Chelsea and Marblehead Rotarians Partner on a Service Dog Project

 
Chelsea and Marblehead Rotarians have partnered to help a 9 year old Chelsea boy with autism get a NEADS service dog.
 
 
 
 

Together, the Chelsea and Marblehead Rotary Clubs are raising over twelve thousand dollars in 2020/21 with the help of a foundation grant to support the first annual campaign to provide service dogs for kids within district 7930.

Gabriel is nine years old and he enjoys having fun with his four-year-old brother and best friend, Simon. He loves to practice taekwondo, and just like any other boy, his favorite thing is to play video games. Gabriel is autistic, and his dream is to have a dog. 

When Gabriel started pre-school in Chelsea, he had just turned three and was already receiving special needs services. His inclusion specialist in the classroom noticed Gabriel saying the words in a book and realized Gabriel learned how to read by himself at three years old. Gabriel also knew all the geometrical shapes, all kinds of cars, the U.S. states, and their capitals. He was fascinated with our solar system, and at the age of six, he knew all the planets, dwarf ones, and moons included! Gabriel is currently hyper-focused with the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and knows all about it.  He loves talking to his family living in Brazil, and he gets to practice his Portuguese. 

As an autistic child, he suffers from severe social anxiety, struggles reading social cues, and understanding interpersonal relationships. Emotional conflicts are the most significant trigger on how Gabriel behaves and works out his daily routine. A NEADS’s service dog can assist him in decreasing his anxiety levels during everyday activities at home and in school. Let’s help Gabriel to get his service dog!

This week we held a joint evening meeting with the Marblehead Rotary Club to kick off our fundraising for this project.   Over fifty people attended and we learned a lot about NEADS service dogs, and we heard from nine year old Gabriel and his mom, Angelica, who live in Chelsea, about why they applied for a NEADS service dog and how it will help Gabriel. 

Meet Gabriel

Gabriel is nine years old and he enjoys having fun with his four-year-old brother and best friend, Simon. He loves to practice taekwondo, and just like any other boy, his favorite thing is to play video games. Gabriel is autistic, and his dream is to have a dog. 

When Gabriel started pre-school in Chelsea, he had just turned three and was already receiving special needs services. His inclusion specialist in the classroom noticed Gabriel saying the words in a book and realized Gabriel learned how to read by himself at three years old. Gabriel also knew all the geometrical shapes, all kinds of cars, the U.S. states, and their capitals. He was fascinated with our solar system, and at the age of six, he knew all the planets, dwarf ones, and moons included! Gabriel is currently hyper-focused with the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and knows all about it.  He loves talking to his family living in Brazil, and he gets to practice his Portuguese. 

As an autistic child, he suffers from severe social anxiety, struggles reading social cues, and understanding interpersonal relationships. Emotional conflicts are the most significant trigger on how Gabriel behaves and works out his daily routine. A NEADS’s service dog can assist him in decreasing his anxiety levels during everyday activities at home and in school. Let’s help Gabriel to get his service dog!

The NEADS Social Dog Program can make all the difference for Gabriel and his family.  NEADS Service Dogs are trained in a variety of tasks that can address a range of issues facing a child with autism. These include socialization skills, behavioral skills, life skills, and fine and gross motor skills.

The Chelsea and Marblehead Clubs are helping Gabriel's family raise money needed for his NEADS Service Dog.  On September 29th we held a Joint Rotary Zoom Meeting with guest speakers including, Gabriel and his mother, Angelique, as well as Katy Ostroff, Manager of Client Services from NEADS. Fifty two people attended the zoom meeting and learned a lot about NEADS Service Dogs for children with autism.  Gabriel's enthusiasm and excitement was evident when he told us the news that he has been matched with his Service Dog, a black lab named Casey. That was a highlight of the meeting!
 
We will keep you updated to this story, as we work within our communities to help raise $12,000 for this project. Many Rotarians have made pledges already for this worthy project. Our fundraising is underway. Thank you to all that have already made donations.