Moved by an article about deployed troops that felt forgotten by their country, Heidi Janson decided to show her support by doing what she does best: matching brides to their perfect wedding gown. Heidi staged a gown giveaway for 50 military brides in 2008 at her bridal boutique?a modest start for Brides Across America, Inc., which has since paired more than 12,000 brides with designer dresses. The organization garnered the attention of ABC's Nightly News in 2011 and 2012 and People magazine in 2013, though its highest honor came during a 2012 White House event hosted by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.
Animal Rescue Front (ARF) was founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as a first-responder animal-rescue team that helped save the lives of cats and dogs that survived the disaster. Focusing on one affected community in Mississippi, the organization transported more than 1,100 animals to homes and shelters that wouldn't euthanize them at locations across the country. The effort reduced the kill rate from 80 percent to zero for the first 12 months after the hurricane.
Now, ARF continues to fulfill its mission: “Until there are none save one.” The organization works to prevent companion animals from being euthanized through spay/neuter initiatives, adoption services, and educational programs. Teams in Louisiana and Mississippi also rescue animals directly from shelters that are at full capacity, and then place the animals in foster homes to socialize them and provide medical care and prepare them for adoption.
After many hours of hard, dirty work, clearing out debris and installing new flooring at the Salem Animal Rescue League, Project Pawsitive Foundation president Jill Sullivan Grueter looked at her team's completed project with pride. "I could picture the rescue getting more people in to adopt because the place looked clean. It looked safe," she gushed in a YouTube chronicle of the project, "It was an awesome feeling." Animal shelters devote themselves to caring for neglected animals until they can be placed into loving homes, but a lack of funding or natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy can leave facilities damaged and potentially unsafe. That's where the construction experts and business professionals of the Project Pawsitive Foundation team come in, volunteering their time and abilities to help shelters stay open and continue their work of saving animals in need. Project Pawsitive Foundation relies on donations and sponsorships, and strives to renovate four or more animal rescues each year.
The Friends of the Seabrook Trail have a single goal: to create a safe space for the children and residents of Seabrook and beyond. Increased traffic throughout the town has caused many to worry for the safety of young ones and pedestrians alike, inspiring the volunteer organization to take action. Through fundraisers, partnerships, and the annual Road Race, they hope to transform a section of unused train railway into a 2.5-mile nonmotorized trail and make it a part of the 17-mile East coast trail. The trail would connect eight coastal cities, while also giving residents space to safely walk and run, and play the world's longest game of hopscotch.
In the words of its teachers, the Growing Well Program "is a hopping, clapping, drawing, bouncing, singing, playing, interacting and learning program for children and their families." Here, babies and kids up to kindergarten age participate in programs focused on specific topics, like music, science, and poker. The Music Together program is one of the center's specialties, and it gets little toes tapping to genres like world music, jazz, and folk. There are also play-group sessions that immerse kids in the Russian language.