We caught up with Diana Segboer, the Executive Director of PALS to chat about the organization, what it does for the community, and how others can get involved! Check it out below...
Tell us a little bit about Pals.
PALS stands for Pet Access League Society. We are an organization that works with over 60 different places across the city to provide pet therapy to anyone from seniors to children. It might be a senior who had to give up their pet when they moved into an assisted living facility or a kid who has had an injury to their limb. Brushing a dog might make them forget about the pain in their arm and get them to move it. PALS is an organization that is more than it appears on the surface, animals visiting the hospital is just scratching the surface, it is so much more than that.
What is the mission and vision behind PALS?
PALS evolves based on the needs of the people we visit. Our programs are constantly changing to fit the different stresses in the world. Right now we are developing a program called Positive PALS which helps kids who are dealing with bullying in school and a program called Story PALS. Story PALS was designed to help schools deal with reading problems. It is for the kids who need a little extra help developing their reading skills so they don't fall behind. It is a seven-week program that we host twice a year in collaboration with the public libraries. Kids sign up to increase their confidence and reading levels. They sit with a PALS animal and read to them, it's simple but you can see the leaps and bounds the kids make in that 7 weeks. It gives them confidence that is hard to build in traditional settings.
What is your favorite part about working for PALS?
Seeing changes in the faces of the people you go to visit. They could be having the worst day and have no emotion on their face, but when the animals walk into the room you see them light up. In that moment everything that is bad or negative in their world is gone. That animal has taken it all away, they are just living in the moment petting the animal or playing with the animal, their pain is gone and they are happy.
Tell us one thing people probably don't know about PALS
That we are a charity that is not funded by the government. Since we are in the hospitals and senior homes people think we are funded by the government but we aren’t. We need donations all the time, sometimes it feels like all we do is fundraising. Getting funds through donations and our volunteers is how we keep the doors open.
Where do donations like the one from True Büch go? How is the money spent in the organization?
All the donations we receive go to programming. We have 2.5 people on the PALS team whose sole responsibility is to keep the programming going.
If you want to get involved with PALS or make a donation how do you do it?
If you want to get involved or donate to PALS send Diana a message anytime!
Her email is Diana@palspets.com
This year, because you drank our ginger Kombucha, we were able to raise close to $1,000 for PALS. Thanks for your supporting both us and PALS!
Learn more about Pals at www.palspets.com