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!

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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

Know Your Rights – ADA Requirements

Source: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
Revised ADA Requirements: Service Animals


Department of Justice sealU.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section

ADA 2010 Revised Requirements

Service Animals

The Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for title II (State and local government services) and title III (public Accommodations and commercial facilities) on September 15, 2010, in the Federal Register. These requirements, or rules, clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new, and updated, requirements, including the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards).


This publication provides guidance on the term “service animal” and the service animal provisions in the Department’s new regulations.

  • Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.
  • A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
  • Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.

How “Service Animal” Is Defined

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.

Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney general’s office.

Where Service Animals Are Allowed

Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.

Service Animals Must Be Under Control

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Inquiries, Exclusions, Charges, and Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
  • Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.
  • A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.
  • Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.
  • People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. In addition, if a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals.
  • If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by himself or his service animal.
  • Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.

Miniature Horses

In addition to the provisions about service dogs, the Department’s revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. (Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.) Entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable. The regulations set out four assessment factors to assist entities in determining whether miniature horses can be accommodated in their facility. The assessment factors are (1) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; (2) whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control; (3) whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight; and (4) whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.

For more information about the ADA,
please visit our website or call our toll-free number.

ADA Website


To receive e-mail notifications when new ADA information is available,

visit the ADA Website’s home page and click the link near the top of the middle column.

ADA Information Line

800-514-0301 (Voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY)

24 hours a day to order publications by mail.

M-W, F 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Th 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)

to speak with an ADA Specialist. All calls are confidential.

For persons with disabilities, this publication is available in alternate formats.

Duplication of this document is encouraged. July 2011

PDF Version of this Document

July 12, 2011

Blind teen asked to leave bakery because of her service dog – Cleveland 19 News|Cleveland, OH



Posted: Oct 27, 2015 4:04 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 28, 2015 5:39 AM EDT
By Jen Picciano
Posted by Cleveland 19 Digital Team

BEREA, OH (WOIO) – Messages of outrage and disappointment flooded social media after a blind college student was kicked out of a Berea because she had her guide dog with her.

Dick’s Bakery on Front Street is a favorite spot among students at Baldwin Wallace, including 19-year-old Gabriella Drago.

But what happened this week when she and a friend went in for a donut left a terrible taste in her mouth.

“I walked in and they said that there were no dogs. So I explained to the woman that Freesia was a service dog. So she was allowed in there. She said no, this is a bakery, you cannot have your dog,” Drago said.

She said even after she told the clerk she was blind and it was illegal to kick her out, the woman persisted.

“Both of us were beyond words at that point, appalled and shocked,” said Courtney Popp, a friend who witnessed everything.

“She did call me later to apologize. And said that I didn’t look blind. So I’m not sure how I was supposed to look,” Drago said.

Drago said she does not think this was a case of intolerance, but one of ignorance that lead to the encounter.

She said she does not want to drive Dick’s out of business, but teach other businesses like it about the Americans with Disabilities Act and how people like her deserve to be treated.

“I think it should be brought to light that things like this are happening and they should not be happening,” Drago said.

The owner of Dick’s released this statement:

“A long time employee made a serious mistake not allowing a girl in the bakery with her dog.  We deeply apologize for this poor judgment. We truly respect all of our customers and assure you this will never happen again.”

Ownership says the employee in question, no longer works at Dick’s Bakery.

BEREA, OH (WOIO) - Wags 4 Kids plans to print stickers to help businesses become more aware of people with disabilities and their service animals.


W.A.G.S. 4 Kids plans to print stickers to help businesses become more aware of people with disabilities and their service animals.

Source: Blind teen asked to leave bakery because of her service dog

Copyright 2015 WOIO. All rights reserved.

Updated: Tuesday, October 20 2015 7:06 PM EDT2015-10-20 23:06:35 GMT

Berea bakery apologizes after service dog mistake – WKYC


Source: Berea bakery apologizes after service dog mistake

Owners apologize after blind college student asked to remove service dog



WKYC Staff, WKYC 7:54 p.m. EDT October 27, 2015

Now Dick’s Bakery is apologizing to the Baldwin Wallace University sophomore for what it calls a unfortunate misunderstanding.

Gabriella Drago entered the downtown Berea bakery with her service dog, a black lab named Freesia.

“She is my eyes,” says Drago. “She just makes everything so much easier and faster.”

As Drago and her friends tried to buy donuts, an employee at the shop immediately told her to take the service dog outside.

