K9 Assistance for Children
K9 Assistance for Children

In the photo from left to right: Sam Bitar – Executive Director of the Webster Five Foundation and Business Analyst, Webster Five; Gerry DeRoche – CEO, National Education for Assistance Dog Services, Inc.; Don Doyle – President/CEO, Webster Five

The Webster Five Foundation announced that as part of its Web of Caring to Make a Difference program, it will donate $1,000 to National Education for Assistance Dog Services, Inc. (NEADS). NEADS has been training and placing service dogs with individuals who are deaf, physically disabled, and children on the autism spectrum. They are celebrating their 40th year of raising, training and matching World Class Service Dogs.

Webster Five’s Web of Caring to Make a Difference program reinforces the bank’s long-standing initiative to give back to the community by supporting local organizations that are making a difference. NEADS fits within this mission by enhancing independence and social interactions for the people the dogs are placed with, particularly in social situations. They provide services across all socio-economic levels, race, ethnicity, gender, and age, and train the widest range of service dogs in the country. Their programs include dogs for traditional service, trauma assistance for veterans, hearing, social, classroom, therapy, and courtroom facility dogs.

NEADS operates from a large campus in Princeton, MA, which includes a kennel, Early Learning Center for puppies just beginning the program, some of whom are rescued from shelters. NEADS also operates out of the new Kathy Foreman Client House and Training Center. The facility provides a home-like environment where clients can stay and develop their relationship with their service dog for two weeks, under professional staff supervision. The funds that Webster Five is providing to NEADS will assist in the raising, training, and placing of a social dog with an autistic child from Worcester County. The dog will help increase social interaction for the child, by providing an opportunity for communication, and an increased connection to family, peers, and the public.

Donald F. Doyle, president and chief executive officer of Webster Five, stated, “NEADS provides a wonderful opportunity for these individuals. Their expert service dogs open new doors of social interaction and confident behavior for disabled, deaf, and autistic members of the community.”

NEADS CEO Gerry DeRoche said “We are so appreciative of Webster Five for their contribution to our program. These funds will facilitate the training and placement of service dogs with children in Worcester, providing a great benefit.”

About Web of Caring to Make a Difference
Web of Caring to Make a Difference is a bank-wide community program created by Webster Five as a tangible means for the bank as an organization and its employees as individuals to make a positive impact by supporting local organizations that also are making a difference. Through the Webster Five Foundation, the program has donated more than $1.5 million to various local nonprofit organizations for programs that support expanding and improving access to education, culture and the arts, social services, charitable activities and community development. Requests for funding are reviewed by the board of directors and are awarded to established 501(c)(3) organizations in the above sectors that qualify for funding.

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