Charity & Grassroots in San Fernando

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Nothing can inspire change like the unfettered creativity of the young mind. Using this philosophy, David Kietzman and Whitney Kasserman developed an eight-week seminar in 2005, during which students could build solutions for their own communities. They explored local needs, wrote grant proposals, and fostered a grassroots movement to create a community pocket garden. With a $10,000 city grant, the youth planted 12 trees and 300 plants and installed benches and a mosaic trash can, creating a green space that was open to everyone.

After the garden’s success, Youth Speak Collective began promoting more “for youth, by youth” year-round programs to help students gain confidence, contribute to their communities, and develop skills they could use to find jobs once they leave school. Subsequently, the organization’s reach has grown. The program sponsors a career internship program, family support, and 24/7 Dad class, which teaches fathering skills and financial literacy to young dads. Additionally, youth can play a fast-paced version of soccer in Club Futbolito or document and address problems in the community with the youth council. For the artistically minded, the visual- and design-arts programs teach youth basic street-design concepts and how to create short films for local businesses.

See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.

444 South Brand Blvd. #201
San Fernando,
CA
US

Food Forward connects people with food by harvesting excess produce from local farms and public spaces, which it distributes to more than 20 food banks and pantries across Southern California. After receiving an invitation, an all-volunteer force meets at a property and picks produce for one to two hours. A pick leader provides tools, organizes the group, and delivers the fruit to a vetted hunger-relief organization that serves it to clients within 72 hours. By conducting 15–20 picks every month, Food Forward aims to demonstrate the abundance of available food that goes to waste and to raise the issues of urban hunger and food justice in the community.

7412 Fulton Ave
North Hollywood,
CA
US

Dr. Michael Lin knows skin inside and out. After founding the Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Institute—where he has mended the skin woes of such celebrities as Cindy Chiu—Dr. Lin turned his attention to his clients' outer appearances, and the Linage Dermatology Institute was born. In this clinic, he and his team of dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and laser specialists harness advanced technology to lavish patients with clearer, smoother, and more youthful appearances. Light-based devices, such as the Sciton laser for hair removal, the ProFractional laser for wrinkle reduction, and the laser pointer for receptionist amusement, enhance exteriors with a noninvasive approach, and injectables such as Juvéderm and Botox help restore youthful radiance. For at-home care, the physician's signature line of Linage LINQ products helps keep newfound faces nourished and protected.

26357 McBean Pkwy
Valencia,
CA
US

Established: 1998
Reservations/Appointments: Required
Staff Size: 25–50 people
Average Duration of Services: 1–2 hours
Pro Tip: Complete the online registration process before coming for your first visit
Parking: Free street parking
Recommended Age Group: Kids

Q&A with the President of Golden State Gymnastics

I'm a first-timer. How do you get me ready for the experience?
We send a welcome and information email that details how to register online, how to e-sign our waiver form, and what to wear and bring. We advise people to arrive in time to find parking.

As the old adage says, "Stuff happens." What training do you and your staff have to stay ahead of the unexpected?
All staff members are CPR/First Aid and USA Gymnastics Safety Certified, as well as fingerprinted and background checked. Staff members attend regional and national level training. We have a disaster plan in place and conduct periodic disaster drills on site so that we are prepared for emergencies.

What is the experience customers can expect, and how do you make it special?
Our mission is to offer a fun, safe and healthy gymnastics experience by providing the highest quality instruction and encouraging atmosphere to every child who walks through our doors. We want your child's favorite day of the week to be at Golden State Gymnastics. A highlight of the week is the inflatable water slide during water play. This year, the slide is scheduled for two days each week!

1828 N Keystone St
Burbank,
CA
US

Heal One World empowers people with the knowledge and techniques to help themselves. Through classes, the organization teaches people skills and natural, noninvasive treatments they can use to ameliorate illness and injury and prevent further ailments from arising. Most of these classes impart self-help techniques and are therefore not covered by insurance, so the organization provides them on a sliding scale. Its programs range from yoga and tai chi to acupuncture and Feldenkrais treatments, drawing from ancient, time-tested practices that have often been cast to the wayside by Western culture. Heal One World also maintains a database of care providers who help people from low-income backgrounds attain stability of mind and body.

Yet beyond the individual, Heal One World focuses on strengthening the community. On weekends, it organizes vegan potlucks and film screenings on green opportunities and charity projects, and every May it holds a film, music, and arts festival in order to raise awareness of pressing environmental issues and include the community in artistic endeavors.

3503 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles,
CA
US

In 1996, Food on Foot set up on the steps of the Hollywood Post Office, delivering its first chicken dinner out of the trunk of a car to neighbors experiencing homelessness. The organization quickly expanded and began serving meals every Sunday to increase food security among underserved residents. Today, Food on Foot serves that same meal of chicken, rice, and tortillas every week, as well as a variety of healthy snacks including granola bars, baby carrots, fresh fruit, and bottled water. It also distributes gently used clothing, shoes, and sleeping bags and business clothes for clients who have secured job interviews.

In 1999, Food on Foot began its Work for Food program, wherein volunteers pick up trash in the Hollywood area. Each volunteer fills two garbage bags and receives a $10 grocery-store gift card, healthy snacks, and a chicken dinner in return. After participating in the program for two months, volunteers are placed on a daily route to pick up trash while the program staff works to help them acquire a full-time job. Once participants find a job, Food on Foot funds an apartment, utilities, and transportation for three months while they become established in their new position. During this time, workers continue their daily trash route and turn in their paychecks to Food on Foot. At the end of the three-month period, they receive the uncashed checks to open a savings account.

9663 Santa Monica Blvd., #743
Beverly Hills,
CA
US