The YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."
This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.
The staff at Zoots Dry Cleaning extracts stains and stress by pairing eco-friendly dry-cleaning services with the convenience of extended evening and Sunday hours, 24-hour drop-off and pickup services (available at most locations), and an automated drive-thru system. Team members clean clothes, draperies, bedding, and rugs with a biodegradable solvent as opposed to harsh PERC chemicals, and some staff are trained to expertly excise stains from the delicate lace and beadwork of bridal-gown bodices. Most stores also have a tailor on location who is able to alter ensembles in a snap. Customers get e-mail notifications when orders are ready or they can download a smartphone app to keep a close eye on the status of their dirty laundry.
American Real Estate Academy has been helping students master the intricacies of property sales for 42 years. Its carefully selected instructors lead classes for neophytes looking to get their salesperson license, learn the ins and outs of the business, and find out the startling truth about where houses come from. The academy boasts higher test scores for its students than the state average, and many students go on to successful careers. The academy also helps real-estate veterans step up to a broker license in preparation to open their own office and work for themselves. Continuing-education courses keep professionals up to date on current rules and regulations, fulfilling state-mandated requirements and keeping licenses active.
Dale Carnegie believed in the power of self-improvement so much that he started a training company. Since founding the company, his dream has expanded to encompass more than 2,700 trainers stationed in over 85 countries. These trainers have pursued an unwavering mission: to give participants the skills they need to boost job performance and professional effectiveness. Online courses cover such topics as leadership training, sales success, and personal influence and effectiveness. All webinars, courses and materials are based on Dale Carnegie's time-honored approach, outlined in How to Win Friends and Influence People. Dale Carnegie now offers much of its information and many of its classes online.
Some problems confound the means and efforts of even the most gifted individuals; in 1904, tuberculosis was one such problem. Then, concerned citizens banded together to create the American Lung Association—one of the oldest voluntary health organizations still extant in America today—ultimately defeating the disease through the power of collective action. Today, the nature of the battle may have changed, but the spirit of community concern and volunteerism still thrives. Instead of actively fighting to cure certain diseases, the American Lung Association takes a big-picture approach, helping people quit smoking through education and encouragement, providing in-school programs for kids with asthma, and encouraging the community to keep the air healthy, breathable, and free from clouds of inhalable hornets.