One of the awesome things about our Flying Start judging panel is that each time we convene it’s an exciting process of discovery as we are introduced to some of the many amazing community groups that are out there, often flying under the radar, doing some really cool stuff. Jetstar’s 18th Flying Start $30,000 cash / flights grant recipient is no exception to this.
As soon as I read their application, I knew that Nelson Ark was the perfect fit for my vote.
Their tagline is Compassion in Action and the premise of this organisation is both unique and very special. The A-PART Program (Animals, People and Rehabilitative Training) pairs a dog from the local pound or SPCA with a troubled teen and a support team consisting of a dog trainer, educational facilitator and several volunteer supporters. Together over an 8 week period the team work together to give the rescue dog a second chance at life as well as fostering responsibility, empathy, compassion and, I would imagine, a great sense of satisfaction at working selflessly to help another creature see the program through to completion and hopefully a successful adoption.
The two-pronged benefit to both an animal in need and a teen that’s lost their way is an incredible initiative that to me at least, pairs charity and ‘the social good’ with some old fashioned common sense!
This is no walk in the park! The teens are committed to training their dog for two hours, three times a week for the duration of the eight week course culminating in a graduation ceremony to celebrate the successes of each dog and trainer.
As with many charitable organizations, funding can be a struggle. The $15,000 cash component of the Jetstar Flying Start grant will be a massive boost to Nelson Ark’s operational fund and the $15,000 worth of flights will be used to bring program facilitators from around New Zealand to train in Nelson.