Partnership between Give Kids The World and Canine Companions for Independence to Help Central Florida Individuals with Disabilities

As charities across the U.S. look for creative ways to persevere during the COVID-19 pandemic, two Orlando-area non-profits have embraced the notion that “teamwork makes the dream work.”  Today, October 26, eight new recipients of assistance dogs provided by Canine Companions for Independence will get a new leash on life when they arrive at Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee to meet their perfect match.  A graduation ceremony will take place on Friday, October 30, at 12:30 pm at Give Kids The World (210 S. Bass Road).

During one memorable week, recipients will learn how to work with and benefit from an assistance dog expertly trained by professionals at Canine Companions for Independence – a non-profit recognized worldwide that enhances the lives of children, adults and veterans with disabilities through the use of assistance dogs. Daily lectures, practice sessions and outings will be complemented by memorable experiences at the 89-acre whimsical non-profit resort, which provides week-long, cost-free wish vacations to critically ill children and their families.  Although Give Kids The World Village is still temporarily closed since the pandemic, they will be providing accommodations for each recipient in a fully-furnished private villa, along with meals, entertainment, and ample space for training and learning in a socially distant manner. 

In a statement given by Melinda Sowers, Program Director of the Southeast Region of Canine Companions, she says, “Disability doesn’t disappear during a crisis, and sadly, more than 400 individuals are currently waiting for an assistance dog from Canine Companions for Independence. “We are indebted to Give Kids The World Village for helping us continue our mission by providing us with access to its magical resort at a time when both of our organizations have been so significantly impacted by the global pandemic.” 

Since reopening its campus in April, the Southeast Region of Canine Companions is taking precautions to protect its team members, volunteers and clients by hosting small classes on its campus.  The partnership with Give Kids The World enables the organization to expand its class size and positively impact the lives of more individuals with disabilities.  

About Canine Companions for Independence
Canine Companions for Independence provides highly-trained assistance dogs to children and adults with disabilities. Established in 1975, Canine Companions has six regional training centers across the country. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. For more information, visit www.cci.org or call 1-800-572-BARK.  

About Give Kids the World 

Rated Four Stars by Charity Navigator, Give Kids The World Village is an 89-acre whimsical non-profit resort in Kissimmee, Florida, that provides magical week-long wish vacations to critically ill children and their families at no cost.  Since 1986, Give Kids The World has welcomed more than 176,000 families from 50 states and more than 76 countries.  The Village closed to wish families temporarily in mid-March due to the global pandemic, delaying more than 6,000 wishes.   For more information, to make a donation, or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, please visit www.givekidstheworld.org

Give Kids The World Press Release; Spokesmayne; Canine Companions for Independence