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Paws4Kids campaign gets up and running at Pets in the Park

Tails are wagging and coats are being groomed in anticipation of the launch of the third annual Paws4Kids fundraising campaign. Paws4Kids is a matched giving day on Wednesday 28 April 2021 that supports MacKillop Family Services’ canine therapy program, Paw Pals.

MacKillop Family Services works with therapy dogs to help vulnerable children who are disengaged from education to manage their emotions and behaviour, improve their confidence and reignite their love of learning. The program has worked so well that it is receiving more requests for help than it can currently respond to.

Paws4Kids is an exciting campaign which seeks to expand the program so more children can receive the support they need to succeed at school. All donations made to the campaign will be tripled by MacKillop’s partners on 28 April, providing the community the opportunity to triple their impact.

Lara Shannon, host of Channel Ten’s Pooches at Play and Paws4Kids Ambassador, will officially launch the campaign at Stonnington Council’s Pets in the Park event at 2.30 pm this Sunday 28 March in Central Park, East Malvern. Lara will be ably assisted by furry helper and MacKillop therapy dog Barney, when they take part in a Paws4Kids Q&A segment with event host Mike Larkan at Pets in the Park.

As a pet behaviourist, dog trainer and long-time animal welfare advocate, Lara understands how dogs can have a positive impact on children who are struggling with other issues in their lives.

“So many of us have been grateful for the company of our furry friends over this past year but for children who don’t find it easy to go to school or to connect with their education, the calming presence of a therapy dog can make all the difference.

“We know this works. There are kids who previously wouldn’t come to school who have found the confidence to re-enter the classroom after working with therapy dogs. The problem is that there are so many more children and young people who could benefit from the program but capacity to help is limited by the costs of dogs and the staff to work with them.

“Reaching the Paws4Kids fundraising target will enable MacKillop to help more kids who’ve experienced abuse, neglect, or other childhood trauma to heal and learn again,” said Lara.

This year, PETstock Assist has come on board as a major partner for the fundraising campaign and Charity and Events lead, Jessica Curtis, says Paws4Kids is an opportunity to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable children.

“We want greater access for the children who need this service, which is why we are so excited to be part of Paws4Kids. This program showcases the healing power of dogs and is helping children get back on track with their learning.

“Together, we can ensure more children have access to therapy dogs to help them succeed at school” Ms Curtis said.

Paws4Kids will have an information stall at Pets in the Park where people can find out more about the program and triple their donation.

Every donation received is tripled by a group of generous matching partners, with the goal of reaching $250,000 to fund the program. This means for every $10 donated, Paws4Kids will receive $30 when donations are tripled by our matching partners: PETstock Assist (Major Partner), Queensland Community Foundation’s Gordon Home for Boys and Girls Inc. Trust Fund, Bob Stewart of Kew, AMC Commercial Cleaning, Tee-up for Kids Foundation, Give52, and our PawPrints Matching Circle - including Greg Noonan, Angela Rutherford and Daniel O’Connor.

Find out more at Paws4Kids