ESPN Cleveland Presents W.A.G.S. 4K Run, Walk & Roll

NEW WAGS Logo (767x823)
Sera Nelson, Director of Development & Special Events
O: (216) 586-5853 x 2                                                                 


For Immediate Release: November 19, 2015

ESPN Cleveland Presents W.A.G.S. 4K Run, Walk & Roll

It’s the Fest of Ability! Celebrating Berea and All Our Kids Who Can!

to Benefit W.A.G.S. 4 Kids to Provide Service Dogs to Local Children with Disabilities
WHAT: W.A.G.S. 4 K Run, Walk & Roll is a race made up of three parts: a 4K Run, 1 Mile Walk, and 1 Mile Roll to promote health, ability and visibility in the Special Needs community. This will be our 1st annual W.A.G.S. 4K Run Walk and Roll so we hope you join us in the celebration! The Family Fun doesn’t end when the race does. Stick around and enjoy Food Trucks, raffles, crafts, and other “family friendly” games, challenges and activities built for all ages and ability levels to enjoy and take part in. It’s the FEST OF ABILITY! Celebrating Berea and all our Kids Who Can!
WHEN: Date: Saturday, June 4th 2016

Day-Of Registration & Packet Pick-Up: 9am

Race Start Time: 10am, Walk & Roll Start Time: 10:15am

View The Route & Register Now:

WHERE: Coe Lake, Berea, OH 44017

Please don’t drink and drive. Thanks to Transportation Sponsor, Uber! Download the app and sign up using promo code WAGS4KIDS to get your first ride free up to $20. $5 will be donated to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids.

INFORMATION: W.A.G.S. 4 K Run Walk and Roll is an annual community event open to all, presented by ESPN Cleveland and Euphoria Health and Fitness aimed to give visibility to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids and the incredible abilities of our community and our children.

Since its beginning in 2004 the mission of W.A.G.S. 4 Kids has maintained a strong commitment to and belief in the ability of children who are able, to help those challenged in their everyday lives. Today we are proud to say that kids across Northeast Ohio are doing their part to change the lives of their peers through the Kids Who Can! Youth Empowerment 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. The first annual W4K Run, Walk & Roll event will be a family fun day in which athletes of all ages & abilities can compete, while also serving as a fundraiser for the training and placement of these life-changing Mobility Service and Autism Service Dogs. Each dog is trained to meet the specific needs of a child with disabilities in Northeast Ohio utilizing our Award-Winning ODRC Accredited Apprenticeship Service Dog Training Program. We are driven by our belief in early intervention and will work with a family as early in a child’s life as there is a need and an interest. Over the past eleven years W.A.G.S. 4 Kids has raised over $1M and provided over 60 Service Dogs to local kids doing spectacular work in our community. Recently voted your 2015 Cleveland Scene Magazine Readers’ Choice Best Charity, we are the charity that Cleveland built. We have never forgotten that Berea is where our roots took hold and where they will forever be our home.

We are very proud to be able to give back to the community. But we are even prouder of the people who share in the belief that we all deserve to actively pursue happy and healthy lives. 2016 marks our 12th year in celebrating camaraderie of this kind and we truly hope that you will take part in joining us next year as we march forward.

Guests who have questions or want to come to the WAGS 4K Run, Walk & Roll are encouraged to register by calling 216.586.5853 x 2 or emailing Guests may also view the route and directly register by visiting the above links.


Download PDF: W.A.G.S.4KRunWalkRollMediaAdvisory2016-0604.docx


A Thankful Thanksgiving – Kaitlynn & Wilson

For this edition of “A Thankful Thanksgiving – Kaitlynn & Wilson” Kaitlynn’s Mom, Michaelle, went above and beyond to produce the below video. It brought our staff to tears.

When words fail…press play:

Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving from our family at W.A.G.S. 4 Kids. It’s been 11 years (can you believe it?) On behalf of our board, our staff, our volunteers, our parents, our children, our inmate apprentices and the staff of Grafton Correctional Institute…Today and every day we are thankful for your love, your support, without which, none of this would be possible. When we say “Let the magic begin” Know that you are the magicians. We know, and you know that our children are capable of anything and everything their heart desires. Thank you for believing in them. Cheers to making more dreams a reality in 2016!

