his evenings talking to the donkeys and tending to their ailments. After they adopted their 25th donkey, they decided to start their own rescue organization, Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue.
Peaceful Valley, which currently cares for more than 1,500 donkeys, rescues domestic donkeys that have been abused or neglected and wild burros that have been displaced from their natural habitat. The donkeys are often found injured and wandering in the wilderness or are surrendered by their owners. After being rescued, they live in one of the farm sanctuaries in Texas, Oregon, or other satellite locations. Peaceful Valley has worked with capture programs, private landowners, and numerous government agencies—including the National Park Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife—to ensure that all donkeys have a safe place to live. Toward that aim, Peacefully Valley also holds clinics, trains donkey owners to better care for their animals, and educates the public about the nature and history of donkeys to improve their plight.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.
After spending time in Quaking Grass's furnished loft studio, you learn why some of the yoga, Zumba, and holistic-dance instructors refer to the space as their "big living room." Once inside the studio, you find yourself in a sprawling, high-ceilinged loft. Natural light spills in from tall windows and onto green walls, where African art and decorative Asian fans hang. Scanning the room, you see plush furniture, a kitchenette, and a massive Native American dream catcher, painted white and hanging 6 feet to the floor.
Quaking Grass is home to the Healing Arts Collective; many of its members left positions as businesspeople, teachers, and lawyers in favor of a more relaxed lifestyle. According to director Heather Straube, they each felt called to help others through techniques such as massage, yoga, and dance. Instructors lead students through progressive poses in Vinyasa yoga, dances set to Latin and Caribbean beats in Zumba, and blends of meditative martial arts and freeform movement in Earthquake Ecstatic and Nia dance. Though they guide some classes step-by-step, instructors emphasize free exploration over adhering to a strict routine—reminding students that they can meditate silently, pair off with partners, or dance alone to practice leading and following at the same time.
Once each month, Quaking Grass's members also host an open community clinic, experimental salon, and potluck. Practitioners stationed throughout the space introduce curious guests to basics of tarot-card reading, massage, hypnosis, quantum touch, and a host of other holistic methods—with the hope that visitors, like babies balancing their first checkbooks, experience something new. Individual members, artists, or community practitioners may also lead workshops or lectures explaining their craft.