HOPE in the AIR is supporting Hospice & Community Care’s Sunflower Pediatric Program AND the Facility Dog Program at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital as our 2023 causes. The goal of HOPE in the AIR is to find causes that have a direct impact on people in our community by sharing hope. Through the Sunflower Pediatric Program and the Children’s Hospital Facility Dog Program, lives are enriched, suffering is eased, and memories are made.
Your Help Drives Our Ongoing Efforts
Each year, HOPE in the AIR identifies an important cause that helps to improve lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania and works to bring the community together to support it.
In Their Own Words
Our beneficiaries know best how much our community thrives when we work together to benefit the greater good. Hear it in their words.
When I started the (Tails of Valor) program, I was stuck. I had been home from the war since late 2008. I had lost many jobs. I had gone back to school. I had completed months and years of therapy, related to combat trauma and the physiological impacts that military service had on my body. I wasn’t able to sleep and my relationships were suffering.
I thought I would give it a try. I began to meet dogs at Tails of Valor®, but they seemed to not match up with me in the most important areas.
Then, I spotted the one, quiet and resting. Something just made me sit down and chat. I said quietly, “This life is a lot, want to hang out with me, I’m just going to sit here until you and I are ready.” My breathing calmed, I sat closer and waited. We both needed each other; trust, affection and partnership.
Now, there is no place we cannot go together. When I am in a crowd, space is created if people get too close, I am alerted when I’m stressed and pressure is applied to me when I am hypervigilant. I am even woke up when having nightmares. I have found my best medicine I’ve received in 13-years post-combat with zero side effects. This dog is my best life and fully part of my lifestyle. I don’t know why it took this long for us to find each other – but we did.
The benefits of having Kaia as the first Facility Dog for Penn State Children’s Hospital are plentiful. Ashley Kane’s role as handler and manager of the Child Life Program also has many benefits, aside from getting to take Kaia home with her every day. Kane was matched with Kaia at a special training session run by Canine Assistants in Georgia, where Kaia was professionally trained for the first 18 months of her life. In addition to that, Kane and their secondary handler, Alicia Cesare, learned about social bond-based teaching methods for Kaia.
To learn more about Ashley, Alicia, and Kaia, click here.
Kaia, the facility dog for the Child Life Program has impacted the lives of many children throughout her employment at Penn State Children’s Hospital. Kaia changes everything in a room when she enters, creating a state of calm and collectiveness in order to help procedures more comfortable for the patient. “This is exactly what she has been chosen for and taught to do as a facility dog.” A facility dog, Ashley Kane, the Child Life Program manager explains, offers specific goal-oriented intervention, such as modeling a comfortable way to lie down on an examination table. Read more about the Facility Dog Program at Penn State Children’s Hospital here.