On May 24th, the Paws for Psych Youth Venture Team was invited to present to tour groups of the leading businesses and entrepreneurs within the Ashburnham/Westminster community at the 2018 Johnson Controls Corporations Networking Event. At this event, Paws for Psych, a group of six high school girls from Oakmont Regional High School who fundraise for individuals with mental illnesses so that they can purchase therapy dogs, was able to network with other local businesses and become aware of many opportunities for their team – such as becoming radio guests, getting invited onto a local TV show, and making connections that would strengthen their overall bond with other corporations.
As a group of young entrepreneurs, Paws for Psych is always looking for new ways to spread their message about not only the difference that therapy dogs can make in people’s lives, but the importance of speaking both openly and holistically about mental health within the community. This event helped tremendously in allowing this Team to speak about what they hope to accomplish within the community. Hopefully, with a little assistance from Paws for Psych, more people will be able to afford the therapy dogs that they desperately need.
Since officially “launching” on December 5th, 2017, Paws for Psych has raised over $500 to help people with mental illnesses who are attempting to buy a therapy dog. This has been accomplished by selling recycled old clothing made into dog toys, selling “puppy chow” – a human treat made of Rice Krispie cereal, chocolate, and powdered sugar, and hosting a big fundraising event called “Pace for Paws”, where people from the community were allowed to bring their dogs to the Cross-Country trail at Oakmont Regional High School.
Because the team is so passionate about the message of their organization and the goals that they hope to achieve, they are also very eager to share what they do. Paws for Psych has been to several networking events, such as the Third Annual Disability Awareness Night at Monty Tech, all of the United Way Youth Venture conferences and workshops within the past year, events hosted by NEADS, and finally, the networking event at Johnson Controls as described above, where they were able to represent UWYV on a national level.