The Arc of San Diego empowers individuals with disabilities through supportive services that range from residential-living programs to summer camps and day trips for consumers of all ages. Highly trained staff and volunteers work together to honor the dignity of the individuals they serve by demonstrating compassion and celebrating diverse backgrounds.
The Salvation Army Family Store collects and resells donated items ranging from vintage clothing to antique furniture. Patrons can search for wardrobes, tables, and couches to fill out their home, plates and silverware to stock their empty kitchen, and VCRs to feed their pet robot. All proceeds from the Family Stores support The Salvation Army's San Diego Adult Rehabilitation Center, a 12-step work therapy and faith-based residential and transitional rehabilitation program for men and women dealing with alcohol and substance abuse. The six-month to two-year program is offered to program participants at no cost.
Though the best way to contribute to the organization's mission, especially following natural disasters such as the recent wildfires, is with monetary donations, the Salvation Army accepts donations of used goods and clothing to sell in the network of Family Stores. All sales of these donated items support the funding of the organization's programming. To donate goods, call (800) 728-7825 or visit www.SanDiego.SATruck.org; for monetary donations, call (866) 455-4357, visit www.SanDiego.SalvationArmy.org, or send to The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters, SD Fires, 2320 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101.
The Museum of Man is San Diego County's only anthropology and archaeology museum, home to five permanent exhibits including Ancient Egypt; Kumeyaay: Native Californians; Footsteps Through Time: Four Million Years of Human Evolution; Maya: Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth; and the Children's Discovery Center's exhibit, Discover Egypt, as well as special exhibitions and cultural collections. Museumgoers can experience the entirety of human history by viewing actual artifacts, sculptural reconstructions of early man, a 42-foot Mayan rainforest mural in the Maya: Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth exhibit, and the June 2010–April 2011 special exhibit Counter Cultures: The Secret Lives of Games, which explores the rich history of games and their place in human societies from past to present.
Part of an international organization that aids businesses throughout the Americas and Africa, ACCION San Diego aims to increase income and access to jobs for self-employed men and women. It provides small businesses with microloans that range from $300 to $35,000, which can fund necessities to stabilize growth and help build good credit. In 2011, ACCION presented 98 small businesses with $1.1 million in loans, and continues to focus on helping individuals who are underserved or do not have access to traditional financing. ACCION also hosts free workshops and events to teach business owners new skills in financing, social media marketing, and QuickBooks.
At each of several one-day festivals held throughout the country, thousands of revelers unite in an epic clash of pulp, beer, and live music. Armed with a cache of 300,000 tomatoes, participants don protective bathing suits and goggles and hurl the fruit at one another during a two-hour battle. Throughout the afternoon, live music and costume contests offer an entertaining respite from the front lines, as bartenders dispense drafts of beer to attendees older than 21, refueling soldiers' morale before they resign to writing goodbye letters to their produce vendors back home. All tomatoes used during the event are past ripe and already fated for disposal, making the battle an efficient means of tossing them before their cursed transformation into singing Muppets.
One of the oldest and largest LGBT community centers in the nation, The San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center has been promoting LGBT health and human rights since 1973. This year alone, The Center has provided more than 55,000 service visits. Its programs cater to the many different facets of the community and include youth, family, and senior services as well as specific services for men or women, transgender counseling, and HIV testing and support. A 15-member board and 40-plus staff members work together with more than 800 community volunteers to foster The Center's mission to nurture and support the LGBT community.