Sponsor a Client

Imagine a place where you know your neighbor- not just their name, but their parents’ names. Where your child’s teacher comes over for dinner. A present day Mayberry. This is the town of Rossville, Indiana. In a city that is mostly comprised of agricultural industry, the love of animals is something that seems to be innate in our citizens. We still have “Drive your tractor to school” day and the yearly tradition of breakfast with Santa in the barn- complete with a petting zoo. This is the way of life in Rossville. Community, service to others, and family are tenants that drive every decision.

My name is Elizabeth Conlon. I am part of a dedicated private nonprofit organization, NFI (North American Family Institute). As a Registered Nurse, I work in NFI’s intensive residential program located at the Worcester Recovery Center Hospital, the Worcester Adolescent Recovery Center. Our mission is to provide a therapeutic milieu for children ages 13 to 19. Our work is based on a philosophy known as the normative approach, which emphasizes the ability of all people to achieve positive change when they are members of a community unified by its mission and purpose. The holistic and innovative services of NFI are tailored to individual client needs and help adolescents identify and build upon their strengths, emphasizing family work and community reintegration. The adolescents are greatly supported in this work by the relationships they form with staff, including service animals.

My name is Lindsay Curtius. I am an Education Specialist at San Diego Cooperative Charter School 2. My passion is supporting all children as they learn, grow, and thrive at the school I love. SDCCS2 is a progressive, developmentally-based, child-centered program. We focus on developing empathy and social emotional skills through healthy attachment, pro-social communication, and relationships. We are designated as an Ashoka Changemaker school through the Start Empathy Initiative and we are dedicated to the development of each individual child as a whole person. A service dog has been a welcome addition that fully aligns with our school’s mission and vision.

Benny has been a blessing to my ministry since we started working together. He has sat at the feet of grieving family members as they prepared for the funeral of a loved one. He also sat at their feet during the funeral. He often knows before I do that people are struggling and in need of the comfort he provides.

Since I first heard of the NEADS program I knew it was an organization that I wanted to become more involved with. Working in a correctional setting, I get to watch the dogs trained by inmates every day. I see how fulfilling the program is for them, and how it helps inmates cope with anxiety/depression as the dogs are therapeutic to them on a daily basis. Our Mental Health Department decided that we wanted to get more involved, and get a therapy dog for our department to help with mental health treatment. Many of our clients have difficulty opening up and engaging in therapy, having a therapy dog present helps them to feel more comfortable and more trusting.

Hello! My name is Kelley Kennedy and I truly love my job! There are many reasons why but the most important ones are between 7-8 years old. You see, I am a special education teacher at the Wheelock Elementary School in Medfield, MA and I work in a partial inclusion classroom which currently supports six students who have a wide range of special skills and needs. They come into my classroom for a portion of their day to receive one on one or small group instruction in reading, writing, or math. Here in the Learning Center, we work hard together and we also earn well deserved breaks.

I am excited to be joining the NEADS family and developing a partnership with Bella. Bella will serve as both a ministry dog and a service dog assisting me personally. As a minister and an animal-lover, I cannot think of a more ideal way to “do” ministry. Bella and I will serve our congregation, community, and region in many ways: through congregational and interfaith worship and events; pastoral care visits to nursing homes and hospitals; and crisis response to recovery and reunification centers in Petersham and the wider region. We will respond to requests by local clergy of any faith as well as regional fire, police, and other emergency responders.

My name is Kathy Marcello. I am a Behavior Specialist at Peaslee Elementary School in Northborough, MA. In the past 18 years, I have worked with many students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, Anxiety, ADHD and Tourette Syndrome. My passion is supporting all children as they learn, grow, and thrive in their school environment. I was recently matched with a NEADS dog named Ruby. My hope is to improve all students’ ability to communicate with peers and adults with the help of Ruby.

