Friends For Life: AJ and Myles

Myles and AJ at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in 2005

Myles and AJ at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 (Source: http://www.wags4kids.org)

This Fall, thanks to our W.A.G.S. Parents, we will be sharing with you a very THANKFUL Thanksgiving series of “Where are they now” stories. These are the smiles, the moments, the steps and achievements that only a picture or a parent could begin to truly describe as to the impact these service dogs make in their children’s every day lives. Physically, Emotionally, Mentally and Socially – this gift of a service dog is not just a friend for now….it’s a friend for life.  In celebration of W.A.G.S. 4 Kids 10 year anniversary as a community (Yay! Whoop!! 3 Cheers!!!) and the charity that Cleveland grew, we would like to thank you for helping us change the lives of over 55 children and families in your community of Northeast Ohio! And so, it’s back to the future as we begin our series with one of our very first placements…Myles & AJ:

W.A.G.S. dog AJ was partnered with Myles, a four year old with Cerebral Palsy in 2005. At the time Myles was living with paralysis of his left side. He communicated with simple sign language to let his parents know his wants and needs. Myles did not speak. In the final phase of AJ’s training, the W.A.G.S. trainers stopped talking to AJ and worked exclusively with hand signs. When AJ went to live with Myles, that little boy had a dog he could command and tell what to do, on his own, with his right hand. A real dog of his own. Something his parents hadn’t thought possible. But there is a more interesting thing that happened through this placement of AJ to Myles. As the days passed, Myles began to speak. His first words were not “Mommy” or “Daddy”, words his parents had waited so long to hear him say …Myles said “come” and “sit”, clear as a bell, because he wanted to talk to AJ.

Our life 6 years later...AJ laying at Myles' feet watching over him.

Our life 6 years later…AJ laying at Myles’ feet watching over him.

Wendy Crann (W.A.G.S. 4 Kids, Executive Director) has told us that on a visit to see Myles, when he had just turned six, he climbed up on the sofa to sit next to her with a picture book and asked if she would like to hear him read. As Myles pointed to pictures and read the words below each, Wendy said, “Myles, I love that you are reading to me.” Myles answered, “Me too!”

 

 

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Sam W. Rosenfeld Joins W.A.G.S. 4 Kids’ Board Of Directors

Ed Crann Retiring After 10 Years of Service

Sam W. Rosenfeld, Interim Chairman of the Board - W.A.G.S. 4 Kids

Sam W. Rosenfeld, Interim Chairman of the Board – W.A.G.S. 4 Kids

BEREA, Ohio—October 22, 2014—Working Animals Giving Service for Kids® (W.A.G.S. 4 Kids) today announced that Sam W. Rosenfeld, partner at Gabriel Partners and chairman of The Densus Group, has been elected to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids’s Board of Directors as interim Chairman. Ed Crann, the Board’s longest-serving member, is retiring after 10 years of service.

Mr. Rosenfeld leads the strategic, special projects and Government Relations functions at Gabriel Partners. He served as a British Army Infantry officer for 11 years in diverse operational theaters globally before leaving and beginning a career as an entrepreneur. An internationally licensed securities professional, former Board member of a Qualifying Investor Fund in Ireland and Chairman and co-founder of The Densus Group, a security sector reform and risk management company, his relationships extend throughout the national and international diplomatic, financial and intelligence communities.

“Sam is a pioneer in the financial industry and we are excited to welcome him to W.A.G.S.’ Board of Directors,” said Wendy Crann, W.A.G.S. 4 Kids Founder. “We believe his strong experience, especially in risk & reward and building a global business across both developed and emerging markets, will be extremely valuable as W.A.G.S 4 Kids continues to grow nationally.”

“We conducted an exhaustive search for someone who would further strengthen our Board’s breadth of talent and background, and we are delighted to have identified such an outstanding individual,” said Ed Crann, W.A.G.S. 4 Kids’ Chairman. “I’m confident that Sam is going to make an important and positive impact on our organization.”

