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Rescue Dogs Changing Young Lives

Rescue dogs changing young lives

“If it wasn’t for this programme I can one hundred percent say that I wouldn’t be here today.”

Jemma Wastney credits the turnaround in her life to Nelson ARK and rescue dog Dylan which helped her understand and overcome the issues she was dealing with as a teenager.

“I never thought working with a dog who had such a horrible experience could make such a big difference. Him coming out of his shell was me coming out of my shell.”

Nelson ARK is a Nelson-based charity which pairs young people who’ve had a rough time with a rescue dog they train for eight weeks.

“After a couple of weeks I realised it was like looking at myself and I was able to relate to Dylan and know what he needed and what I needed as well.”

Jemma says family stress at home and bullying through social media left her feeling unable to cope with what was happening in her life and she dropped out of school.

After graduating from Nelson ARK, she went back to school and now works in early childhood education.

Nelson ARK founding member Karen Howieson says the organisation plays a really important role in the community working with young people who’ve had a rough time.

“It’s magical to see young people open up when they are matched with their dog.

“It gives young people skills to deal with difficult situations and look to dealing with situations in a different way,” Howieson says.

The organisation has been operating in Nelson for 10 years and relies on donations and charitable grants, like funding from the ANZ Staff Foundation.

“Receiving ANZ funding was really exciting for us because it meant we were able to help more young people,” Howieson says.

“The Staff Foundation is an opportunity to be part of something that makes a big difference in our communities,” says Antonia Watson, ANZ’s managing director of Retail and Business Banking, and Chair of the Staff Foundation advisory board.

“Seeing young people like Jemma overcome difficulties in her life, with support and guidance from Nelson ARK, really reinforces why it is so important we support these community based initiatives.”

Since its inception in 2000 the ANZ Staff Foundation has donated over $4 million to more than 550 charities. ANZ staff make a contribution every fortnight from their pay, every dollar donated is matched by the bank and 100% of this goes directly to community charities.


ENDS


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