Fed up with hearing about rude encounters between taxi drivers and the elderly, taxi dispatcher Dan Quiery decided to volunteer time in his retirement to righting these wrongs through Escorted Transportation Service Northwest (ETS/NW). Now the organization's 2011 Volunteer of the Year, according to the Daily Herald, Dan and a team of 70 volunteer drivers at ETS/NW offer both companionship and a vital service as they transport senior citizens to and from medical and dental appointments in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. The seniors often have limited transportation options and would not be able to get to their appointments without aid. Though $12 donations are requested for each ride, the drivers chip in their own money to cover the cost of the trip's gas. Still, this does not deter founder Kathy Kasprowicz and her dedicated volunteers—honored with the 2012 STAR Merit Award from The Beverly Foundation—who were proud to have provided 2,453 roundtrip rides throughout the region in 2011 alone.
Selected as a featured startup for Common Pitch at New York City's Social Media Week, Good Karma Clothing for Kids is a social enterprise that employs a collaborative-consumption model by reusing and renting like-new clothing for babies ages newborn to 24 months. The company delivers hand-picked baby clothes to parents as part of its Basic Bundle subscription package. Each bundle includes seven complete outfits packed in a convenient prepaid, reusable shipping bag made of stork swaddling. When the baby outgrows the clothes in the bundle, parents simply ship them back and exchange the bundle for another one in a larger size. Because babies can go through approximately six or seven sizes of clothing during their first two years, the Basic Bundle program facilitates the reuse of miniature wardrobes to help parents reduce their consumption and prevents the need for uncomfortable rubber shirts that grow with the child. Good Karma reuses well-made baby clothes from popular brands such as Gap and Gymboree that are in great condition, and uses environmentally friendly detergent and high-efficiency washers to care for the clothing between owners. When clothing can no longer be used, the organization sends it on to be recycled into quilting, stuffed animals, and other enduring mementos of infancy.
Staff Size: 11–25 people
Average Duration of Services: 4+ hours
Brands Used: Age-appropriate and quality equipment is provided.
Pro Tip: Be ready for your camper to come home and ask you to play hoops or do pushups together.
Parking: Parking lot
Recommended Age Group: Girls age 4-14
Apart from your business's main attraction, do you offer any "hidden" services or activities that visitors are always delighted to learn about?
Our incentive programs emphasize and reward effort, teamwork, heart, etc. We have special relationships with local, collegiate, and professional women's teams that offer our camps the opportunity for in-camp clinics and professional sports outings.
As the old adage says, "Stuff happens." What training do you and your staff have to stay ahead of the unexpected?
Our staff training is pretty intense, to the extent that we role play worst-case scenarios. We practice adjusting to different circumstances, including quick transitions from outside to inside, should we encounter extreme weather.
What is the one feature of your business that you're most proud of?
Our impact both on the fields and courts and off—our program emphasizes growth as an athlete as [much as] it does growth as a person.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
We are proud of the relationships we develop and maintain through the years with our camp families. Throughout these years, we have worked hard to create a customized teaching technique and unique understanding of how young girls best learn and thrive. The results are a program and environment that effectively foster their love for sports and fitness to last a lifetime. This is our passion. This is our mission.
ChiroXchange supports a nervous system of more than 250 nationwide locations, whose varying services and technologies all converge with the end of healing bodies with holistic, drug-free techniques. The chiropractors believe that many of the body’s ailments, from sore backs and headaches to fatigue, are caused by blockages in the nervous system. To reverse these blockages, they nudge spinal discs back into place with gentle, strategic pressure, aligning nerves with the vertebra to free the flow of information and cat photos to and from the brain. The chiropractors at each location emphasize communication with their patients. They field questions, explain the purpose of every adjustment, and work with patients to design programs around their unique wellness goals.
With targeted, ongoing mailings, SuperSibs! recognizes shadow survivors’ feelings, helps them realize they are not alone, and comforts them with inspirational letters, activity books, wristbands, a SuperSib! courage trophy, and other support materials. These comfort and care packages inform and inspire shadow survivors with messages of strength and hope during their tough times. More than 25,000 children receive SuperSibs! support, and every year the organization expands its outreach by 25%. SuperSibs! materials and mailings reduce depression, anxiety, and grief and promote emotional healing and self-esteem, helping siblings function socially and share their feelings.
The soft glow of 30,919 carved pumpkins lit up the night sky on Saturday, October 22, 2011—the night the town of Highwood set the Guinness world record for most jack-o’-lanterns lit in one location. And this year should be no different. The three-day Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival, which has gained coverage from The Rosie Show and Trib Local, invites guests from all over the country to contribute to its wall of carved pumpkins, an experience that will be captured by HGTV’s “Pumpkin Wars”.
Patrons can decorate prescooped pumpkins at the designated carving stations (or bring their own precarved candidate) as they enjoy a weekend of live music on multiple stages, treats from local vendors, a gourmet farmers’ market on Saturday, hayrides, and a New Orleans–inspired night parade. Participants can even test out their newly carved pumpkin sneakers during the festival’s 5K run, which raises funds and awareness for the Leukemia Research Foundation. The festival culminates with the lighting of the wall of jack-o’-lanterns at 7 p.m. on Saturday, and, when all is said and done, pumpkins won’t be left in the dark as their owners are encouraged to take their record-breaking masterpieces home with them.