Joanne Coughlin

From: Salem, MA
Program: Assistance Dog
Minimum Goal: $8,000 | Amount Raised:$1,867

Empathy, self-confidence, inspiration, and love are core foundations to a successful learning environment.

In my role as a Therapeutic Special Educator in an elementary school, I am able to support students in their development of a sense of self and security. We work together to identify and solve problems collaboratively and the tools they need to be successful. My goal for all the children I encounter is to provide them with the appropriate support that allows them to navigate and progress through social and emotional growth. I also strongly believe in the power of a teacher bringing their own passions into a classroom in order to impact learning. Beyond bringing art, music, and an open pallet for creativity, I am thrilled to be able to add the support of a highly trained classroom assistance dog to the work I do at the Winthrop Elementary School in Hamilton, MA.

You may ask why I believe a dog will make a difference. In this day and age we have a whole new meaning of communication. Our passions and compassion is so often filtered through technology, eliminating the psychological and physiological experience of person-to-person connection. Bringing a trained assistance dog into our school community allows an avenue of opportunity for connection that so many students and adults desire. Learning the value of social skills and engagement at the side of a nonjudgmental furry friend provides a platform as teachers to connect, intervene and teach. My goal is to bring a positive impact the whole school community, increasing morale and school spirit. Our dog will provide opportunities for all students to have experiences in caring for, handling, exercising, and seeking companionship. It is well documented the positive impact a service dog can have on individuals who have experienced trauma, grief and anxiety. As a district, we continue to focus on the social and emotional learning for our students. We believe strongly in the importance of providing an environment that is balanced with academic and social-emotional growth. Our service dog will add to the tools we utilize to reach each and every student. Most importantly, I hope I am able to bring a smile to all children each day, especially any child who may be finding it hard to smile at all.

Personally, I am a very compassionate, dedicated teacher. I have worked in special education for 15 years, utilizing both my training as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a special education teacher, to support students with a variety of disabilities. I have worked with students impacted by Autism, anxiety, PTSD, cerebral palsy, ADHD, depression, Down Syndrome, and traumatic brain injury. Each learning path has been unique, and I celebrate each and every student I have had the privilege of working with. I feel I am the luckiest of all teachers because my role allows me the ability to get to know so many students on a personal level. It also allows me to become an integral part of how they discover more about themselves everyday throughout elementary school. For the past 9 years in the Winthrop Elementary School I have nothing but gratitude. I feel I owe it to the students to bring as much as I can into my classroom, as well as the school community as a whole, and having a classroom assistance dog will only increase our strength as a team to move mountains, one stone at a time!

*NEADS clients pledge to raise a minimum of $8,000 for the organization, thus allowing us to fulfill our mission of placing Service Dogs with individuals who benefit from them the most.  Each donation ensures that NEADS will continue to change lives with our World Class Service Dogs.

Joanne Coughlin

On our donation form, pick the name of the client you want to sponsor under the Program Menu and check whether or not we can share your contact information with the client. Client fundraising totals are manually updated weekly (not automatically) which allows 100% of each donation to be allocated towards each client’s fundraising goal.

Read all our clients' stories here.

Find a Client

Search by program

Search by name