Duluth Disability Nonprofit Celebrates 20 Years

By KBJR News 1

January 12, 2013 Updated Jan 13, 2013 at 1:38 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)- It's a Northland tradition to help those in need and that was no exception today at the 20 year celebration of the Duluth Disability nonprofit organization.

Organizations came together to celebrate 20 years of advocacy for people with disabilities.

"Today besides just celebrating, we decided to invite some organizations that have helped people with disabilities," said Desiree Menuey, Chairwoman of People with Disabilities for Change.

Access North, Wheels on Trails, and PawPADS were among the organizations present at the fair put on by People With Disabilities for Change.

"We just thought it would be a good idea to bring some people together and see what's out there for resources," said Menuey.

PawPADs is one organization that trains dogs to be placed with people who have disabilities.

These service dogs have done much to make people's lives easier.

"I wish I would have had her long before that, because it has been a very frustrating life not to be able to get around and go places because you are afraid you are going to drop something and you can't pick it up," said Frances McGee, who owns a service dog.

Besides helping people with physical disabilities, dogs can also help people with psychological disabilities.

One of PawPADs dogs visited Newtown Connecticut to help children and families affected by the shooting.

Ranger, did just that for one little boy.

"The mother and his sitters and brothers were all in the school at the time, they all survived, but they were terribly affected and this child hasn't really talked to anyone since then, he's just been in a fog and he walked passed Ranger and Holly, the school psychologist and asked, would you like to meet our dog? And all of a sudden he came out of it. He started talking and he started petting the dog, he just became animated and really a different kid. And his parents were watching this and were like, this is the first time since the shooting that he has been able to...come outside of himself," explained Linda Ball, the executive director of PawPADS.

They start training the dogs when they are about 8 weeks old and get placed when they are about two.

People with Disabilities for Change is a nonprofit organization working on advocacy issues for people with disabilities.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.