Thursday, October 29, 2009

Website Design 101

For some time, we knew we wanted a fresh new look to our website. But, being a nonprofit and having a limited budget for what could cost thousands of dollars; a dedicated volunteer created and maintained our site for years. Earlier this year, our corporate sponsor Talk Inc. expanded their creative communications agency to include website design and management. When their creative team contacted us about taking on the project of redesigning and hosting our website, we were very excited. After all, we have had the direct benefit of the quality work this creative group does. Talk Inc. had redesigned our corporate brochures, helped us to name both our Carolina Canines for Veterans and Carolina Canines for Therapy programs, created our Carolina Canines for Therapy logo, prepared quality press kit information and have provided countless press releases over the course of the last two years. Needless to say, we were anxious to work on the website project with Talk.

Over the last several weeks, the creative work of Shawn, graphic designer extraordinaire, Susan with her very talented writing style and management of the project, and Nathan with his incredible web marketing and management skills, have proven their high caliber standards. Under the attentive direction of President & Creative Director, Debbie Elliott, Talk has exceeded any expectations Carolina Canines may have had. Actually, they have blown us away with the breathing website that professionally portrays the mission of our organization and our goal of helping people with disabilities.

Over the next week or so, Talk will be providing training to Carolina Canines for managing the content of our site. They will also be adding a photo gallery and a newsroom. Those pieces will go live as soon as we complete our part of those efforts.

Did this happen without our involvement? No. Step by step from the design to the copy, we were involved in every process. Even the transition to going live and changing over our email accounts was done with thoughtful guidance from Talk. Designing and implementing a website, whether new or redesigned, is an effort that takes a great deal of planning and cooperation between both parties. If you are looking for someone that will get the job done for you, using the latest technology and understanding how to market your business on the internet, I’d call Talk. They’ll get the job done right.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

North Carolina Outstanding Volunteer Service Award

Carolina Canines for Service would like to congratulate Donna Sweetman, Advanced Trainer, as one of the five New Hanover County Volunteer of the Year Award recipients and for being the New Hanover County’s Medallion of Honor winner for 2009. Donna will be recognized at the Governor’s Mansion in early November with the other 20 Medallion of Honor winners and could be selected as the 2009 North Carolina Outstanding Volunteer Award Recipient.

The New Hanover County Nominees and Award Recipients were honored at an awrds dinner hosted by the Cape Fear Volunteer Center at City Hall Chambers on October 22, 2009. Each year across the state of North Carolina, nonprofit agencies nominate volunteers who have demonstrated the upmost concern and compassion for their neighbors by making a significant contribution to their community through volunteer services. In New Hanover County, nine volunteers were nominated and recognized for their service in the community. The nominations are presented by the agency the individuals volunteer for and the nominations are reviewed by a committee of judges. Of those individuals, five were awarded the New Hanover County Volunteer of the Year Award. The selection of each County’s five nominees is conducted at the County level and submitted to the Commission for approval. Selection is based upon the nominee’s volunteer efforts, accomplishments, and impact. The nomination reflects meaningful commitment of time and service by the nominee. The nominee’s service addresses a community need and/or enhances the quality of life of North Carolinians and demonstrate acts of generosity and kindness. A statewide panel, under the direction of the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, evaluates the nominations for the Medallion Award.

Donna dedication and work over the last 9 years with Carolina Canines as a foster puppy parent, advanced trainer and instructor for other foster families and advanced trainers, exemplifies her passion and commitment to the volunteerism she does. Donna volunteers an average of 120 hours a month and is currently working to train her ninth service dog that will be provided to a person with a disability later this year.

Carolina Canines is honored to be in the company of this dedicated and compassionate individual and we are pround of Donna for all of her help to support the mission of our programs.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Training Mission Disney

Much of the service dog training Carolina Canines volunteers and staff do is in and around Wilmington, Myrtle Beach or Jacksonville, but occasionally we get an opportunity to take a service dog in training on a different kind of adventure. This time, Service Dog Titus went to Disney!

If you are ever wondering how we know a dog is ready for placement, visiting a high distraction location, like Disney, is one way to fully determine the service dogs abilities. From Hollywood Studios Toy Story to Magic Kingdoms Small World, Disney was full of surprises around almost every corner or curve. Titus, we are pleased to say did wonderful. He readily managed Disney, with the crowds of people, Disney characters, the Celebration Parade including stilt walkers, an evening performance of Cirque du Soleil and the infamous Disney fireworks displays. Titus is a champion.

This year at Disney is the year of celebration, and our friend Merilee ensured that Rick and I were celebrated with a button that announced our marriage. Disney cast members offered their congratulations and well wishes. During the Celebration Parade at Magic Kingdom, nearly every stilt walker came over to us to offer their congratulations and say hello to Titus. The Disney cast is an amazing group of dedicated and concerned people. Highly trained and taking their roles as ambassadors seriously, they frequently asked if our service dog needed water, always asked if they could pet him and offered access to areas where he could be walked. They guided us to ride access and asked if special seating was needed for certain rides. They were attentive without being overbearing.

Taking a service dog to Disney is a valuable experience for the dog because if they can handle this environment, they can handle anything asked of them. We’d welcome the opportunity to have a generous sponsor for a training excursion for each of our service dogs at Disney. Any takers?

Friday, October 9, 2009

New Look Coming Soon

We are working harder than ever to create a new look to our website. Well, we’re really just reviewing and approving the hard work of our corporate sponsor Talk Inc. Talk has been working with Carolina Canines for several years now after selecting us as their Project Pet Project. Talk, Inc is a creative communications agency that helps companies grow and navigate change. Talk utilizes public relations, graphic design and internet marketing to help companies find their voice. And, top Dog Camden keeps the Talkers on their paws to help Carolina Canines put their best paw forward.

We will be sharing more information as we get ready to launch the new site in the next several weeks and we know you will enjoy the new look and the ease of navigation.