The critters at Wild Adventures Zoo range from the familiar—turtles, hedgehogs, and geckos—to more exotic species such as kinkajous and blue-tongued skinks, but they all have one thing in common: they are in need of human care. Some of these animals were injured in the wild and some were neglected as house pets, but the staff of volunteers cares for each of them equally. The zoo is raising the funds it needs to open to the public, but that hasn't stopped the staff from sharing the animals' stories with the greater community. The Zoo to You program takes rescued animals on the road to schools and scout meetings to raise awareness about exotic animals.
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In December 2011, a local television news show reported on the 5,000 students who were homeless in the Las Vegas Valley, and focused on the 150 teenagers attending Rancho High School who were homeless or displaced. The community responded by sending aid to many of the teens’ families. Moved by their plight, a team of concerned individuals founded Project 150 to help garner support for the 17 families who had not yet received aid as the holiday season approached. The founding effort of Project 150 successfully raised three truckloads of supplies for these families.
Today, Project 150 provides material support for more than 850 homeless and displaced students at 15 area high schools. It distributes a range of necessities including underwear, food items, and school supplies to homeless youth throughout the region.
Robin and Kathy, Shaggy Shaggy Shake's owners and groomers, have fallen head-over-heels for canines, even the shyest and most difficult specimens. At their pet salon, Shaggy Shaggy Shake, they treat dogs as members of their family with pampering services and a calm, safe, and loving environment. Instead of cowering in cages, dogs rest in cubbies atop cushy beds as they await services such as haircuts, manicures, and dental cleanings. Many grooming services include a bath, during which the pup is lathered with premium shampoo and conditioner. Robin and Kathy also specialize in dog and cat massage, which can promote calmness, ease pain, and reduce the risk of injury from energetic play or competitive figure skating. To make grooming sessions as convenient as possible, the duo can also shuttle pets to and from their owners' homes.
New Vista supports individuals with intellectual disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. The organization tailors its techniques, therapies, and methods to each individual, with the goal of helping them reach a higher level of independence. Its group homes offer a welcoming and residential-like setting with staff members onsite 24 hours a day, and it also runs a youth program that supports children with intellectual disabilities and educates their families. New Vista offers skills training, ranging from cooking and cleaning to job development, to assist individuals in becoming self-aware community members. To help fund its programs, the organization also operates a thrift store that is open to the wider community and helps to fund its programs.
The ECDC African Community Center (ACC), which is the Ethiopian Community Development Council’s refugee-resettlement branch in Las Vegas, provides those who have recently arrived in the United States with cross-cultural training, educational development, and support services, as well as increasing public awareness about refugee and immigrant issues.
The ECDC’s clients arrive in Las Vegas from refugee camps across the globe, and have lived in camps for an average of five–seven years. As part of its supportive services for families who have recently arrived, the ACC supplies them with meals while they adjust to their new surroundings. This year's caseload may include as many as 400 families, which range from a single-parent family with one child to families of nine.
Eagle Quest supports at-risk and disadvantaged youth in the southern Nevada area, as well as their families, with treatment-level foster care and family-support services alongside counseling and recreational programs. These programs engage young participants in scrapbooking, summer camp, and humanitarian service, letting youth give back to the community while learning empathy, leadership, and other social skills necessary for success. Family-wide substance-abuse programs and shoplifting-prevention programs, meanwhile, help to break negative habits and open up new opportunities. Many of Eagle Quest's youths have experienced abuse and emotional trauma and lived in unstable homes their entire lives. By experiencing a full range of activities, these youth can create happy memories and learn how to make good decisions for their futures.
Founded in 1950, Variety has worked for more than half a century to improve the lives of children in Nevada and around the world, with a focus on kids with special needs. Programs such as Kids on the Go! and Kids at Play! aim to improve children's access to community resources, providing adaptive medical equipment and funding playgrounds with padded fencing and wheelchair swings. Events throughout the year allow the organization to fund new programs and makes guests' hearts swell like a crowd around a talking beagle.