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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Services, Animals, Education, Special Education, Student Services, Vocational & Technical Schools

Mission: Founded in 1995, Our mission is to educate and place Assistance Dogs to help people with disabilities gain independence and mobility.

Results: ECAD has placed over 200 dogs, in over 25 states, which is made possible by more than 750 teens that have participated in our ECADemy Program. There are over 60 dogs in training at one time and over 30 people waiting to receive a dog.

Target demographics: People with physical disabilities, children effected by Autism, wounded Veterans returning from war and the At Risk Youth trainers that educate our dogs.1.  At-Risk IndividualsThe agencies in which ECAD’s PALS programs operate, serve some of society’s most troubled children and their families in both residential and community settings, providing them with therapeutic care as well as support and skills necessary to succeed as adults:• 87% of the residents are referred through New York City’s child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice systems, and come from the city’s most impoverished and violent neighborhoods.• 68% of the children admitted to these Residential Treatment Centers have suffered neglect.• 36% have been physically or sexually abused.• 43% have had prior psychiatric hospitalizations.• 39% have made suicidal gestures or attempts• 43% have engaged in delinquent behaviors prior to admission.Most of the children come from families with serious emotional or substance abuse problems: • 78% of the children have one or more parents who are substance abusers. • 45% of the children have a parent in prison, • 30% have a parent with serious psychiatric problems.• Approximately 66% of those served are African American, 27% are Latino, 5% are Euro-American and 2% are from other racial/ethnic backgrounds

Direct beneficiaries per year: ECAD averages 15 dogs placed per year with individuals, and rehabilitation facilities.

Geographic areas served: NATIONAL

Programs: Today ECAD’s training program produces a wide variety of Assistance Dogs: Service Dogs assist individuals with physical disabilities by acting as their arms and legs. The dogs are trained to perform a variety of tasks (e.g., retrieve items, activate light switches, open and close doors, assist with balance) specific to the needs of each individual. Specialty Dogs to assist children with Autism spectrum disorders in a variety of areas including emotional bonding, socialization support, cognitive development, and physical safety. Skilled Companion Dogs are placed with individuals who need support but are too young or ill to handle a Service Dog. These dogs are well socialized, trained in basic obedience, and can be trained to perform more advanced tasks based on an individual’s needs. Facility Dogs are placed in nursing homes, hospitals, private practice settings, alternative schools, or anywhere their therapeutic support is needed. These dogs have been well socialized; obedience trained, and can be trained to work in patient therapy programs.

Community Stories

28 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ECAD is bar none the most amazing charity I have ever volunteered for.
The Picards founded this organization as a way to bring Unconditional Love to the people that need it most; Children at risk who society has basically given up on and people of all types with various disabilities.
By having the Children at Risk train and develop a relationship with the service dogs, they are getting their self-esteem back and can feel like they have a purpose. The service dogs that are trained by these children give so much back to needy people with emotional, physical and mental disabilities- I have never encountered a more dedicated, loving and beautiful cause- being involved with ECAD has has changed my life as it is like a beautiful circle of Unconditional Love and Service.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My time as a weekend respite provider for the dogs in training was an amazing experience..I learned so much from my canine guests and the experience gave me the confidence and skill to rescue a dog in need of a home.
This organization cares deeply about its youth tainers as well as the canines.As a result of the dedication and expertise of the professionals in this organization canines and their partners are well suited and successful.
The contributions made by these dogs to the lives of all they encounter is difficult to measure but invaluable and life changing.
It is a pleasure to have played a small role in this much needed organization,They provide a wonderful service.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of working with ECAD since its inception. They provide an amazing service not only to the ultimate clients who receive the fully trained dogs but to the boys who train the dogs at The Children's Village. I'm a staff member at CV but also a "mom" to one of the breeder dogs who has provided two litters of puppies for the program. This program is a source of awe-inspiring results and is a win-win for everyone concerned.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ECAD is a wonderful organization. Not only do they train assistance dogs for people with disabilities, for autistic children and for therapy centers and hospitals, but they use boys at Children's Village, a residential treatment center and school for boys, to do the training. Clients who receive the dogs are thus helped and the boys have the pride of seeing what their disciplined work over 18 months or more can achieve. We have worked especially with two dogs: Sierra, who is now living with and serving a 7 year old boy with autism, and Pumpkin, who is about to go to a hospital center in Florida. With Pumpkin, especially, we saw the results of ECAD's work. he went from being an opportunistic, difficult pup to a mature dog responding to many commands and giving great help.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with ECAD for several rewarding years now. I view the program as a WIN-WIN-WIN. Service dogs are trained by at-risk youth (first WIN -- you should see the kids bond with these dogs, and from their experience learn patience and trust). Then the dogs are paired with persons with physical challenges (second WIN -- whether it is providing independence to an autistic child (and parents!) or much-needed physical and/or emotional support for a wounded veteran, the service dog adds quality of life for a recipient. Third WIN: the volunteer! Being a weekend handler allows me to have a trained, loving dog at my convenience. It is very rewarding, to say nothing of excellent exercise!

