The Quota club of Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.A., is putting on the dog after a successful fund-raiser that netted over U.S.$3,500 to help deaf people.
When the club learned about trained hearing dogs that help deaf people in the same way seeing-eye dogs help the blind, they thought it was a GREAT IDEA. So, they created a fund raiser to help Dogs for the Deaf, an organization that trains dogs to help their deaf or hearing-impaired owners and alert them to sounds—smoke alarms, doorbells, voices, sirens.
While the dogs help any hearing-impaired person, they are particularly useful for people who become deaf later in life. “Many people who were born deaf don’t view their deafness as a disability,” says club president Tracie Dablemont. “Someone who becomes deaf after hearing may not have that sense of confidence and normalcy and may need more assistance.”
Another charity drive inspired the club’s direction in developing their Dogs for the Deaf Bonefit. “I saw those Muscular Dystrophy shamrocks hanging in stores that you buy for a one-dollar donation,” Tracie remembers, “and I knew we could jump-start our project the same way.”
Club member Sue Lang arranged to print (at a discount) 5,000 rectangular cards with a bone design and the Quota International logo. Members distributed these “bones” to local businesses with an informational letter about the project. And the companies enthusiastically boned up on a new way to make a difference.
A Bone to Pick
Gas stations, barbershops, restaurants, and even the local VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) post offered patrons a bone to pick. For a one-dollar donation, a bone card inscribed with the donor’s name was displayed in the shop.
The club is currently working with local sign-language education staff to determine a recipient, preferably in Alaska, for one of these helper dogs trained by Dogs for the Deaf. Once they’ve chosen a recipient, the local Lions Club has agreed to match Quota’s donation to provide the most highly trained dog possible.
A Few Pointers
If your club would like to use the Anchorage club’s GREAT IDEA, here are a few pointers from Alaska:
- Find a bona fide need in your area and decide on your club’s level of participation.
- Don’t be shy about asking local businesses to participate financially.
- Make good contacts in local businesses and establish rapport early.
- Be timely in picking up money. (Some businesses have high staff turnover rates, so keep in touch often.)
- Apply for grants to assist with fund raising.
- Note on the donor cards the 501c(3) non-profit status for tax write-off eligibility.
- Remember: the public expects their full dollar to be given to the recipient, so your club should pay administrative costs for printing, distribution, and publicity.
For more information on the Dogs for the Deaf organization, visit their Web site at http://www.dogsforthedeaf.org or phone them in the U.S.A. at 541-826-9220.