The conservationists that make up Trees, Water & People (TWP) believe in a simple concept: local people should play an active role in preserving and managing their natural resources. When this happens, the organization believes it fosters involvement, ownership, and long-term financial sustainability. To this end, the organization aims to improve communities in Latin America and the United States through hands-on educational programs. Tree nurseries in Latin America, for example, teach locals about the benefits of reforestation; in South Dakota, gardening workshops held on a farm give Native Americans the tools and knowledge for sustainable food production.
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By 7 a.m. each day, the kitchen staff at Coal Creek Meals on Wheels is already hard at work preparing the day's meals. Along with the typical daily meal based on protein, vegetables, and starch, plus bread, fruit, and a freshly baked dessert, the crew also makes several dozen specialized meals each day to accommodate special dietary needs and restrictions. Volunteers chip in around 9 a.m. to bag and package the food, and when the volunteer drivers arrive at 11 a.m., the food is ready for delivery. But the volunteer drivers do more than just deliver hot meals to the organization's homebound elderly, disabled, or ill clients—they also serve as friendly visitors, providing wellness check-ins in addition to hot, nutritious meals. Coal Creek Meals on Wheels has seen a 16% increase in clients since 2010, and its volunteers delivered more than 16,000 meals in 2012.
CrossFit Julia’s husband-and-wife team takes a personal approach to fitness. Rather than set their clients loose in a jungle of workout machinery, they structure their daily CrossFit workouts around functional strength and cardio exercises in a supportive group setting. The classes themselves constantly vary; one day’s deadlifts and pushups are another day’s sprints and burpees. Success is determined not by any uniform standard, but by each student’s ability to meet or exceed his or her own fitness expectations. Just as CrossFit differs from normal workouts, CrossFit Julia’s facility differs from a normal gym. Ropes hang from the ceiling, and the rows of cardio machines found in typical gyms have been replaced with heavy tires lifted from cars illegally parked outside.
Forward Steps support teens transitioning out of foster care with housing, support services, and life-skills classes in financial literacy, resumé building, and nutrition. The organization also focuses on community, providing its young clients with a place to live in a communal environment and connecting them with successful program alumni who share experiences similar to their own. While Forward Steps' clients are working toward self-sufficiency, it supplements their limited incomes with a monthly stipend and assistance in applying for financial aid and scholarships.
The city lights of Denver twinkle in the distance from Mount Vernon Country Club, a 90-year-old private club that is not only proud of its picturesque views from atop Lookout Mountain—which also include the Genesee Mountain and the snowcapped Rocky Mountains—but of the activities it affords both members and guests. Making membership even more affordable due to their lack of a golf course on the grounds, Mount Vernon Country Club is not just your average country club. Members are welcome to enjoy the main dining room and Fireside Lounge’s menus of savory steaks and seasoned seafood dishes, or to dig into the weekly king-crab buffet and weekend brunch. On Friday and Saturday nights, the Fireside Lounge keeps diners entertained with live music, which has included past jazz performances by Kenny Barron, Billy Higgins, and the Fort Apache Band.
Along with a bounty of savory cuisine, Mount Vernon Country Club also offers a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. Members can splash around the club’s 25-yard outdoor pool—complete with tube slide and poolside restaurant—or swing rackets day or night at three clay and three hard-court tennis courts. Though the club's original golf course was converted into a water resource and lost-ball orphanage decades ago, members can still swing and putt amid the manicured greens at Evergreen and Raccoon Creek golf courses for a discounted rate.
To keep Mount Vernon Country Club in tip-top shape, the club has undergone remodeling and updating through the years, which has included the addition of banquet halls and an exercise facility. The curvy bar and contemporary chandeliers give the almost-century-old establishment a modern feel, while the grand wood- and stonework still exude the club’s authentic, rustic-cabin charm.