Birthday Dreams’ volunteers devote themselves to one simple principle: all children deserve a birthday, regardless of economic circumstance. By working with homeless shelters and transitional-housing agencies throughout the community, they’re able to help children in need enjoy one special day of celebration. Their meticulous party planning leaves no detail unaccounted for—everything from eating utensils and personalized gifts to decorations and a fresh-baked cake ensures the child's day will be full of smiles. They encourage community involvement by soliciting handmade gifts from local crafters and inviting volunteers to bring their own children to help out at the party. Since its founding, Birthday Dreams has curated more than 1,100 birthday parties across the greater Puget Sound area, averaging about 60 celebrations each month.
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The Tavon Center eases the transition from high school to adulthood for young people with disabilities by providing respite, care, social activities, and vocational-skill development in a specialized day program. The 5-acre center focuses in large part on horticultural activities such as planting in the gardens that stretch across 2,000 square feet and the greenhouse that grows everything from zinnias to artichokes. Clients can also tend to animals, such as goats, chickens, and rabbits, which roam the grounds. Every summer, the staff sells the center's produce and goods at farmers' markets to give clients a sense of pride and accomplishment while raising awareness about the disabilities. In addition to gathering eggs, baking, and painting artworks, the young adults in the program can also develop a network of friends and receive individualized care from The Tavon Center’s staff.
A Pampered Pooch cares for its canine clients with grooming, daycare, and boarding services, each designed to cater to owners as well as pets. A bath, brush, and dry leaves coats fluffy and free of grime, and nail trimming or grinding keeps pets from scratching up floors while tap-dancing. Dogs who arrive for daycare entertain in off-leash areas, where they play with other pups or with plenty of provided toys. Humans headed out of town can sign up their pets for boarding, which includes large personal suites and dog beds raised off of the floor. Owners can also opt for boarding add-ons that cater to their dog’s personality; staff can take active pups for a walk around the park or treat mellower dogs to one-on-one cuddling time or a midday bath and groom.
In 2006, Bellevue First Congregational Church opened a day center to provide respite for women who are homeless, and later opened The Sophia Way as an overnight shelter. It was equipped with 10 beds for single women who have no place to go for a night's rest. Today, the organization has recently acquired an additional space that can house 21 women at a time. In addition to overnight shelter, The Sophia Way also provides a two-year subsidized apartment for 45 women at a time, along with life-skills classes and case-management services to help the women work toward financial independence.
Hopelink strives to promote self-sufficiency for all members of the community through housing, financial assistance, family development, and other social services. Since 1971, the organization has helped tens of thousands of people move from vulnerability and crisis to independence and stability.
Along with adult literacy programs, school-supply programs, and career development, Hopelink runs End Summer Hunger, an annual food and funds drive that helps ensure children from families with low incomes have enough to eat throughout the summer. Last year, End Summer Hunger—with the help of individuals, businesses, and schools—raised $181,439, plus thousands of pounds of food to meet the increased demands at Hopelink’s food banks during the summer months.
Motley Zoo Animal Rescue works to end pet overpopulation and the resulting deaths by euthanasia of healthy, adoptable pets by placing rescued cats and dogs with foster families until they are adopted. By adding the step of fostering to the adoption process, Motley Zoo reduces overcrowding in shelters and aids in each dog's transition to a new, permanent family. To help ensure health and prepare animals for new homes, Motley Zoo provides necessary veterinary care, such as spaying or neutering procedures. Motley Zoo also pairs pups with basic-care necessities and medical records, which follow them through the foster process and later go to the dog's new owners.