Members of ECAD and the Barkhamsted Lions Club. Photo submitted.
Members of ECAD and the Barkhamsted Lions Club. Photo submitted.
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WINSTED and BARKHAMSTED — Earlier this month, the nonprofit organization Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD) announced that Lions Club International chartered a Specialty Club Branch with the organization.
According to the organization’s website at www.ecad1.org, the mission of the organization is to train dogs to help people with disabilities.
The organization was founded in 1995 by Lue and Dale Picard and has placed assistance dogs with more than 300 clients in over a dozen states to help people with a variety of 50 disabilities, including children with autism and veterans with traumatic brain injuries or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
The Lions Club is an international service organization that was founded in 1917 in Chicago, Illinois. It now has 1.4 million members in more than 200 countries around the world.
In an interview with The Winsted Phoenix, David Roberts, President of the Barkhamsted Lions Club, said that he became aware of ECAD while spending time at the town’s Senior Center.
“One of the Senior Center members told me about ECAD and what they provide to people,” Roberts said. “I like ECAD because of their connection to help people that have either physical or mental challenges, including people in the military. Both I and my wife have six kids and my oldest child is in the military. We are very passionate about helping the military and we know about the challenges of people who have PTSD.”
Roberts said that the branch currently has nine members.
“Once we hit 20 members we can become an official club of our own,” Roberts said. “ECAD wants to attract more volunteers and The Lions Club is always looking for ways that people can get involved in the community.”
ECAD’s Director of Development Carrie Picard said that the organization appreciates the Lions Club support, especially considering that ECAD has been struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are doing our best, but donations have slowed down, which has impacted our ability to train dogs,” Picard said. “We had to close down our facility for about eight weeks. We did have volunteers who took those dogs home for those weeks. But it slowed down our training process, which postponed placing dogs out. It dramatically affected us and the clients we served.”
Picard said that the partnership with The Lions Club will allow ECAD to be eligible for grant opportunities it would normally not be eligible for.
“It also opens us back up to the community in a lot of ways, especially to people who may not know about ECAD,” she said. “This can help spread the word about us and we are very excited about this.”
For more information about the ECAD Lions Club Branch email Picard at info@ecad1.org or go to www.ecad1.org

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