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.
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.
Skyler McCurine's winning Stratejoy essay describes her long-time fascination with red balloons and how she serendipidously saw them at key points in her life. One day, while sitting in her car and crying because of her lack of life direction, a little girl in the car in ahead of her released a single red balloon. This was the beginning of an important realization: that she had to let go of comparing herself to others and embrace her own weaknesses. She went on to found Le Red Balloon, and today she pours this personal revelation––along with her experience in retail––into her work as a stylist.
Skyler's raison d'être is to help her clients remember that they are beautiful no matter their size, shape, or idiosyncrasies. To aid their transformation, she takes the hassle out of shopping by going with her clients and even looking after their kids while they try on clothes. When the new garments come home, she purges messy closets and organizes new pieces by color, style, and house sigil. When she isn't gussying up her own clientele, she teaches workshops that strive to reverse the media's negative influence and help women treat themselves and others with true kindness.
The anti-aging specialists at Biologix work with the body's chemistry to keep energy levels optimized and health at its best. By topping up depleted hormone, vitamin, and transmission-fluid levels, they hope to restore vim and vigor to men and women alike. To help skin look as youthful as its wearer feels, they also offer beauty injections and dermal fillers, as well as chemical peels, photofacials, and platelet-rich plasma therapy. Located within Biologix, clients seeking further rejuvenating treatments can turn to The Fountain, which offers vitamin IV therapy.
Taryn McCracken and Hanna Gregor have been studying the science of healthy eating since college. Taryn, a committed vegan, earned her bachelor’s degree in health psychology, and while Hanna worked toward a degree in nutritional sciences at Penn State University, she coached the school’s Division I athletes on how to use healthy foods to increase performance. Together they helm Detox Lounge, a salon-inspired health center with a very simple mission: out with the bad, in with the good. That means eliminating toxins and taking in antioxidants.
A large part of their work involves True Juice Cleanses, a proprietary line of complex juices blended from fruit and superfoods that are designed to boost metabolism, eliminate fats, and detoxify the body. Users can graduate to 500-calorie Master Weight-Loss Cleanses, or supplement their progress with detoxifying spa treatments. An infrared sauna expels toxins via perspiration, and aqua detox footbaths draw out harmful elements that have collected in the muscles, joints, fatty tissue, and white blood cells’ junk drawers.
Where You Want to Be Tours was launched as a walking-tour company in 2003 and since then has offered tours of San Diego that take locals and visitors to spots such as Balboa Park and the shores of La Jolla. Most adventures last more than two hours, so tourists have plenty of time to stop and sightsee. Today, the company has formed a set of all new clues and hidden gems and has also expanded its offerings with bike tours of locations such as Pacific Beach and Mission Bay and urban challenge/scavenger hunts, which present a hands-on approach to urban exploration, turning tour routes into racecourses and throwing in physical challenges, including Frisbee-throwing contests.