Guest Speaker Series
On November 20th our speakers were Shelly Ferger, Founder, Michael Stewart, volunteer and Kim Prado, Director of Dogs for Life. Dogs for Life was founded in 2002 as a 501(C)3 organization that developed the off-leash dog park in Vero Beach. But their dreams were bigger than simply becoming an off-leash dog park. They wanted to help people. The good news us through Shelly’s hard work and leadership, they achieved their goal to expand their offerings and to train service dogs. In 2015 the Training Center was completed and today helps dogs and veterans train together for hearing, mobility and PTSD symptoms.
Many of the dogs multitask. It takes 1-2 years to train the puppies which are then placed with a veteran or disabled person. The dogs are obedience trained and task trained to mitigate a person’s diagnosed disability. Dogs for life is one of 5 non-profit organizations in Florida. All puppies are trained and accredited by Assistance Dogs International and are re-certified each year.
Michael Stewart, a retired police officer, said that many veterans and first responders experience nightmares, pain, tears and withdraw from life. Sadly many commit suicide. Studies demonstrate that service dog therapy is 84.5% effective in improving the quality of life.
The fastest growing need for service dogs is in Florida and from our veterans. The dogs provide the emotional stability that veterans, first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress need to restore peace in their everyday lives. This critical help enables veterans to lead a life of self-reliance and independence.
If you would like to help or need more information contact www.dogsforlifevb.org.
Welcome New Members
On November 20th we installed our two newest members Lauri Riley and Susan Baran. Please make an effort to introduce yourself and welcome them.
Lori has lived in this area for 20+ years and her husband and son have participated in our BWO for many years. Lori and her husband own Art-Craft Signs – she works out of their home. Art-Craft Signs is currently working on a new scoreboard for 2020 Blue Water Open.
Susan and her husband Steve have lived in Indian River County since 2006. She works for Fischer Realty and Investments and Steve is at Reclaimed Outreach Ministry. They both want to make a positive impact in this community.
On November 20th members brought in toys for the children currently served by Guardians for New Futures. We collected toys and money to provide 15 children with 3 gifts each. Thanks to Karen McElveen and Kathy Burns for coordinating this project to give a better Christmas for these children!
This and That
We have money in the foundation account to spend – if you have a suggestion that fits our cause, please submit your request to a board member.
Our club recently contributed to A Night to Shine, a function of special needs. Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs ages 14 and older. This February 7th, 2020 Night to Shine celebrates its sixth anniversary. This past year, on one night 655 churches from around the world came together to host Night to Shine for approximately 100,000 honored guests through the support of 200,000 volunteers!