Though it advertises itself as the largest no-kill shelter in the Twin Cities, Animal Ark’s homey facility seems more like a relaxing retreat for the more than 1,000 homeless cats, dogs, and rabbits that come through its doors each year. Cats bask in sunlight within feline apartments as dogs lounge atop soft raised beds in their own spacious kennels, sinking teeth into chew toys and treats. Of course, time at Animal Ark isn't all leisure. Canines awaiting their forever homes stretch their legs across a large outdoor play yard, aptly named the Ark Park, where ample trees and greenery mix with park benches where dogs can train their human friends to sit.
Potential owners can also get to know adoptable pets online. The website posts a first-person profile of each available animal that lists its breed, personality, and master’s degrees.
As part of its mission to improve lung health and prevent lung disease, the American Lung Association in Minnesota educates children, parents, and school personnel about how to manage asthma, a prevalent yet often misunderstood disease.
Through its outdoor summer camp—Camp Superkids—the organization helps children with asthma experience fun outdoor activities in a safe environment and teaches them more about managing their chronic illness. To date, Camp Superkids has provided life-saving asthma education to more than 6,000 Minnesota children.
While one-time food and grocery donations are important to people in need, the question still remains: how can we ensure that same person isn?t in need again tomorrow, or in a month?
Second Harvest Heartland addresses this question by working to provide long-term hunger relief to the community. As a member of Feeding America, and the Upper Midwest?s biggest hunger-relief organization, Second Harvest Heartland continuously accepts donations of dry, refrigerated, and frozen food and stores them in 90,000+ square feet of space. From there, the organization's fleet of trucks delivers the donations to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and other community centers. But food distribution is only part of Second Harvest Heartland's mission.
The organization runs programs and initiatives such as Food Rescue, which prevents millions of pounds of food from going unused. Professional drivers head to local grocers to collect food that would otherwise be thrown away?including fresh produce, dairy, and meat?and distributes them to soup kitchens and other partners in Second Harvest Heartland?s 59-county service area. Other programs help educate members of the community, empowering them to get involved in the fight to end hunger.
In 1976, Tree Trust was formed to help solve two ongoing problems: dutch elm disease was destroying the urban canopy, and local residents were experiencing the languor of employment and poverty. Tree Trust hired unemployed individuals and trained them to replant the decaying forests in the region. Today, the team builds staircases and retaining walls to prevent erosion, clears buckthorn to help native plants thrive, creates trails for recreational activities, constructs LEED-certified houses, and replaces diseased trees with thousands of new trees every year. The organization also hosts community plantings and employs youth in summer programs to instill an ethic of environmental stewardship. Since its inception, Tree Trust has provided employment training for more than 42,000 people, planted 72,000 trees and shrubs, and educated more than 100,000 students about protecting green spaces.
For nearly a century, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota has provided medical care for children along with clinical and surgical services. With 380 staffed beds at two campuses, the hospitals care for more than 125,700 kids each year. Their pediatric services subscribe to the most current research models and employ innovative practices to maximize the quality of care it provides.
Children’s cultivates a positive and welcoming environment for patients by providing kid-friendly diversions as well as resources for their families. Kids can take part in programming from Star Studio, the in-hospital TV channel, and parents can turn to interpreter services or parenting professionals for assistance.
Children’s will soon complete state-of-the-art renovations on both campuses, which will include private patient rooms, expanded surgery and triage centers, and an internal Ronald McDonald House. The additions will foster an open and airy atmosphere that provides comfort for patients, with designs that integrate science, art, and nature.
The organization’s Parent Education and Discharge Instructions (PEDI) project trains nurses to educate parents on follow-up-care procedures after pediatric open-heart surgery, including situational training on the recovery process and educational booklets on at-home care. By improving postoperative instruction, Children's Heartlink hopes to reduce infection rates and other complications, and prevent return hospitalizations. Children’s HeartLink has already launched the PEDI project at one Indian hospital and plans to expand to two other hospitals in India, including Innova Heart Hospital in Hyderabad, as well as to share its materials with other hospitals online.