Imagine being the kid in the wheelchair, that has always felt like an outsider at school. Now, imagine being that same kid in the wheelchair at school -- but with a dog! The other kids now envy you and crowd around. You are no longer the kid with the disability -- you are the kid who GETS to have a dog. Big difference!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I first herd about ECAD I couldn't wait to sign up.Before I signed up though, my parents wanted to see if I could volunteer at a more local facility.When that failed, my parents said I could finally fill the application and go with my friend to ECAD see what they do.When that day finally arrived, it was Sunday afternoon; I was wearing my pink polo shirt ( to look presentable), and got in my friend's car.We were off!When we arrived it wasn't exactly what I thought it would look like, but it was fine with me!My friend introduced me to everyone there, then soon I got the nickname, Pinky; (lol :) because of my shirt )! After a few weeks of going with my friend I was finally accepted into ECAD! I was then assigned a dog to work with and foster at my house (optional). He was a great dane lab mix named Valor. He was the best dog in the world! He was all black and literally my shadow (lol :D )! I fostered Valor for many weekends, he was always there for me, and was always a very good boy! Later my instructor told me he was soon moving on to the New York campus, I was sad that Valor was leaving, but happy that he was one step closer to becoming a service dog (and I was still able to see him sometimes when he would come back to the Connecticut campus). After Valor moved on to the New York campus; I wasn't particularly assigned to another dog I just got any dog that was there to foster and train. Later I went to Valor's graduation and saw him become an official service dog. To this day I still think of him often. I still do go to ECAD and foster and train dogs, and YES they still do call me Pinky at times, but it doesn't bother me.ECAD has changed me in many ways.Before I came to ECAD I wasn't patient, but now that I work with the dogs I have to be patient, I also feel more mellow and calm when I am around other dogs and people (Valor taught me that). Each dog has many purposes in life, taking a dog home to foster every once in a while, will teach me more lessons to learn about life,love, and lessons. I love coming to ECAD and always look forward to coming each week. I hope that someday I will help impact any people like ECAD has; I know it has for me, my family, friends, and the people whom are gaining independence.ECAD will impact your life too, if you give it a chance, and help them raise money, to raise more puppies, which will someday turn into service dogs that will help people in many ways.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We began volunteering with ECAD last year as weekend home handlers. While having an incredibly smart, adorable dog in our home every weekend has brought us much joy, it was a recent "graduation" ceremony that truly demonstarted the power of this organization. To see the impact that these dogs have had on so many lives was awe inspiring. From the clients whose lives will be changed, to the home handlers whose weekends are made brighter, to the children trainees whose lives are enriched with responsibility, trust, and unconditional love, the community impact that ECAD delivers is nothing short of exceptional. Thank you, ECAD, for everything you do!

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I work for Children's Village, which collaborates with ECAD. ECAD instructors train at-risk adolescents at our residential school to train assistance dogs for the physically handicapped. I have seen first-hand the transformation of our young men who work in this program. Not only do they develop a skill, but they learn patience, gain self-confidence, and experience the joy of helping someone less fortunate. Many Children's Village staff volunteer in this program, taking dogs home on the weekends to socialize them. I have been a volunteer for three years taking care of Ruthie, who is a breeder in the program and "works" in the pet therapy program.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got invovled with ECAD as a compromise to my daughter who wanted a dog to love. ECAD provided that, but also allowed her to feel the joy of giving back to others who ultimately get the dogs we help train. The staff is committed, knowledgable and responsive. They also give back to the community by educating the public on these critical programs.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been an ECAD volunteer for about 4 years. ECAD has been an inspiration for me in showing how an organization can help so many people with so little. Not only do they provide excellent canines for disabled people, but they also provide excellent skills to the youths who train the dogs. These youths all come from different backgrounds but they have one thing in common in that they need guidance in order to succeed in life. I have seen numerous adolescents grow to be young adults that anyone would be proud of. They raise and train the dogs from puppies until about 2 years old and they take extreme pride in their ability to turn that puppy into a service dog that will enhance the life of someone in need, whether it be a military person with PSTS or a physical disability or a child with Autism or a severe physical handicap. The staff at ECAD is to be commended for their outstanding work and service. I have seen first hand how hard they work and how sincere they all are. They are truly deserving of any and all grants that might be available to them!

Review from Guidestar