MacKillop Family Services held its annual Paws4Kids matched giving day, raising $285,0000 to help vulnerable children stay connected to education. 

The Paw Pals program uses therapy dogs to connect with students who find it difficult to attend school, due to issues such as anxiety or learning difficulties, which make it really challenging for them to be in a classroom.

While the target of $350,000 wasn’t reached, MacKillop Family Services said they are humbled by the support of the community and that the money raised will help to sustain the Paw Pals dog therapy program.

Anne Henderson, Group Director of The MacKillop Institute and MacKillop Education, said through community support, their Paw Pals facilitators and therapy dogs have re-engaged over 650 children and young people with education.

“With school refusal and mental health concerns on the rise, the need for the program has never been greater. We are so grateful for the support we received during the Paws4Kids campaign – and continue to receive – so we can help more students to stay connected with education.”

Highlights of the fifth annual matched giving day included setting up in the Djeembana Chapel at the MacKillop Family Services South Melbourne office, where a number of bright and fun activities took place.

Generous donors were also called and thanked for their support, whose impact was doubled thanks to the Petspiration Foundation and other partners. The Ballarat office of the Petspiration Foundation also heard from Paw Pals facilitator Kath and met therapy dog Millie.

The Paw Pals program, which provides a level of support not available in schools, receives no government funding and is reliant on the generosity of the community. For those wishing to donate, the donation page is still open and be found here.

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