Supporter Spotlight: The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts

In September 2020, NEADS was awarded a $50,000 Activation Fund grant for a Behavioral Check List (BCL) space to be built in the new Breeding Center. This space will be used to test puppies to determine their eligibility to enter NEADS’ training programs and join the next generation of NEADS World Class Service Dogs.

A behavior assessment is the process of identifying and noting an individual dog’s reaction to various environmental stimuli. The BCL, a behavior scoring system developed by Dr. James Serpell from the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with multiple guide dog organizations, provides a way to describe aspects of behavior important for Guide or Service Dog work. The BCL space is a 24’ x 24’ room and will double as an indoor play space where the puppies who have completed the test can exercise together as a litter or have one-on-one time with staff or volunteers while being exposed to a variety of socialization experiences such as different surfaces, objects, and noises.

“NEADS Service Dogs play a critical role in improving the health and wellbeing of clients by enabling them to live with greater independence and security. So, the Foundation is pleased to support the expansion of NEADS’ training capacity and increase the number of clients that can be matched with NEADS Service Dogs,” explained Dr. Jan Yost, President and CEO of The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts.

The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts has supported several different projects through its Activation Fund grant program, including our handicap accessible van in 2018. We are grateful for their belief in our mission and continued support, as demonstrated by the awarding of this most recent grant.