BOSTON — NEADS, a nonprofit organization that trains and places service dogs for people with physical disabilities and hearing loss, this week donated a newly-created coloring and activity book, Let’s Go with NEADS Service Dogs Arnie and Zara, to Boston-area hospitals.
Matching a donation for every book sold, NEADS has already delivered 200 copies to Franciscan Children’s Hospital and will shortly send a shipment to Boston Medical Center’s Pediatrics Department. NEADS has trained and placed 1,800 Service Dogs since its founding in 1976, changing the lives of those with physical disabilities and hearing loss.
“We realize that having children at home unexpectedly can be challenging, and we hope Let’s Go will be a welcome diversion for parents everywhere,” said Cathy Zemaitis, NEADS Director of Development. “And people who buy the books can feel good that they’re also helping children in need. NEADS Assistance Dogs are on staff at both Franciscan Children’s and Boston Medical Center, so they were logical partners.”
The fun and educational “A to Z” Coloring and Activity book is centered around words and phrases related to NEADS Service Dogs. Through the main characters, Arnie and Zara, the book demonstrates how the dogs help their human partners, featuring each letter of the alphabet. The book is perfect for a young dog lover to learn about Service Dogs while doing problem solving and tuning motor skills. It is ideal for ages 4-10 and was created by Lori Barrett, NEADS Creative Media Specialist. The coloring book can be purchased through the NEADS Shop for $7. All monies go to supporting NEADS mission.
NEADS is offering a free coloring page from the book and has also created a Discussion Guide for parents to share with children learning about Service Dogs and people with disabilities. In a further community collaboration, NEADS has created a bonus page featuring the Boston Duck Tours, a long-time supporter of NEADS. The two free coloring pages and Discussion Guide are available for download via the NEADS Shop.
“Having a resource like the NEADS coloring book to hand out to children and families will serve as a real asset to our care of patients,” said Molly Ann Duggan, Child Life Manager, Boston Medical Center. “During times of uncertainty, small tokens can go a long way to support our patients. The hospital environment, especially the Emergency Department, can be very stressful for children and their parents. Our staff focuses on caring for the whole patient and their loved ones. Diversionary activities such as this wonderful coloring book help promote a positive rapport and ease the experience.”