I want to tell you how grateful I am for you. Together, we are ICAN.
The mission to train and place service dogs for people living with disabilities can only be accomplished when we work toward a common mission. Together, in 2019, we partnered 13 service dogs with grateful clients and 12 more are projected to graduate this coming December. Our furlough volunteers have dedicated over 74,000 hours to help prepare service dogs in training to assist their forever person. Inmates continue to discover a new sense of self by participating in the ICAN program, which in turn has led to a reduced rate of re-entry into the criminal justice system. Together, we are changing lives on both ends of the leash.
Your support has given hope to our client John, who received a service dog in June 2019.
”Having Terri makes me get out of bed to feed and let her out, but she also makes me WANT to get out of the house, to see people, to interact. Want – that is something I haven’t felt in years. Terri gives me purpose.” – John
Last year I told you with your gift, we would grow our program and we did! In 2019, we added three additional handler positions. We increased the number of dogs in the program by 13%. We are on track to place 25 assistance dogs this year, an increase from 2018. We’ve added 51 furlough volunteers to support and promote the mission. And the ICAN at IU program has grown to include 365 students, which is over double where we started.
But we can’t slow down.
Right now 96 people are on the ICAN wait list to be matched with a dog so they can unleash new possibilities. This number is why we urgently need your help. In Indiana, there are 600,000 Hoosiers living with a disability. We know as ICAN transitions from a small, closely held not-for-profit into a mature organization that is getting state-wide and national attention, the need for highly trained service dogs will continue to increase. Your donation is critical to make sure we can continue to fulfill the ICAN mission.
In the coming year, we have a lot to accomplish. We will increase our physical office space to enhance the training experience for the dogs and to provide ample room for our growing number of volunteers. We will continue to expand our program in deliberate, effective ways to ensure we place well-trained assistance dogs with people in our community. Your gift will be used wisely so we can continue to unite people and dogs to unleash opportunities.
Jillian M. Ashton, CFRM