“I have always admired W.A.G.S. 4 Kids for its innovative programming and dynamic leadership team, and I’m honored to be joining their board,” said Rosenfeld. “I have tremendous respect for Wendy, Ed and the other Board members, and I look forward to working with them.”

Mr. Rosenfeld holds a MBA from Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, a MS in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management from Leicester University (UK) a BA(Hons) in International Relations and Strategic Studies from Lancaster University (UK) and was commissioned at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

Ed Crann, Founding Trustee and Chairman of The Board, Retiring after 10 Years of Service (pictured with puppies Eddie & Moose)

Ed Crann, Founding Trustee and Chairman of The Board, Retiring After 10 Years of Service (pictured with puppies Eddie & Moose)

Ed Crann’s relationship with W.A.G.S. 4 Kids dates back to 2004, when he joined the fledgling non-profit as co-founder and Chairman of the Board. Next to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids Founding Trustee, Sera Nelson and CFO, Diana Fretwell, Crann is the longest-serving board member in the non-profit history. Ed currently serves alongside CFO, Diana Fretwell and Board Member and W.A.G.S. parent, Courtney Jones.

“Ed’s contributions to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids are immeasurable and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude. On behalf of the Board and the entire organization, I want to thank him for being a leader, a mentor and a friend,” said Fretwell. “The idea of service animals trained specifically to meet the special needs of children was nearly unheard of in 2004. As a former special education teacher, he helped develop W.A.G.S. 4 Kids from dream to reality. An organization founded and built-in Northeast Ohio for the children here, in our own back yard.”

“Ten years later, W.A.G.S 4 Kids stands as a testament to what individuals with vision can accomplish. It’s been exciting to watch history unfold as W.A.G.S. emerged as the charity that Cleveland grew. I am so proud of my wife, Wendy, and what this amazing group of volunteers has been able to accomplish. It has been a joy,” said Crann. “The needs of local children is what spoke so loud to Wendy and I back in 2004 and the special needs of children and their families will continue to drive the growth of this organization.”

W.A.G.S. 4 Kids provides mobility service and skilled companion animals, meeting the specific needs of children with disabilities in Northeast Ohio, utilizing our Accredited Cell Dog Training Program. W.A.G.S. 4 Kids is the only organization in Ohio that exclusively places service dogs with children up to the age of 18. What is most unique to the W.A.G.S. 4 Kids program is the personal commitment made to the families we serve. W.A.G.S. provides in-home transition training and ongoing placement training and support.

Press Contact:
Sera Nelson
Director of Development & Special Events, W.A.G.S. 4 Kids
sera@wags4kids.com
(216) 586-5853 ext. 2

For more information on W.A.G.S. 4 Kids: www.wags4kids.org

Meet Carter!

Carter

 

On October 29th 2009 our lives were forever changed, Carter James Alexander Kowalski Stiltner was born weighing 6 pounds even and 19 inches long. He stole our hearts forever. His struggle in life started early when the doctors decided it was safer on the outside than it was for him inside and they delivered him several weeks early. A rush to the operating room, an emergency C-section for fetal distress, a full resuscitation and a stay in the neonatal intensive care was the whirlwind that we remember when we think of the day our little man made his debut. After Carter had stabilized and was discharged from the NICU we felt we were the luckiest family in the world that he was safe and healthy.

 

Carter developed as most typical children and hit all of his milestones until the age of 11 months. At that time Carter stopped talking completely. He had been saying things like “all done, bye bye, I love you, mom mom and sissy” and we all assumed that teething, getting 4 molars at the same time was the reason. At 14 months old “Gee-o” (grandma to Carter) joined us in a trip to the doctor and the only thing I remember was her looking at me with concern while the doctor called his name over and over with no response from him at all. At 17 months old Carter was diagnosed with Autism (Regressive type). I recall the first time we dropped Carter off at 18 months old to the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism as the youngest student they had encountered to date and watched my baby walk in with his tiny little backpack on, I cried for hours. Since that time Carter has grown and we have watched him progress on the spectrum and have witnessed the effect that Autism has had on our lives.

