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Global Giving Volunteers with Lea Kaydus’ Animals for Autism

It must be quite the honor for Siberian Snow Babies’ Animals for Autism Program to have one of the Grant Administrators from Global Giving take time out of her schedule to fly all the way from Washington, DC to visit and “volunteer” at the new training “facility.”

Picture of Ms. Ellis from Global Giving websiteI hope that everyone is willing to give a welcome hand to Ms. K.C. Ellis of Global Giving.  KC facilitates successful grant administration for the Pepsi Refresh Project. She is bilingual in French and English, and uses her language skills to work with grantees throughout the United States and Canada. Before coming to GlobalGiving, KC worked as a concierge for an international travel group, coordinated programs and marketing at the James River Green Building Council, and waited tables at a Cuban restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. She attended college at l’Université Jean-Monnet de Saint-Etienne and earned her Bachelor of Arts in both International Studies with a Focus on the Arts and French Language from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Please feel free to visit the rest of the Global Giving team and let them know what a fantastic job they are doing.

I am hopeful that she has managed to pick up a little more information on how a service dog training program (and especially one for autistic children) should be run, and administered.  There has been a lot of concern raised by several of the families who were lucky enough to be chosen by Siberian Snow Babies to be part of their Pepsi Pups Animals for Autism program.  Initially they were told that the issues would just need to be worked out between them and the program’s founder, Lea Kaydus.  Later on, Global Giving offered to do a mediated phone call.  I wonder whom in the Global Giving organization has had experience working with service animals.  Then again, some of the concerns are really much more basic than that.  After all, it is very easy to give families the wrong tax information.  It is very easy to represent your organization as a non-profit yet give no real way for those who have donated to your “organization” and way to take this deduction.  Ms. Kaydus claims on her Facebook page for Animals for Autism

“However, the IRS allows Form 1023 to remain unfiled as long as an organization has gross receipts in each taxable year of not more than $5,000. Since Animals for Autism’s receipts are far less than $5,000, the NFP can accept contributions without filing until the end of the grant period. It is allowable to file the form within 27 months after the end of the month in which you were legally formed.”  

Now I must ask, how is this possible since I know that my family has paid you $2250 and I know that several other families have also paid money to you – and yes, those are not donations, they are in fact payments.  A donation is not usually accompanied by a payment plan which is what I believe we were all placed on to make owning a service dog a closer reality.  And Ms. Kaydus, that does state gross receipts and not net receipts.  Oh, that’s right, you had everyone send the money to your husband through his (your) normal puppy selling account.  Was that to keep your “organization’s” gross receipts down?  I wonder who else has noticed by now?

Ms. Ellis, since Ms. Kaydus seems to have such difficulty keeping the families in her training program apprised of the current training status of their service animals I hope that you will be able to assist.  She has not yet identified a reliable way of determining which dog belongs to which family, although we had thought that a colored collar with maybe a dog tag with a name on it might be a start and would easily allow for visual identification.  Must be difficult if the trainers must constantly pull out the microchip scanner to ensure that the proper dog is receiving the proper training.  Which also brings to mind…what are the animals being trained to do.  Ms. Kaydus had mentioned constant communication between trainers and family to ensure that the proper tasks were being identified and yet I don’t believe the majority of the families have been contacted.  It seems as if maybe Ms. Kaydus has taken on more than she can really handle.  Who would really know besides possibly another dog trainer.  It might be worth enlisting some help from the PepsiCo Puppy Partnership (P3).  Their trainer(s) seem to have done some pretty awesome work just based off of their Facebook page.  P3 is a partnership between PepsiCo and Guiding Eyes for the Blind in which we support employee volunteerism by training and developing service dogs inside the workplace.  Wow, PepsiCo has a program to train and develop service dogs inside the workplace…what an amazing concept.

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Sorry, I got lost on a tangent.  Once again, please say hello to Ms. Ellis and the rest of the team at Global Giving.  Let them know you appreciate all that they are doing to help Siberian Snow Babies and their Animals for Autism Program.  Maybe after this visit is complete, and Ms. Ellis has finished her “volunteering” the families involved might be able to get a few answers.

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