Community service is very important for our students: it engages children in civic-minded activities from a young age. It provides young people with the sense of being a part of a community, teaches them responsibility and empathy, and also empowers them.
When Pebblecreek Montessori decided last school year to raise funds to sponsor The Rebuilding Warriors, 501(c)3 non-profit organization, it became far from the ordinary project. Students learned to appreciate what they have, to be grateful for the sacrifice somebody made for them, and to understand that they have the ability to help others.
The Rebuilding Warriors is the organization that saves dogs from animal shelters and trains them for returning veterans. These service dogs become a great source of support: they are trained to open doors, turn on light switches, and retrieve anything you drop. The dogs provide comfort and companionship for those who are suffering from the physical and emotional side effects of warfare: like amputees, or people who have post-traumatic stress disorder, or traumatic brain injuries.
Pebblecreek Montessori’s entire upper elementary planned, and executed this project. Students chose their leadership and created bulletins; they brainstormed different types of fund-raising and created written communication with the community. They had meetings every week since the fall of 2015 to keep track of the progress, celebrate achievements, and share the bitterness of disappointment. By spring, students raised enough money to support the rescue and training of two dogs. With the help of Jackie Konold, a professional Rebuilding Warriors trainer, they carefully selected and placed for training German Shepherd dogs named Shaye and Trooper.
Pebblecreek Montessori plans to carry on with this project to spread awareness about Rebuilding Warriors’ mission and what they do for veterans. Raising funds for a cause, which is outside of children’s immediate circle, has a lot more benefits than just collecting money. It helps students have a greater sense of self-worth, self-esteem, and empathy, which can lead to better life choices in general, and it can make a huge impact for generations to come!
Rebuilding Warriors provides highly trained and socialized Service/Companion Dogs to Veterans diagnosed as Amputees as well as those with PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Most of our dogs are bred especially for this mission and have a highly sought-after demeanor. They provide these dogs to Honorably Discharged Veterans from any branch of the Armed Forces or from any service era meeting our eligibility standards.
They purchase dogs from reputable breeders and rescue dogs from breed rescues and local animal shelters. These young dogs will be trained by us and have a good foundation of obedience and manners so as to easily bond with their new owner and family. We will sponsor these Wounded Veterans with their companion/mobility dog, provide training and home set up of equipment.
These dogs become great confidence builders aiding these men and women as they return to society. It becomes a challenge for the participants to raise and care for these world-class animals. The unconditional love given and received by these dogs teaches these warriors to ignore their own self-imposed limitations.
Tomorrow’s Child/ Sept 2016