 

Carter is almost 5 years old now and is full of smiles; loves playing and being active; he loves being close to his family; and loves animals. Carter still struggles and has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder along with the Autism and has a sleep disorder; he is non-verbal and is impulsive. Carter bolts in traffic, wanders, runs toward water and does not comprehend being safe before he acts. Safety, therapeutic bonding, emotional and physical support are all things that obtaining a service dog would help Carter with. Please help us help Carter.

 

Kids In Need - Donate to Carter
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You can also mail a check to:

W.A.G.S. 4 Kids

112 E. Center Street

Berea, OH 44017

Please make a memo note that your donation is for Carter.

 

Join Us for Carter's Casino Night! 11-22-2014

Join Us for Carter’s Casino Night! 11-22-2014

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Announcing our new “Kids Who Can” Program Director, Mrs. Tina Mettler

Tina Mettler (Center) "Kids Who Can" Program Director

Tina Mettler (Center)
“Kids Who Can” Program Director

BEREA, Ohio – October 15, 2014 – Working Animals Giving Service for Kids (W.A.G.S. 4 Kids) is delighted to announce the appointment of Tina Mettler, as Program Director of the “Kids Who Can” Youth Empowerment Program.  “Kids Who Can” encourages and celebrates whatever individual gifts and talents a young person may have, in benefit to local children challenged in their everyday lives. (See: http://wp.me/p3kpSg-1hf).

Mrs. Mettler is a graduate of Terra Technical College with a degree in Nuclear Power. For the last 28 years, she has worked for the Radiation Protection (Safety) Department at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant. A lifetime resident of Perry, Ohio, Tina lives on a small family farm with her husband and children. Mother of three, Tina came to W.A.G.S. out of the need of her own daughter Susie Mettler (Read Susie’s Story: Click Here).   Susie became a quadriplegic due to a sledding accident in the winter of 2013. Her dream was to have a service dog of her own as a partner and helper.   Before that dream became a reality, Susie passed away July 4, 2014. Through this enormous loss, Tina Mettler became inspired to help W.A.G.S. 4 Kids and all the kids who are waiting for a dog of their own , by taking on the  leadership of  the “Kids Who Can” program.

“We maintain a strong commitment to and belief in the ability of children who are able, to help those not as lucky as themselves”, said Wendy Crann, W.A.G.S. 4 Kids’ Executive Director. “Our 10th year has been a milestone of determination and success.   We are excited to welcome Tina to our W.A.G.S. 4 Kids family. With her leadership and nurturing spirit, more young adults will understand that their greatest strength is using their talents to empower others.”

Tina has worked with her kids in 4H Livestock, as a softball mom and now as a grandma. She will now help “Kids Who Can” raise funds and awareness for kids in need through W.A.G.S. 4 Kids, in honor of Susie’s dream.

#S4S

 

Press Contact:
Sera Nelson, Director of Development & Special Events
Working Animals Giving Service for Kids
E-mail: sera@wags4kids.com
Phone: 216-586-5853 ext. 2
For more information on W.A.G.S. 4 Kids and “Kids Who Can”: www.wags4kids.org

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Proud Partners With Cleveland Elevated!

Cleveland Elevated

Cleveland Elevated is a monthy online publication, released the first Monday of every month.

W.A.G.S. 4 Kids is proud to announce our partnership with Cleveland Elevated! Taking Life &Style in Cleveland to new heights! So…what exactly is Cleveland Elevated? Cleveland Elevated is a life and style online magazine that encompasses fashion, design, lifestyle, great eats and local events in the Cleveland area.

