Throughout 2018, members of Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 (SMART Local 33) collected donations through workplace giving to benefit Working Animals Giving Service for Kids. On December 11, a check for $43,500 was presented to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids’ Executive Director Wendy Crann on behalf of SMART Local 33 by Union President, Michael Coleman.
Director of Development, Sera Nelson, was also in attendance for the presentation held at SMART Local 33’s annual Christmas party. Nelson shares, “W.A.G.S. 4 Kids is humbled by the efforts taken by this community collective, stepping up as a whole and as individuals.” SMART Local 33 has gone above and beyond when it comes to supporting W.A.G.S. 4 Kids. This local union is already the title sponsor for the organization’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese Throwdown.
Each autism or mobility disability service dog costs $28,000. During the training process, W.A.G.S. 4 Kids covers the cost of all food, housing, veterinary care, supplies and countless hours of professional training that go into preparing a service dog for placement with a child. Each partner family commits to fundraise $9,000 of that cost, and W.A.G.S. commits to finance the additional $19,000. W.A.G.S. 4 Kids receives no government funding and is entirely dependent on the generosity of a very strong support network of the community and it’s leaders, like Michael Coleman and SMART Local 33. All donations go toward the award-winning “Step By Step” Service Dog Training Program and other campaign activities, such as: Kids Who Can!, to bring more awareness to the Special Needs community; re-entry employment opportunities for our inmate trainers; and empowerment to all of the local kids who can.
As part of SMART Local 33’s donation to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids, they were able to choose a name for a service dog in training. A black poodle pup was therefore named “Tinner” by SMART Local 33, an ode to the original Sheet Metal workers often called “tinners,” representing a person who makes or repairs articles of tin or tinplate. “Tinner,” W.A.G.S. new dog in training, was present on December 11 to accept the donation as well as meet members of the local union who helped to name him.
Initial discussions are underway with North Central Correctional Complex (NCCC) to return to Marion, Ohio where the Step By Step Training Program was first born, as a third training location. Funds from this donation will be used to open this facility, and Tinner will proudly represent SMART Local 33 and W.A.G.S. 4 Kids during the process.
Ultimately, the enduring goal is to secure what is the future for W.A.G.S 4 Kids. The organization now serves 22 counties throughout Northeast and Central Ohio. W.A.G.S. 4 Kids is proud of the services they provide and are always striving to reach more families. The goal is to place more dogs with the children that need them. It is with the support and kindness of the community and organizations like SMART Local 33, that there will be more to come.
“Local 33 is honored to be involved with this great organization,” said SMART Local 33 President, Michael Coleman. “To be able to help W.A.G.S. 4 Kids provide service animals to children with autism, and to see the remarkable difference that it makes is very rewarding. It might be the best thing I’ve had the opportunity to do so far as a member.”
W.A.G.S. 4 Kids is overwhelmingly grateful for the unselfish members of SMART Local 33. Their commitment to collect donations for the organization throughout 2018 and insures changing more lives in 2019 and beyond.