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Tournament of Hope

The Fight Against Children’s Cancer

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Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation is a local charity organization that helps diagnosed children and their families with finances, support, and hope. They host events all over the city to raise awareness and money. Some of the important events are the yearly NNCCF Benefit Horse Show at Meadowview Equestrian Center and the Tournament of Hope.

They take not only financial donations, but blankets, hats, and stuffed animals as well. These items help the kids that go through relentless hours of chemotherapy to feel more comfortable and less nervous at long appointments. Throughout the process, the team at NNCCF is there to provide aid and advice to the family. They help negotiate prices such as travel, medical, and hotel expenses. When a child successfully completes their chemotherapy, there is a special event where they ring a silver bell, signaling the end of their battle.

The Tournament of Hope, one of the biggest events they host, took place in September. They have raised $1.4 million, and this year the tournament held 144 golfers. The event has strengthened their resources and expanded their support within Nevada. They also host St. Baldrick’s, where anyone can register to shave their head in support of the children losing their hair during chemotherapy.

NNCCF has raised over $1.6 million in funds for the head shaving event. Their benefit horse show has also grown in the past six years from $10,000 to $60,000 raised, and from 100 volunteers to 400. It is now a three-day event that hosts live auctions, large corporate sponsors, and a speaker who has undergone the harsh treatment. The continuous expansion of NNCCF just goes to show what we can do when we put our minds to it.

As a local organization for such an important cause, it is vital that NNCCF gains awareness and attention so that they can continue to help these children. Their future goal is to fund treatment specifically for children that does not have the same effects as the adult treatment. Although 80% of children with cancer survive through the process, two-thirds of children suffer long lasting effects from the harsh treatment.

Shirley Folkins-Roberts, the co-founder of NNCCF says they hope to better the treatment so that the adult treatment does not ravage their bodies.

Roberts is passionate about the families that come to them for help and the stories that they tell. For 14 years, they have continually expanded and reached out to more families than ever before. They have raised $3.9 million for 483 families and grown 100 times bigger in revenue.

From one staff member, they have expanded to eight with the help from full time volunteers. With many family activities, as well as the Inspire Scholarship for survivors, they have changed so many lives. Now NNCCF even goes on a yearly trip to Washington D.C. and takes families to advocate on a national level with representatives for children’s cancer research.

Roberts is a co-founder along with her husband and her best friend, Debby. It has allowed me to see the best side of the community and the generosity of Nevada, said Roberts.

I have had the privilege of knowing and supporting some of the bravest people I will ever meet, including the children and young adults for which the diagnosis changes them, she continued emotionally.

Roberts is proud to say that NNCCF has become a sanctuary for the children affected by this diagnosis. The journeys of these angels are represented by the Wall of Courage which shows the battles they have undergone and the courage they have gained.

There are many ways to actively be involved in the fight against children’s cancer, and NNCCF always has an open position for anyone interested. Anybody wishing to be involved can call them at (775) 825-0888 or visit their website

From the Holiday Adopt-A-Family which provides gifts to the family, or volunteering to make baskets at the Tournament of Hope, there is no shortage of things to help out with. Even students at UNR can visit their tailgates to assist them. NNCCF has grown tremendously and gained a massive group of support, and they can aid more children with Nevada’s generosity and kindness.

room full of stuffed animals and plants

Local Business Review: Natural Selection

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Off of St Lawrence Avenue in the heart of Midtown you’ll find Natural Selection, an eclectic, whacky boutique where you can find anything from rare plant species to animal skeletons. The store has been open for a little over four years now and is a great place to find unusual gifts or expand your house plant collection.

Upon walking in you’ll find exotic taxidermied animal heads hung on every wall, vibrant green plants swinging from the ceiling, and a collection of books sitting on the center table. If you’re looking to spruce up your college apartment, you can buy succulents of all shapes and colors for $5. Among other eccentric store items you’ll find rabbit foot key chains, geodes, and various animal bones for just a buck. Natural Selection takes pride in being, well, all natural. Everything you see in store is the real deal.


