City of Whyalla Councillor Irene Adair attended a special assembly at Memorial Oval Primary School (MOPS) to acknowledge the Story Dogs program and a joint sponsorship from Council and the school.
Following an application for funding from Whyalla Story Dogs, Council recently contributed $300 with MOPS tipping in $200 to sponsor the work Graham Murray and his dog Abby have been doing at the primary school for the past two years.
Story Dogs is a non-profit organisation that involves community members taking their dogs to school to help primary students with reading and communication. Whyalla Story Dogs has seven members who visit schools around Whyalla with their dogs to have special one-on-one sessions with students.
Whyalla Story Dogs Co-ordinator Bruce Muhlhan presented certificates of appreciation to Cr Adair and MOPS Deputy Principal Jenny MacDonald at the assembly. Cr Adair spoke at the special event and said it was an honour for Council to provide the funding for Story Dogs in conjunction with MOPS.
"It was an awesome event and Story Dogs is an awesome program," Cr Adair said.
"It is wonderful that Council can contribute to Story Dogs and all the great work they do in the schools.
"The assembly really was a heart-warming event as we saw what a difference this program can make for children at the school."
Bruce Muhlhan thanked Council and MOPS for the financial support.
"This sponsorship really does span the whole community with Council and MOPS contributing funds to a non-for-profit program like ours," Bruce said.
"We just wanted to acknowledge the support from Council and MOPS with this very special program that helps so many children.
"Having Story Dogs go into schools, and sit down with these children, helps them relax, engage with the volunteer and their dog and gain the confidence to have a go themselves with the reading.
"With a dog like Abby, who only has one eye, it also teaches them valuable lessons about living with a disability and accepting people and animals who have a disability.
"For Graham the sponsorship holds even more significance as he attended the same primary school as a child when it was known as the Whyalla South School."
Anyone interested in becoming a Story Dog volunteer should contact Bruce Muhlhan direct on email@example.com or by phone 0400 454 687. Volunteers need to have a police clearance, a love for helping others and a calm and friendly dog able to be around children.