A group routine at Culture Shakti is intended to be greater than the sum of its individual parts. To accomplish this, Artistic Director Katrina Ji introduces students to the innovative and improvisational art of American tribal-style belly dance. The method draws inspiration from the Romani migration through India, northern Africa, and Spain, combining Flamenco-style arm movements and Egyptian-style hip undulations to create a graceful, seamlessly flowing, and internationally influenced dance style. Most importantly, this type of dance emphasizes the collective and coordinated movements of the group as a whole. Classes cater to students of all ages and skill levels, introducing them to the basic steps and advanced transitions that define the art form. Additionally, the studio offers lessons in Bollywood choreography that explore the dance steps, facial expressions, and hand gestures that comprise a typical routine.
Spokane Riverkeeper and the region’s designated riverkeeper, Bart Mihailovich, work to protect and preserve the waters of the Spokane River. The organization educates the public on how to prevent damage to the local ecosystem and actively works to rehabilitate areas of the watershed that have deteriorated. Along with volunteers and interns, Bart conducts field research on the status of the water and plant life and organizes projects to remove pollution and rebuild the local habitat.
A Pampered Pooch cares for its canine clients with grooming, daycare, and boarding services, each designed to cater to owners as well as pets. A bath, brush, and dry leaves coats fluffy and free of grime, and nail trimming or grinding keeps pets from scratching up floors while tap-dancing. Dogs who arrive for daycare entertain in off-leash areas, where they play with other pups or with plenty of provided toys. Humans headed out of town can sign up their pets for boarding, which includes large personal suites and dog beds raised off of the floor. Owners can also opt for boarding add-ons that cater to their dog’s personality; staff can take active pups for a walk around the park or treat mellower dogs to one-on-one cuddling time or a midday bath and groom.
Hopelink strives to promote self-sufficiency for all members of the community through housing, financial assistance, family development, and other social services. Since 1971, the organization has helped tens of thousands of people move from vulnerability and crisis to independence and stability.
Along with adult literacy programs, school-supply programs, and career development, Hopelink runs End Summer Hunger, an annual food and funds drive that helps ensure children from families with low incomes have enough to eat throughout the summer. Last year, End Summer Hunger—with the help of individuals, businesses, and schools—raised $181,439, plus thousands of pounds of food to meet the increased demands at Hopelink’s food banks during the summer months.
An octopus gently pushes itself through crystal waters, sea otters twist and flip at the surface as they work through a crab, shore birds perch over pools, and between them all visitors smile in wonder. Seattle Aquarium has attracted millions of guests to its waters with such exhibits since it opened more than 35 years ago. By combining environments for fish, mammal, and avian species, the aquarium captures a slice of the Puget Sound ecosystem, inspiring guests to examine the breadth of life off their shores and how their daily actions impact it. Feedings and daily talks about the animals expand on the wealth of information, whereas touch pools allow many to experience life in the waters in a way they never have before.
In addition to being the ninth largest aquarium in the United States, the Seattle Aquarium is home to biologists who conduct critical research on northern sea otters, the giant Pacific octopus, and other Puget Sound species as part of efforts to contribute to the health of the local marine environment. Focused exhibits work to raise awareness about conservation by imparting an understanding of the threatened orca whale and the sixgill shark—the third-largest predatory shark in the world.
Seattle Tilth cultivates a healthy urban environment by teaching people about growing food organically, conserving natural resources, greening their lawns, and supporting local food systems. Adult classes expound on organic gardening, food preservation, and urban livestock, whereas youth programs tour organic gardens, demonstrate how to grow plants, and inspire young palates with taste tests of fresh vegetables.
Seattle Tilth also engages local residents in food production with its community kitchens and Seattle Youth Garden Works (SYGW) program. At the community kitchen, people collaborate by cooking, cleaning, and sharing a meal together. SYGW empowers underserved youth, some of whom face homelessness, with an opportunity to work on a farm and sell produce as a way to gain valuable job and social skills.