William’s Anchor – A Thankful Thanksgiving

Sponsor A Child, William

William was born with a Genetic disorder of TUBB4A gene. (Meet William)

Mom, Eve, was given a brochure about W.A.G.S. 4 Kids. William had wanted a dog for many years and says “I thought that I needed to take action.”

Because of William’s extensive physical disabilities, he is surrounded by adults but has no same-age friends and hence, no social life. By getting a service dog, the family knew that William would develop a personal relationship with his dog and have a best friend like no other.

Day 1 William & Anchor leave Grafton Correctional Institution Let the magic begin!

Day 1 William & Anchor leave Grafton Correctional Institution Let the magic begin!

It has been six months since Anchor has met his forever friend in William “It has changed his life. He now has a constant friend and companion who is there for him.”

“I regularly tell people about W.A.G.S. and how unique it is in that it is not only helping children but also helping inmates who have lost hope in their lives. Many inmates are early victims themselves and they have never had an opportunity to see themselves as contributing to something important. This program is such a win-win for children in need and adults who want to turn their lives around.” says mom, Eve.

New to the program in 2015, families are now able to enter Grafton Correctional Institution in Grafton, OH no matter a child’s age (previously this was only a privilege allowed to recipients 18+), to have the advantage of training alongside the inmates apprentices. While each family still receives in-home transition training from a W.A.G.S. 4 Kids staff trainer, this critical hands-on hand-off is crucial to the success of each partnership. But the support of W.A.G.S. staff doesn’t end there. “The knowledge level is exceptional and the willingness to reach out and help in continued training is excellent. I feel that anytime there might be an issue there is ready access to answer questions and make suggestions. It is evident that everyone involved in W.A.G.S. is passionate about the mission and that they are willing to do whatever it takes to help a child in need.”

Stay tuned for next week’s final installment of our 2015 Thankful Thanksgiving Blog series. Dedicated to, who else?…You!

David’s Big Idea Against Autism

At Ford’s PTA Meeting tonight, a 12 year old boy spoke about a group he has started called “The Big Idea Against Autism”. David, who is a 6th grader, was elected class president of his unit class. He has autism and is legally blind. He wants to raise money for a classmate, Cassidy, who is non-verbal and autistic, to have a service dog.

David prepared a speech and stood up in front of our PTA group tonight. He was very nervous and felt overwhelmed, but he executed his speech very well and was very articulate.

I feel so emotional tonight thinking about this boy. There are so many misconceptions about people with disabilities, but all I could think about was his abilities tonight. He spoke in front of a group and was articulate and brave. Having overcome my own fear of public speaking, I give him props. It took me years of public speaking before I stopped shaking. He has an idea. A really big idea. He’s only 12. It’s a selfless idea. He is smart and he is a rain-maker with all his ideas. Did I mention that he is only 12?

I can’t wait until he announces how he plans to execute his idea. I hope our community stands behind him and supports him like he is supporting his friend, Cassidy. If all of us had a friend as caring as selfless as David in our life, this world would be a better place. It’s time we stop the misconceptions about Autism and think about the person first. Stop the labels. Stop the stereotypes.

Thank you David for touching my heart today.

P.S. Thank you Jacob for coming to support David. You are my other rock star.

-Jenny Cholley

Click To Meet Cassidy!

Click To Meet Cassidy!

fundraising ideas for schools, churches, and youth sports teams
ABC Fundraising®

Donate Online Now

Donate Online Now!


You can also mail a check to:

W.A.G.S. 4 Kids

112 E. Center Street

Berea, OH 44017

Please make a memo that your donation is for David’s Big Idea Against Autism – Ford PTA

A Thankful Thanksgiving – Will & Tucker

Where there's a Will...There's a way!

Where there’s a Will…There’s a way!

