While standing on the balcony of a hotel in London, Lady Bird Johnson and Ann Butler, the wife of Austin’s mayor, admired the green trail that follows the Thames. The scene inspired them to hatch a plan to beautify their own waterways. Over the next three decades, in partnership with local garden clubs, they planted trees and flowers along the polluted shores of Lady Bird Lake, undoing centuries of damage from the flooding of the Colorado River. Now the trail receives 1.5 million visitors each year and creates an oasis among Austin's skyscrapers and streets. The Trail Foundation implements improvements to the trail’s infrastructure and environment while honoring the vision of its founders. The foundation has built tree groves, landscape lighting, and a bathroom that reduces overall maintenance costs and blends into the natural environment without the use of an invisibility cloak.
The Kids Cooking for Charity program provides food for people experiencing hunger and an opportunity for young children to engage in a volunteer activity. In 2010, more than 1,600 children and their families assembled and served nearly 3,000 meals to those in need. Children as young as 3 years old can help build sandwiches for homeless residents at Caritas or prepare meals for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. In order to coordinate the event, LHH needs funding assistance to cover the costs of food for children and their families to prepare.
The Urban Roots program places active youth ages 14 to 17 in the role of paid "farm interns," in which they are responsible for the bounty of a 3.5-acre farm in East Austin. Sixty percent of the farm interns' sustainably grown harvests is sold at farmers' markets and farm stands—with all proceeds reinvested into the program—and the remaining 40% is donated to local hunger-relief programs. Though produce and prices vary depending on the season and other market prices, green-thumbed growers typically have fresh carrots ($3.50/bundle), radishes ($2.50), collard greens ($3/bundle), okra ($4/pound), spinach ($8/pound), basil/dill ($3/bundle), and much more.
After radiating do-re-mis through Carnegie Hall and China's 2010 World Expo, the Austin Civic Chorus of Chorus Austin embarks upon its 47th year of harmonious belting, energized by a placing among 10 finalists nationwide for the prestigious American Prize in 2011. To kick off the new season, the choir sings the poignant notes of Rossini's “Petite Messe Solennelle,” an 1863 composition that the composer dubbed, “the last of my sins of old age” in reference to his penchant for plagiarizing songbirds. As music director Ryan Heller conducts the tapestry of 130 voices with an experienced ear, two pianos and a harmonium hum along to the beat. Four soloists stand to flex their professional pipes and singing biceps, including soprano Mele Dailey, mezzo Kathryn Findlen, tenor Nicholas Simpson, and bass Bruce Cain.
THN's Quarters for Kids program provides homeless youth with new school clothes, including gym wear and shoes, that adhere to school dress codes. To ease the stigma and conspicuousness associated with wearing second-hand clothing, particularly among teens, Quarters for Kids outfits students in all-new clothing items. The school-appropriate packages include two new school outfits, as well as gym clothes, underwear, and socks.