Connections Make Us ICAN

Dear Friends,

I believe we can all agree the past four months have been… shall we say… unusual. Our routines have changed, the way we connect has changed, and maybe even our mindset has changed. I guess this plays right in the hand of Heraclitus when he said the “only constant in life is change.”

The other constant I have experienced is your connection, as a donor, to ICAN’s mission. Because of your generosity of time, we continue to care for our puppies and dogs in training outside of the prison facilities, and because of your financial generosity, we are able to propel the mission forward and maintain our current staff count. We continue to change lives on both ends of the leash – for the 80 people waiting for a service dog and for the 55 inmate handlers – and your efforts are ensuring our continued success!

While 2020 has started off in a unique way, we have amazing and exciting things to accomplish over the next nine months. Before we move forward; however, let’s take a moment to glance back at 2019 with ICAN’s first-ever IMPACT REPORT.

What stands out for me is the number of hours put forth by volunteers to achieve 32 puppies whelped, and the 114,000 hours of furlough time. Just staggering numbers! Additionally, the fact 86% of our inmate handlers are staying out of prison once returning to our communities shows our vision of creating new possibilities is achievable. Your connection to ICAN authenticates our success!

Looking ahead, over the next year, we will navigate our strategic plan with three areas of focus:

  • Prioritize and fund physical infrastructure needs
  • Clarify process and expectations especially as we approach Assistance Dog International (ADI) re-accreditation
  • Expansion & Efficiencies of the training model – with a focus on early development and virtual training

                                Click here if you would like to see our full current strategic plan

As we manage the various changes going on in our world today, we are grateful for you and your connection to the ICAN mission so together we can have a better tomorrow.

It’s an exciting time to invest your heart with ICAN.

We look forward to celebrating the achievements you have helped us achieve soon and until then, be well and take care of one another.

Unleashing abilities,

Jillian M. Ashton, CFRM


ICAN believes in the power of connection. Our program enhances the lives of all that it touches – from the volunteers, staff, and the inmate handlers to the clients and the community. The love and dedication put forth by so many are what truly makes the ICAN program successful!

ICAN Staff (Front Row L to R: Brynne Johnson, Julie Mathias, Jillian Ashton; Back Row L to R: Amanda Swearingen, Dino Sierp, Sean Diamond, Sandi Holubik, Moe Kiley

The ICAN Staff invite you to take a moment to glance back at 2019 with ICAN’s first-ever ICAN 2019 Impact Report.