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CHS raises funds for PAALS

Posted: December 18, 2014 4:45 p.m.
Updated: December 19, 2014 1:00 a.m.
Simone T. Owens/C-I

PAALS instructors and four service dogs accept a check for $3,000 from the Camden High National Honor Society in the CHS library Tuesday. Pictured NHS members include (not in order) Adrian Lopez, Emmanuel Lopez, Aaron Murphy, Omar Mingo, Clarke Allen, Brooxe Dixon, Kennedy Stokes, Jack Crayne, Mills Pennebaker, Parker Robinson, Parker Rankin, Fran Laschanszy, Sarah Anne Semple and Virginia Lackey.

 

Camden High School’s (CHS) National Honor Society (NHS) presented Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services (PAALS) with a $3,000 check Tuesday. The money is going to a program called Rob’s Best Friend Fund; a ceremony marking the donation took place in the CHS media center.

Rob’s Best Friend Fund provides Labrador and golden retrievers to people who have served in the military, as police officers or as firefighters free of charge. PAALS -- which also provides service dogs to persons with mental and physical disabilities who have not served as military, or as police or firefighters -- trains the dogs to provide individuals with the freedom to live independently.

CHS NHS President Clarke Allen said this is the first time the society raised money for PAALS. The society found out about the organization from NHS sponsor Rebecca Rundlett. Clarke views the NHS effort to get involved in the project as a way to thank veterans for their service.

“It’s great because veterans do so much for us and it’s great to give back to them,” Allen said.

NHS members held a volleyball tournament to raise the money where male students played and female volleyball players coached. There were two teams per grade as well as a team consisting entirely of faculty members. All participants were required to pay to play and spectators had to pay to watch the tournament. Members also sold spaghetti suppers to raise money.

According to PAALS Instructor Maureen Leary, the normal procedure for accepting donations is to bring some of the service dogs out to where the donation is being received to perform a demo. PAALS instructors were not expecting CHS to give them a cash donation.

“Usually, we go to a school and pick up supplies,” Leary said. “Normally, we do not get cash from schools, so it was a pleasant surprise.”

In recent years, Leary said, the number of veterans applying for service dogs through PAALS has gone up tremendously, so donations and/or volunteers are much needed at this time. PAALS accepts volunteer grant writers as well as other volunteer positions which require working closely with the dogs.

Foster families or persons to care for the dogs when they are not being trained at the Kershaw Correctional Institute -- one of the designated training facilities -- are also needed. Applications to volunteer or donate can be found on the PAALS website, www.paals.org.

 

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