They are THE online resource for people who want to know more about the nuances of our great city, by giving you an inside look at the people, businesses and events that make our town fun, intriguing and unique. Why?  Because they, like W.A.G.S., put Cleveland on a pedestal.  And because this city is classic and full of amazingly talented entrepreneurs, artists, business owners and influencers who know that Cleveland has their back.

The Cleveland Elevated mission is to bring the Cleveland lifestyle coverage to a more dynamic level, where good places and even better people are featured.  The articles will give you an inside window to Cleveland’s arts, culture, food and fashion “it” spots and trends around town while providing the behind-the-scenes story of how they came to be.

We hope you use Cleveland Elevated to be inspired by our amazing city and enjoy all that Cleveland has to offer.

Cleveland Elevated’s first issue is now available! If you haven’t checked it out yet, go to www.clevelandelevated.com.

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W.A.G.S. 4 Kids Announces “Kids Who Can” Youth Empowerment Program

Kids Who Can

BEREA, Ohio – October 7, 2014 – As part of our mission at Working Animals Giving Service for Kids (W.A.G.S. 4 Kids), we maintain a strong commitment to and belief in the ability of children who are able, to help those not as fortunate as themselves. Today we are proud to announce our “Kids Who Can” program, designed specifically to empower individual students and youth groups to engage whatever individual gifts and talents they may have, in benefit to local children challenged in their everyday lives.

Already the 4H kids of Lake County have made a difference by raising over $9,000 in 5 minutes at the 2014 Lake County Fair in memory of daughter, sister & friend, Susie Mettler. (See: http://youtu.be/zaG2I1_h_Pw) . Local student athletes of the Grindstone Charity Classic are anxiously awaiting their 2nd Annual Spring Showcase (www.grindstonecharityclassic.com) for March 2015. Girl Scouts of America, Boy Scouts of America, Junior Quota Club of Lake County and more have pledged their partnership with “Kids Who Can” and are developing their youth empowerment projects with guidance from “Kids Who Can” Program Director, Mrs. Tina Mettler. As the charity that Cleveland grew, W.A.G.S. would like to invite you to join us and help get the new program off to a resounding start.

CornRoastAtBacciPark_2014

Please join us Saturday, October 11, 2014 at Bacci Park for the Village of Cuyahoga Heights Corn Roast from 4:00pm to 10:00pm to enjoy a family fun day, learn about the benefits of the new “Kids Who Can” program and how it works! There will be live music, corn hole tournament, hay rides, pumpkins, face painting and fireworks at dusk! Enjoy corn, hot dogs, chili and refreshments! “Beer Garden” proceeds benefit W.A.G.S. 4 Kids.

If you are unable to attend the event, please contact our “Kids Who Can” Program Director, Mrs. Tina Mettler at 216-586-5853 ext. 6 at your earliest convenience. Arrangements can be made to provide you with program information, to listen to your own great ideas and to kickstart your “Kids Who Can” project. Join us and change a life today!

Press Contact:
Sera Nelson, Director of Development & Special Events
Working Animals Giving Service for Kids
E-mail: sera@wags4kids.com
Phone: 216-586-5853 ext. 2
For more information on W.A.G.S. 4 Kids: www.wags4kids.org

Jaci’s Cleveland Canine Corner: Why WAGS 4 Kids Caught The National Spotlight

Cleveland's Star 102

There are a lot of great charities out there that do a lot of good. One of them not only does good, it creates more good and that yet turns into something amazing. They’ve recently gotten some national attention on CBS News, and they’re in our own backyard.

Photo credit: Photography By Brea Photo credit: Photography By Brea

I’m referring to WAGS 4 Kids, who are in the business of providing children in need with service dogs whose families would not be able to afford the total cost otherwise. It’s an incredibly important service. It starts with puppies who are taken to prisoners which spend their time caring for, socializing and training these future service dogs. When all the training is complete and all the service tests are passed are trained to do whatever it is that the child receiving him/her needs, which could be opening doors, turning off/on the lights, you name…

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