Holidays of Hope 2020 Thank You

Thank you to all of our generous donors for helping us reach our goal and making “Holidays of Hope” a success!

“Ever since receiving my first dog from Guide Dogs of America, my life has been filled with things that I CAN do, rather than what I can’t do. The school has given me the greatest gifts of my life…the ability to be independent and confident beyond anything I could have ever imagined.” – GDA Graduate

Donate during our “Holidays of Hope” Fundraiser this year to bring a very deserving person peace, love, and hope in the form of a guide or service dog.

Hope. It’s a powerful word and an important frame of mind. That is why this year, we are hosting our Holidays of Hope fundraiser. Together, we can bring hope to others and promise better days to come.

In 2018 we brought hope to Ja’Qorie in the form of a four-legged friend named “Ione.” 

Ja’Qorie is your typical teenager. He enjoys playing video games, spending time with family, and is working towards graduating from high school. But, before Ione, Ja’Qorie’s Autism was creating challenges. He struggled to communicate and advocate for himself. Socially, he had a difficult time connecting with others. 

Most challenging were what his mom calls “internal meltdowns.” Anxiety from stressful situations, like loud or crowded places, triggers an uncontrollable physiological response in Ja’Qorie. During a meltdown, Ja’Qorie becomes distraught. He completely shuts down and removes himself from the present. 

Since being partnered with Ione,  life has improved substantially for Ja’Qorie. Ione is task-trained to provide intervention therapy when Ja’Qorie is battling a meltdown. 

“My goal is to graduate from high school. He’s going to help me accomplish that. If I’m nervous or having a meltdown, he’s there for me,” says Ja’Qorie. 

Ja’Qorie’s mother has noticed significant growth in her son. “The great thing about having a service dog is that he’s learned about responsibility. Ja’Qorie takes the initiative now. If he needs something, he has learned to advocate for himself. Ione encourages Ja’Qorie to communicate more. Ione has given him an abundance of confidence.” 

We are pleased to share Ja’Qorie’s experience with you, as it is stories like his that highlight our mission’s importance.