My name is Beth McNally and I am a school counselor at the Clinton Elementary School in Clinton, Ma. I support many students, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Anxiety and ADHD. My hope is to utilize a therapy dog in supporting all students as they work to increase their self esteem, empathy for others, positive behavior and social skills. Thank you for considering donating to NEADS on behalf of the students at the Clinton Elementary School!

Hello! Thank you for reading. I have my Masters in Clinical Social Work. I have served on Chicago’s West Side, its suburbs and here in MA through public and alternative schools, not-for-profits and foster and adoption agencies for over 20 years. My students have survived and triumphed abuse, neglect, trauma, death, a variety of losses, depression, anxiety and several other mental illnesses. My work has always been to connect or reconnect my clients to their strengths, capabilities, hopes and dreams. I am seeking a NEADS Service Dog for therapy to help me with this pursuit. There is much research that supports the calming effect that a friendly, familiar, and highly skilled dog gives to a human.

My name is Ellyn Salkin and I have been matched with Murray, a Service Dog for Therapy. As an advocate, counselor, and coach for people with autism spectrum disorders, other needs and different abilities, I'm thankful to have Murray by my side to provide comfort and encouragement. There are so many ways that Murray can assist in a therapeutic session or activity.

Cathedral in the Night is an outdoor church in Northampton, MA. Our community is a blend of people experiencing poverty, homelessness, and addiction; people living with mental illness; and people seeking a social justice-oriented, progressive church. Our weekly Sunday worship services include a hot, free dinner, insuring that there is a community meal every day of the week. We serve between 80-100 meals each Sunday. Additionally, we serve a weekly luncheon at a veterans support group in downtown Northampton. A ministry dog would be an incredible gift of support and healing in our community, where many people are marginalized and often overlooked.

Hello, my name is Tracey Stoll. I am a licensed Special Educator and Certified Autism Specialist. I am also the proud mother of 3 sons, two who are challenged with ASD and Anxiety. As the Founder/Executive Director of Learning Solutions, LLC (“LS” in Norwood, MA), I am committed to providing a safe, practice place for students experiencing social-emotional stress and confusion among their peers. Our Social Learning Center supports the growth of over 70 student clients a week; and collaborates with school districts to create inclusive programming that empowers at risk learners.

It is with great pleasure that I share with you all my decision to embark upon a new journey with my second NEADS Service Dog for Therapy. As many of you reading this page know, I shared my professional endeavors with the honorable and adorable NEADS dog, Rowdy (pictured) from 2007-2015. The loss of Rowdy tore at my heart, making it necessary for me to “take stock” and really contemplate whether I would apply for a new working dog. Sixteen months later I am here, quite excited, filled with gratitude and ready to have another go with a new, furry, four-legged partner!

My name is Tracey Williams and I’m an Intensive Special Education Teacher for Boston Public Schools. Several years ago I had three therapy dogs participate in a summer program for students with autism. The dogs came in twice a week and worked with children ages 3.9 to 5 years of age. The children increased their language skills, social skills, improved behavioral issues and classroom topics such as turn taking and completing a task. After that experience I was hooked on working with a classroom dog and students with behavioral needs, Autism, cognitive and developmental diagnosis. My classroom consists of children who are entering school for the first time and have severe anxiety, non-verbal, and socialization deficits. Having Cuba in the classroom calms the environment for learning, increases verbal skills as well as social skills and increases the motivation for the whole classroom.

Hi, my name is Vanessa Winters and I am a United Church of Christ pastor in Midcoast Maine. As a solo pastor of a small church, Ginger is my partner in ministry and helps me with so many tasks that I could never accomplish alone. She accompanies me to worship services, visits to nursing facilities, and people's homes. She also is with me as I serve as a chaplain to Maine Medical Center, hospice, and to the police and fire departments. Ginger is a great source of comfort in my community which has a serious need for it. On an average day Ginger and I might meet with military veterans, people with dementia, at risk youth, and people experiencing sudden and difficult loss. She helps make their suffering more bearable. Thank you for contributing to us so we can continue to serve our community!!