Divide students bring awareness to nonprofit training service animals for veterans

FLORISSANT, Colo. —  A group of students from Summit Elementary in Divide has teamed up with a southern Colorado nonprofit.

It was founded in 2013 by a veteran who is rescuing dogs in need and training them to become service animals for veterans.

Five students from the Gifted and Talented Education Program are helping the nonprofit Heroes Pack Academy.

It’s all part of their challenge this year through Destination Imagination, the largest creative problem solving organization in the world.

Their goal was “Project Outreach” and to come up with a solution and present a final project.

The Founder of Heroes Pack Academy says having the kids help teaches them valuable lessons about helping dogs in need.

“We use mindfulness to rehabilitate them and a lot of positive encouragement and we take dogs other programs won’t touch,” said John Franks, founder of Heroes Pack Academy.

While the kids had some growing pains with training the dogs, they became big winners.

From September of this year until May, they’ve used community outreach to get the organization more support, while lending an extra hand at training the dogs.

“This group of kids has gone above and beyond in the fact that they’ve done so much for Teller County, for Service Dogs and so much for John and Heroes Pack Academy,” said Donna Frick, teacher at Summit Elementary.

The kids’ work on “Project Outreach” was so good that they’ve been awarded and recognized at on both regional and state levels.

Most recently they scored big at a creative problem solving competition.

They were one of 70 teams picked to compete by Destination Imagination, taking home first in what’s called the “Instant Challenge.”

“They walk into a room, they have no idea what they’re going to get and they’re presented with a challenge. They’re given two minutes to talk and plan it and between four and six minutes to carry it out,” said Frick.

Frick says much of their success is due to their work with Heroes Pack Academy, saying they’ve become a great team.

This summer, the kids will help raise money for the organization. Right now the founder is paying for the expenses with his own Army pension.

The team has also started a GoFundMe for the veteran and his organization.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s