By Reader Staff
The Inland Northwest Chapter of Canine Companions for Independence and Mountain West Bank are teaming up for a special project benefiting the kids of Sandpoint’s LillyBrooke Family Justice Center, raising funds at both the Sandpoint and Ponderay bank locations starting Friday, May 14 through Friday, May 21.
The project, titled Ken’s Friends, is named for Ken — the beloved black Labrador retriever who “has been comforting children and vulnerable adults as they work their way through the justice system for several years now,” according to local CCI Community Outreach Coordinator Lilly Mitsui.
Ken does much of his work at LillyBrooke, where victims of abuse can go for free, confidential services and support. He is also a graduate of CCI, which is a national nonprofit known for providing free service dogs to people in need.
“Kids, in particular, are often put in compromising positions being asked to share very difficult details about what they’ve been through and/or what they’ve seen or know about,” Mitsui said, adding later: “Ken creates a special bond with each child he encounters and they truly fall in love with him.”
CCI offers mini plush puppy toys designed to look like their service dogs. Mitsui said the Inland Northwest Chapter is hoping to provide 120 of those toys — in the black Lab version, to represent Ken — to LillyBrooke Director Peggy Frye so that “she can present [one] to each child that is comforted by Ken to take home with them,” Mitsui said. The 120-plush-puppy goal would provide Frye with enough toys for about a year.
Visitors to local Mountain West Bank branches during the fundraiser will have the chance to purchase a $10 toy for LillyBrooke, and each one will have Ken’s name embroidered on its service vest. Additionally, Ken will be visiting both bank locations on the fundraiser’s first day.
Those with questions about the Ken’s Friends project can contact Judy Baird at the Ponderay Mountain West Bank at 208-265-2232.
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