The Kindness Connection works with local charities to define service projects that meet their needs. We then design the projects, procure the required materials, and organize schools, groups and/or individuals to complete the projects.
Matt Feeney and Joel Berman share a disability and a dream. Feeney broke his neck diving off a 100-foot cliff and Berman lost his ability to walk after a runaway flatcar hit him while laying rail tracks. Together they founded Adaptive Adventures to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities through participation in sports and outdoor recreation. The organization runs progressive sports programs year-round for children, adults, and service members who have been severely injured in conflicts abroad. They cater to people with a wide range of disabilities, including spinal-cord injuries, amputations, and cerebral palsy. The programs help build confidence and social skills in participants who could not otherwise afford equipment, training, and travel for recreational sports.
Some might view an empty city lot overrun with broken bottles, weeds, and loiterers as an eyesore to be avoided. Karen Trout and Laura Michel saw it as an opportunity for action. Thanks to these women, three empty lots—located on the corner of Avers Avenue and Cermak Road in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood—became the Avers Community Garden, a project that won first prize in Placemaking Chicago's 2012 Space in Between contest.
In addition to flourishing gardens where residents grow their own produce, the space hosts educational after-school and summer programs for neighborhood children. These kids help maintain the garden by picking up trash, watering plants, and pulling weeds—but they also have plenty of time to play, thanks to a gravel bike track and, in the future, safe playground equipment.
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.
In the more than four decades since its founding in 1970, Care for Real has never been as busy as it's been in the years following the 2008 recession. More than 55,000 clients visited the Edgewater fixture in 2012, seeking assistance with their financial, health, housing, employment, or social-services needs. The entire operation is manned by just three full-time employees and a 200-strong team of volunteers.
Neighbors in need include families struggling with food insecurity and individuals who have lost their jobs; senior citizens and children under the age of 18 comprise more than half of the client base. Ongoing projects include the Clothes Closet, which provides gently used apparel free of charge to more than 1,300 clients each month, and the Food Pantry, which distributes nearly 60,000 pounds of rice, beans, bread, fresh produce, and other items each month to those in need, including more than 800 children.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.