2018 Reflections

The closing of a calendar year always causes me to stop and reflect. The good and the bad come back with smiles and sighs. It is interesting to reflect on the calendar year when organizations run on fiscal years that don’t match up. I have found this to be a helpful practice which has generated changes and opportunities I can implement during the rest of the fiscal year.

2018 was impactful year for CDK. CDK celebrated 20 years of helping children, service dogs and communities all over the US. We took a hard look at where CDK has been, is now and where CDK wants to be. This lead us to some new adventures. Some adventures were (and still are) exciting, like the work we did with Clark University and 2 Capstone projects which we hope to present to our government leaders to better support service dogs and their partners. Others were sad and difficult, like the choice to reduce staff and move our offices. All of our actions are designed to better service the children, their families and communities. I am excited with how everything has come together – and continues to do so.

I have the good fortune to talk with people looking for service dogs. Hearing their stories, learning their needs and helping them find the training program to meet their needs is something I enjoy. Sometimes this is over the phone or by email. Other times it is in person. It is always a joy when a family who started their journey with CDK receives a scholarship and shares their successes with us. Adding new scholarship team photos to our website brings a smile to me face. In 20 years CDK has awarded 275 scholarships to help children get serviced dogs. 2019 is ready to award more!

Donors are the reason we can do the work we do. There is not enough space to name each donor but it is important that you know how important you support is.

In 2018 we had a few businesses make large contributions. Some of these are collections taken from employees, others are made from customer purchases which generate a donation, and still others are made for the companies choosing to support CDK out of their profits. A few companies I’d like to give a shout out to right now are: PGA-MetLife Match Up, RuffDawg, Pepsi 2018 Great Lakes Diversity Board Charity, Bestaroo and Isla’s Winter Wonderland, and so many more.

Students make a combined effort each year to support CDK. They get a big shout out for all the local fundraisers they organize and host. The creativity and energy shown has inspired others as they reach out to help other students who they may never meet. Making choices from asking for donations as birthday gifts to making jewelry and duct tape wallets sold at craft fairs, bake sales with dog and people cookies, lemonade stands, walks, raking leaves, change wars and so many more activities were students show their initiative, creativity, leadership and compassion assure me they will make the world a better place.

2018 was a wonderful year. I turn towards 2019 with excitement.

Thank you for being part of our journey. Join me to see where 2019 will take us.

  • Kristin Hartness, Canines for Disabled Kids Executive Director