Local Business Review: Holey Schmidt Donuts

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One of the newest donut shops in Reno is so sweet, it makes visitors feel like they’re on a sugar rush. As if the Discovery Museum located in downtown Reno wasn’t already fun enough, the addition of Holey Schmidt Donuts this past February makes for a great attraction. Owners Galen and Cadi Schmidt offer a wide variety of flavors, ranging from the basic chocolate sprinkle to the ultimate throwback for 90’s kids: the cosmic brownie. This hip, youthful shop located in Midtown is visited by children and adults alike. With art on the walls proclaiming to “Keep Reno Sweet,” it helps the shop connect with prideful Nevadans and those looking for a cheat day indulgence.

While the daring may be drawn to the donuts loaded with candy and cookie crumbles, there’s no shame in choosing the classics. Old fashioned and chocolate sprinkles are seen as a go-to. The shop also sells a pretty impressive range of coffee and usually carries vegan donuts for the health-conscious on Tuesdays.

Overall, Holey Schmidt is known for its fun name, active presence on social media, and its very rich and flavorful donuts. They often restock throughout the day, and the staff does it pretty quickly based on what’s popular.

The Jungle Cafe

Local Business Review: Java Jungle

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In the depths of downtown in the Riverwalk District, there stands a quaint little coffee house that goes by Java Jungle, or more recently named “The Jungle.” The Jungle is a very trendy and open environment that allows anybody to come and sip coffee while enjoying the presence of the nearby river and downtown altogether.

In addition, The Jungle has a certain edge to it that makes it stand out from the other coffee shops in Reno, and that is at night it turns into a hip dive bar and serves alcohol. In 2013, Jungle Vino and Java Jungle joined forces and merged their companies with the idea that cocktails and wine can also bring people together the same way coffee does.

The Jungle offers wine tastings paired with live music and gourmet food for a better coffee shop experience. The Barroon is a new addition to The Jungle which has the goal of capturing presence in an intimate setting. The Barroon holds the wine tastings and other special events like open mic night every Monday. Next time you are thinking of hitting downtown and going to your normal bars, try The Jungle for a different, more enriching kind of night.

closeup of a book being read

Northern Nevada Literacy Council Helps Create New Workforce

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Northern Nevada Literacy Council (NNLC) is a local nonprofit that seeks to educate adult learners and accepts students 17 years of age and older. NNLC’s free programming includes Citizenship classes, High School Equivalency (HSE) classes, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, and Career Pathways, which helps students and graduates of HSE to further their education or find a career.

Susan Robinson, the Executive Director, expects an influx of new jobs in the Reno area. She said, “There’s 45,000 adults in Washoe County without a high school diploma, not children, adults. How many of those 45,000 people that live here already, how many of them can we educate and train to take those jobs?”

Robinson said that helping people get their high school diplomas and enter the workforce helps the economy as well as the individual.

Robinson urges people to consider taking HSE classes and recommends commiting to 50 hours of work. “We allow new people to start every two weeks. The average of our graduates has been five to six weeks [in class]. For some people it’s as little as one to two weeks,” said Robinson. Patty Aragona, the Career Pathways Coordinator, said, “It’s a short time, for a long term gain.”

HSE students and graduates can take advantage of the Career Pathways programming. Aragona said, “[Career Pathways] gives them a goal to shoot for, to complete their classes, get their equivalency, and know that there’s a next step.”

She said that programming helps students to become, “Excited about careers, seeing the difference in pay that they’ll get having their credential, and then their options that open for them once they get into higher education, as far as scholarships and financial aid.”

Robinson suggests that an important aspect of NNLC’s programming is creating a brighter future for the participants. She said, “We have to have the mentality and the position that it’s going to be about getting them a job, or into college, or into training.” Aragona added, “It’s to improve their quality of life.”

Robinson said she would like to see NNLC continue to grow. “We don’t have to stay here in the mothership, as I call it. We could have satellite classrooms,” said Robinson.

Aragona said she would like to see more of the community become involved with NNLC, suggesting University of Nevada students could teach there. Aragona said, “We love having volunteers for tutoring. I got my degree in education [at UNR], so I know that you need to have teaching hours. We could give them as many hours as they want.”

Robinson said, “When I started here five years ago, [NNLC] had about 290 students, and now we’re over a thousand.” Robinson would like for the trend to continue, and for the community to know what NNLC has to offer. NNLC is committed to increasing education and opportunities for adult learners in Nevada. According to Robinson, graduates often go on to attain higher paying jobs, more stable employment, and to attend college.

If you’re interested in volunteering for the Northern Nevada Literacy Council email