70% of $32,000 goal
I was born and raised and currently live in South Charleston, WV with my two active boys, Porter and Preston.
I love to travel, am a Disney lover, and am very strong in my faith. I enjoy hearing others' stories and have never met a stranger.
As someone passionate about supporting West Virginia's autistic children and the many people who work with them, I am excited to announce that I am fundraising for an autism facility dog to work with me in my advocacy efforts!
After my wonderful experience working with Good Dog! Sully, I've decided to work with Good Dog! Service Canines, a 501(3)c non-profit organization that will raise, train, and expertly match the perfect facility dog to meet my unique needs in working in various settings with au-some kids, educators, administrators, and community members who work with them. They also provide ongoing education and support for the lifetime of each assistance dog they place. And as a member of Assistance Dogs International, they only use positive training methods and strictly follow their guidelines for dog training and care and support standards.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder that causes significant communication, social, and behavioral challenges, with the abilities and needs of each person varying considerably.
In West Virginia, 1 in 80 students requires ASD educational services.
As a former special education teacher and in my current role as the Autism Coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Education, I have seen firsthand the unique challenges that students with autism and educators face in the classroom, such as:
In my professional role, I am called upon by special education directors to observe and create professional development training tailored to the individual needs of the child with autism. Additionally, I'm here to help educators look beyond the student's behavior to understand the "why" it's happening.
Of course, Autism doesn't just end when the school bell rings.
Many au-some kids need private intervention services and therapies to increase their skills and abilities further.
Unfortunately, many West Virginians have trouble finding treatment because of long waitlists and a lack of autism programs.
With many services lacking in our beautiful state, it's become my personal initiative to build a bridge between West Virginia's kids with autism and their supporters by advocating for the ongoing needs of the autistic community outside of the educational system.
From 2017-2018, I had the honor of working with Good Dog! Sully in my special education classroom at Dunbar Intermediate School, a school leading the way for autism services in WV.
The first time I watched Sully in action was nothing short of magical.
I remember glancing down at the tail sticking out from under my Principal’s, who was his handler, desk, uncertain if Sully was up to the task the day was about to bring our way: a new student and his mother were heading down the hallway to visit our classroom.
Of course, his flawlessly performed commands and public manners were a testament to Sully's two years of extensive training with Good Dog! Service Canines. But he was still transitioning to this new environment and spent most of his days anxiously hiding under my desk.
When the door creaked open, the mom's uneasy look reconfirmed what she had explained earlier.
They had just moved to town after a divorce.
They didn't know anyone.
They were just coming for a quick visit.
The shy 10-year-old rocked back and forth as he observed the room when he suddenly became fixated on the movement from under her desk. Sully's tail began to wag. Everyone watched in awe as the pup finally emerged from his hiding space. Without hesitation, Sully plopped down next to the boy whose eyes lit up with glee.
The connection was unbreakable.
The facility dog knew precisely what to do to calm this child's anxiety!
And the student, who was only supposed to stay a minute or two, didn't want to leave now that his new furry friend was beside him.
From that tiny moment of Good Dog! Sully helping one au-some child transition into a new environment grew my immense confidence that facility dogs can make a positive difference for the individual with autism and the professionals working with them.
At a time when social-emotional learning is of utmost importance, and learning gaps are more evident than ever, the benefits of having an autism facility dog on the lives of students with autism are endless.
By addressing their many needs and providing a valuable training resource, not only would students benefit, but so would educators, parents, and community members.
The costs associated with getting a facility dog are significant, but the life-changing results are priceless. So I am reaching out to the community for support.
If you would like to help me reach my fundraising goal, there are a few ways you can do so:
Make a financial contribution. Any amount helps! Your generosity will enable me to better support West Virginia's autistic community.
Share my fundraising page. Help spread the word about my fundraising effort!
Contact your local business community. If you own a business or know someone who does, please consider sponsoring my fundraising effort. Sponsorships start at $500, and companies will be listed on my website. Don't hesitate to contact me at [email protected] for more information about sponsorship opportunities.
By the way, if you prefer to donate by check, please indicate "Fetching Pawsibilites for WV's Au-some Kids" on the memo line and mail it to:
Good Dog! Service Canines
Attn: Fetching Pawsibilites for WV's Au-some Kids
855 South Main Avenue, Suite K-162
Fallbrook, California 92028
Please note that mailed donations are recorded and deposited at the end of each month, and checks received after the month's deposit will be combined with the following month's deposit. To receive an email receipt of your donation, please include your email address with your check.
With your help, I know we can make a positive difference in the lives of au-some kids throughout WV!
All gifts are received with the greatest gratitude.
Good Dog! Autism Companions was founded in 2011 by the parents of an autistic boy. After getting a service dog for their son, they soon realized the life-changing benefits these dogs could provide to so many more. Today, Good Dog! Service Canines provides highly trained service dogs to children with disabilities and their families, helping them live better lives! Each dog is professionally trained using only positive reinforcement methods because we believe the true power of the human/canine bond is brought about through a loving, trusting relationship. Good Dog! Autism Companions, founded in 2011, has expanded its services to help more kids and families. We are now doing business as Good Dog! Service Canines. Thanks to all whose support let the love grow!
For more information, visit gooddogservicecanines.org.