Eleanor Skillen student reading to a Paws and Think therapy dog. For some time, Eleanor Skillen School 34 has collaborated with an organization called Paws and Think at their school weekly. Paws and Think brings in therapy dogs to read with 6th grade students. According to Principal Sue Mahoney, “Doing this allows students to read without stigma and with confidence that may not come through in the classroom. Students select a book at their level and read for 15-20 minutes with dogs in the media center.” More certain and intelligent readers has been the reward from this program.

But last fall, a process began that rewarded Eleanor Skillen for its relationship with Paws and Think in a way staff and students never saw coming. Paws and Think applied for a grant of $50,000 from a local organization called Giving Sum, which is a group of young professionals in the Indianapolis area who came together out of “a common desire to do more for the community” and pooled their resources. Giving Sum awards one grant per year, and thanks to the hard work of the Paws and Think/Eleanor Skillen partnership, Paws and Think was awarded this grant and outlined their intended use for the money to be a media center renewal at the school.

The Eleanor Skillen School 34 and Paws and Think have been meeting for a few months to plan the project. The hope is to perform the work over Fall Break and have a grand unveiling once students return to school in October. What an outstanding result to grow out of this great partnership!