Charity & Grassroots in San Mateo

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The first day of school can be one of excitement and anticipation. But it can also be a day of anxiety, of stress, of fearing that you'll stand out for all the wrong reasons. For kids from low-income families or families experiencing homelessness, the latter is more often the case. But My New Red Shoes works to eliminate that stress. Partnering with homeless shelters and community agencies, My New Red Shoes identifies homeless and very low-income children in need of clothing and shoes, and works with thousands of volunteers—from Girl Scouts to families—to meet that need. Children as young as four help the organization sort shoes and create cards to wish students luck on their first day. And equipped with their new footwear and that vote of confidence, the students can look forward to a new year.

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

330 Twin Dolphin Drive, Suite 135
Redwood City,
CA
US

Squeals fill the room as children uncover beetles and worms. Although digging through mud isn't a standard classroom activity, this class is learning about microelements at the bottom of the food chain. And the kids get to get their hands dirty. In an interview with Palo Alto Online, Environmental Volunteers' Executive Director Allan Berkowitz explained that classroom lessons should move away from traditional lectures. Instead, he wants “kids to touch and taste and smell their way to science education."

To that end, Environmental Volunteers leads hands-on activities in nine natural-science subjects including Baylands ecology, energy and natural resources, and Nature in your Neighborhood. Every year, Environmental Volunteers conducts 90-minute classroom programs—where kids learn how Native Americans respected the environment or simulate earthquakes with an electric shake table—lead two-hour follow-up field trips, and host summer day camps to teach 10,000 children across the region. The organization also runs a nature center for the public that teaches about the natural world from its location in the Baylands Nature Preserve. For those who can’t make it, a webcam shows a 24/7 view of the marshes outside the center on San Francisco Bay.

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

2560 Embarcadero Road
Palo Alto,
CA
US

Seneca Family of Agencies was founded in 1985 to prevent foster youth from getting lost in the system and failing to achieve their potential. Today, as a leading children's mental-health agency in northern California, Seneca has expanded its programs to serve emotionally troubled youth and their families in a variety of situations. Seneca provides a broad range of residential treatment, school-based programs, and at-home services, all run by staff members who are dedicated to providing unconditional and individualized care and using whatever tools necessary to help people cope with crisis. They also collaborate with local agencies to ensure families receive adequate support services. In-school mental-health teams allay temporary spikes in emotional instability, whereas one-on-one meetings and group meetings with foster families help youth identify their support circle.

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

2275 Arlington Dr
San Leandro,
CA
US

What was once vacant military housing is now a thriving community, thanks to Alameda Point Collaborative. In 1999, APC transformed the vacant space into a permanent supportive-housing community that 500 formerly homeless residents—including more than 300 children and young adults—now call home. Residents gain access to resources that can help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness, from job-skills training to substance-abuse and mental-health counseling. Along with 200 housing units across 34 acres, APC operates Ploughshares Nursery, a retail plant nursery that provides residents with opportunities to learn skills in customer service, landscaping, and urban farming.

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

677 W Ranger Ave
Alameda,
CA
US

Though their guests aren't human, the staff at Good Dog Day Care still treat them like they are. They spend time learning each dog's individual quirks and personality traits to determine the best way to care for them. Under supervision, pups roam free, sniff, and socialize at an indoor play space padded with clean rubber floors. Vinyl fencing dampens upsetting noise, and it can also be used to separate dogs who are embroiled in a bitter chew-toy custody dispute. Additionally, an area of antimicrobial turf grass, designed especially for dogs, serves as the bathroom suite.

Canine guests can also get to know each other during training classes, which range from obedience training to puppy socials. Though socialization is encouraged, Good Dog Day Care realizes that sometimes dogs need time to themselves. This is why when dogs are kept overnight, they board their overnight guests in private sleeping spaces outfitted with custom flooring and dog beds. Staffers even follow the owner's feeding schedule to ensure that every dog maintains its routine.

2427 Pratt Ave
Hayward,
CA
US

Members of City Carshare, the company reports on its website, drive 50% less than individual car owners, annually saving more than 20 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. This is exactly what the local nonprofit had in mind in 2001 when they opened more than 200 Bay Area lots full of fuel-efficient, alternative-fuel, and electric cars and sleighs pulled by Virginia creeper. These vehicles are the linchpin in their two-fold social commitment to creating healthy urban spaces and strong communities.

The first part of that is relatively straightforward: fewer cars on the road mean less congestion and smog and reduced demand for parking lots that could be transformed into parks that grow into concrete jungles. The company defrays the high monetary costs of car ownership by providing insurance coverage, 24-hour roadside assistance, and all the fuel your vehicle needs to get on the road. To foster a sense of community, they hook members up with a private ride-sharing program and entice them to explore the city via their key fob, which unlocks perks at other local businesses. Their mission is backed by a global network of transportation visionaries in the international CarSharing Association, of which City Carshare is a founding member.

1182 Market St, Ste 300
San Francisco,
CA
US