"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." – Dalai Lama
It all started when Christine Skrzyniak, teaching assistant at Camilla Road Sr. Public School, and her son Noah, a student at Camilla Road, received their dog guide Tank from the Lions Foundation of Canada's Dog Guide.
Noah lives with autism. Tank not only supports Noah in his day-to-day life, but he also supports staff and students at Camilla Road with his infectious spirit and, of course, important dog guide duties. Having experienced the joy that Tank brought into their school, the school decided to support another family with a dog guide and started Paws for a Cause.
Paws for a Cause's school-wide fundraiser goal was to raise $12,000 to sponsor a dog guide for a family in need through the Lions Foundation, a charitable foundation that seeks to assist Canadians with a medical and physical disability by providing them with a dog guide at no cost. Students and staff did everything from encouraging their friends and families to donate, to hosting bake sales and more. Before they knew it, they had exceeded their goal and raised over $13,000 to sponsor a dog guide. The funds raised will support the cost of caring for dog guides, training and transporting the dogs to families across the country.
"Having Tank at the school and seeing how Noah is able to go to the dentist and doctor with little problems, I realized how different his life was and how much having Tank has helped him so I wanted to do the same. It doesn't matter how much you give – just help," says Faraz, student at Camilla Road.
To thank staff and students, the Lions Foundation named their newest dog guide, Camilla, after the school.
"Everybody at Camilla Road worked so hard and they did a fantastic job. And part of that, we said, "would you like to call the dog, Camilla?" which they did, and they fell in love with Camilla. Now, she's going on to continue her training to provide help for a child," says Ian Ashworth, director of program development at the Lions Foundation.
Camilla will be going to a 7-year-old boy who lives with autism in St. John's, New Brunswick.
"It's such a great and unique story for us to be able to tell for our friends and family that children at Camilla donated that much money for us. This dog guide, Camilla, is going to help my child with his safety. My child is a flight-risk so it's going to allow us the freedom of being able to travel outside of our home without the risk of him running onto the road and into traffic," says Robbie, father of dog guide recipient. "It's greatly appreciated and I'd just like to thank all the students at Camilla school."
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