Will is a beautiful angel of a boy that was diagnosed 2-years-ago with Angelman Syndrome and Epilepsy.

Will’s mom, Melissa, a single mother of two had one goal in mind when she came to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids – a companion dog for Will. “My main goal was…someone to help calm him down when overstimulated or upset, someone to play fetch with and just a best friend. Tucker has become all that and more, he is a part of our family!”

In the less than six months that Tucker has joined the family, the “magic” as we like to call it, has certainly begun. Will’s gait is improving as he chases Tucker through the yard and vice versa. Most days are spent outside with the hose and “I’m not sure who loves it more, Tucker or Will.” says Mom, “The best moment was the time Will got into his cozy coupe and, with no prompting or training, Tucker got right behind him and put his snout on the back and was pushing him. Their friendship and bond is priceless.”

Unlike any other partnership from W.A.G.S. 4 Kids, Will is not only our first angel-baby. Will is our first “wish” child. His wish for a service dog came true thanks to a $9,000 grant received from the Make A Wish foundation.

“I never imagined when I started this process that I’d meet people I was certain I’d know for the rest of my life. Every call and text with a question or concern was answered immediately. The work you guys do is priceless and all of you are great! Thank you so much for changing our lives!”

A Thankful Thanksgiving – Lauren & Annie


As a mom of 2, Heather reached out to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids in 2013 with one wish – a Service Dog for her daughter Lauren. At 5 years old, Lauren was diagnosed with a severe and profound hearing impairment. (Read More)

“As you may guess I was concerned for my daughter being alerted to things of course but there is little to no hope of getting a hearing dog for a child under 14. I also noticed because of her lack of hearing her lanuage and communication suffered making her withdraw from others, even me. It broke my heart. I wanted my child to have someone to talk to or read to without judgement, a safe secure place to practice without fear of correction. Also I wanted a friend for Lauren a steady perminent friend one that could always be there. One that could help her find her glasses, or her cochlears and help her gain confidence and if Lauren didn’t look to me for this because I corrected her speech well then I thought how about a service dog. And I found W.A.G.S. 4 Kids online.”

Hopefully one day, the novelty of kindness will wear off and be the norm. For now, it is the kindness of strangers that Lauren and her family were overwhelmed with. Children across Northeast Ohio eagerly participated in “Coins for Kids” campaigns – filling jars with spare change and in the process, learning an invaluable lesson. The real change wasn’t what was in the jars, but what it took to fill them; character, tenacity, thoughtfulness. These kids had fun! The smiles and laughter continued at the Trinity Rose Foundation’s Bowling For Blindness event to help Lauren reach her family’s fundraising goals in one fell swoop!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In less than 6 months, Annie has helped Lauren with so many things. Waking up every day was a fight. “Daily arguments I have with Lauren are smaller. Lauren is not a morning person so every morning it was a half hour fight to get her out of bed then it was a stubborn child fighting everything from getting dressed to eating breakfast. Then Annie came and gives Lauren a nudge in the morning and a kiss. Lauren pops up knowing she has to feed Annie. No more fighting. Lauren has sensory issues as well and hair brushing was always a wrestling match in my house. Again, Annie to the rescue. I brush Lauren’s hair and she brushes Annie. Annie has also found and brought Lauren her cochlears and glasses many times.”


“The process is tough and sometimes you feel helpless and hopeless but all W.A.G.S family surround you and get you back on track. They help you get over humps, they make it as easy as they can.

Lisa and Wendy both have been driven crazy with my questions on how to get Annie to do xy and z and never once did they make me feel stupid they always answered me quickly and asked if I needed any more help.”

The magic has just begun with these two girls…Lauren was born to sparkle. Now she shines brighter than before. Annie never leaves her side.

This Thankful Thanksgiving, you have the power to change one life today and every day. Fast Fact: Just $1 a month will provide food for a month to a future Service Dog like Annie, destined to forever change the life of a child with special needs in your community. Take the Pledge!

Check back next Thursday for another edition of “A Thankful Thanksgiving”…

Click To Return To Home

Click To Return To Home