“I know that it’s happened to other people, but it’s never happened to me, so it was just kind of a shocking situation,” says Drago.

The social media backlash against the bakery was almost immediate.

Today, the owners of Dick’s Bakery have quickly and openly apologized and are trying hard to make things right.

“We’re truly sorry for making her feel unwanted. We want her to give us a second chance to make it right,” says Rick Baker, a second-generation owner of the family business. “Come in an we’ll load her up once a week with some goodies, so she can enjoy herself with her and her friends.”

Baker says the employee, who has been with them for 50 years, simply didn’t know Drago was blind.

“She’s got a genuinely good heart. Yesterday was just an unfortunate incident,” says Baker. “She’s broken up.”

Experienced service animal trainer Wendy Crann says it is simply a matter of education.

“We can’t let ourselves get to that place of ‘string em up!’ – when this is an opportunity for people to learn a better way,” says Crann.

According to her, there are only two questions that it are appropriate and legal for business owners to ask when faced with giving service animals access to their business.

“The first is, ‘Is this your service animal?'” says Crann. “The can also ask, ‘What tasks is the dog trained to perform?'”

Asking anything beyond that is a violation of civil rights.

While Drago appreciates those who have stood up for her, she accepts the Bakers’ apology.

“I really like there food, and my intention is not for people not to go there anymore,” says Drago, who says she wants to go back for the bakery’s donuts.

She says it’s a teachable moment, and it’s one that the owners of Dick’s Bakery are taking to heart.

“We value our customers and yesterday, we fell short of that,” says Baker. “And for that, the Dick’s Bakery family is truly sorry.”

Read or Share this story: http://on.wkyc.com/1N6g9O5

Here’s how Sesame Street is helping kids with autism


Source: Here’s how Sesame Street is helping kids with autism

Meet Julia, Sesame’s Street first character to have autism…

Sesame launched ‘Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing In All Children’ project, and as part of that project Julia was created.

The project features storybooks, online videos and a downloadable free app. It helps families with autistic young children.

Senior vice president of U.S. social impact Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, who helped to create See Amazing, told People Magazine:

When we explain from a child’s point of view that there are certain behaviours…to express excitement or unhappiness, it helps younger children to understand how to interact with their autistic peers. It makes children more and therefore more inclusive.

School Shooting Victim Meets Service Dog Raised By Prison Inmate

On February 27, 2012, Nick Walczak was one of the students injured in the Chardon High School shooting in Ohio. Nick was shot four times and was paralyzed from the waist down.

As we’ve seen many times before, service dogs are proven to be hugely beneficial for people with disabilities. Enter Turner the Golden Retriever, who was trained by prison inmates specifically for Nick at the North Central Correctional Complex. Turner was one of six dogs in the program where 11 inmates rotate the dogs and train them for W.A.G.S. 4 Kids — an organization that matches service dogs for children with disabilities. Each inmate approved for the program is trained by a professional.

In the video below, watch the incredible moment the inmates proudly introduce Nick to the dog who’s about to change his life forever. The inmates are so open to showing Nick all they’ve taught Turner, making sure the teen is as prepared as possible. While they’re sad to see Turner go, he’s given them a newfound sense of purpose as they carry out their sentences.

As it turns out, the inmates did a wonderful job raising and training Turner. Nick says, “I’m not lonely anymore. He’s constantly with me.” Turner is an invaluable companion who makes life easier for someone who has already been through hell and back.

Watch the wonderful meeting below, and please SHARE this story with your friends on Facebook!

Watch the wonderful meeting below, and please SHARE this story with your friends on Facebook!

Source: School Shooting Victim Meets Service Dog Raised By Prison Inmate

Meet Logan!


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 Mission Accomplished!


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Logan is a funny, outgoing and kind 13 year-old. Logan loves NASCAR, Minecraft, building with Legos and watching sports. He likes to sing and enjoys music as well. Logan has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD, and struggles with anxiety. He has difficulty forming relationships and making friends, as well as communicating what he is feeling and thinking. This can lead to a lot of frustration. He also has a difficult time focusing and completing tasks. We adopted Logan when he was four and a half years-old and we’re the fourth placement he had known. All of that moving has caused him to continuously worry about feeling secure. We are hopeful that an Autism Service Dog will be a companion for him and help him to meet and make friends, provide security and ease his anxiety.

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 note that your donation is for Logan

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