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Best Friend to Animals: Anneke Vos
The cats and dogs of Sacramento have a constant friend in Anneke Vos, a tireless 85-year-old who has spent the past 29 years taking care of pets that belong to local homeless people. Vos- a 2006 nominee for Animal Planet's Hero of the Year award-provides on-site kennels at Sacramento Loaves & Fishes. She pays for the animals' medical treatments, finds homes for those whose owners have died and educates the homeless about pet care. Financed mostly out of her own pocketbook and donations from the public, her work is an act of love.
Best Kitchen Without an Oven: Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen
Bravo to this volunteer-run, do-it-yourself bicycle maintenance program. The group provides a midtown site, tools and staff to promote low-cost transportation, self-sufficiency and cycling safety through education, valuable concepts in this uneasy economic era. 1915 I St., Sacramento; (916) 442-3177; sacbikekitchen.org
Best Way To Horse Around: Equine Assisted Psychotherapy at Sierra Child and Family Services
Healing from trauma and learning to communicate more effectively are two of the outcomes Sierra Child and Family Services' clients have experienced through working with horses via the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy program. Several of the licensed mental health professionals and equine specialists at the Diamond Springs-based SCFS
among the first facilities in the nation to employ the EAP method-are qualified to train other therapists and equine specialists around the country.
Best Volunteer Moves: Morningstar Dancers
This volunteer group of ballroom and country dancers makes monthly visits to area assisted-living homes to entertain-even dance with-the residents. Performing traditional ballroom (waltz, fox trot, tango, rumba, cha-cha, swing) and modern country (partner and line) dance, Morningstar Dancers gets everyone into the groove.
Best Way for Kids (and Young Adults) To Make the Rounds: Washington Neighborhood Center's Boxing Program
Alumni of the Washington Neighborhood Center's nationally recognized boxing program have gone on to the Olympics, some even pro, and include 1990 World Boxing Association light welterweight champion Loreto Garza. The center, which has been serving the Alkali Flat and Washington neighborhoods for more than 50 years, also offers programs in dance, music and art. 400 16th St., Sacramento; (916) 444-6833; akathecenter.com