Here at ECAD, we’re big fans of #GivingTuesday. After counting our blessings on Thanksgiving and splurging on Black Friday, it’s the one day each year that’s specially dedicated to supporting all types of awesome organizations. If you’re hoping to make a difference this #GivingTuesday, supporting ECAD is an especially smart choice — on December third, this year’s #GivingTuesday, your gift gets tripled when you give through Facebook! (Just click the “Donate” button on our page). If you don’t have a Facebook account you can still give here and your gift will be doubled. 


Yes, you read that right. This year, we’re thrilled to bring in a powerhouse trio of supporters to triple your donation: Board Member William Morton and the Morton Family Charitable Trust are generously matching your donations up to $5,000, and Facebook and PayPal are each matching your gift as well!  


When you give to ECAD, you never have to worry whether or not your donation makes a real, tangible difference. Take Leo Golusinkski, for instance. At four and a half years old, Leo is severely autistic and struggles with hyperactivity, both of which may be the result of a seizure he experienced as an infant. For the first few years of his life, Leo was diagnosed as non-verbal, but within the last year, Leo has proven this diagnosis wrong. As hard as he tries to communicate, however, Leo can be difficult for other people to understand. Naturally, this is incredibly frustrating for him. 


Leo himself has a feeling that a service dog could help him communicate. When talking about dogs, he said, “They can hear Leo.” Dogs, with their inexplicable emotional intelligence, make Leo feel heard when the people around him can’t. This is one of the many reasons we’re thrilled to announce that Leo will soon be paired with an ECAD service dog. 


As you can imagine, Leo’s difficulty in communicating can be deeply isolating. It can be especially difficult for other children to understand disabilities, especially those that aren’t obvious at first glance.


“Leo is really shy around other kids,” Leo’s mother, Lisa, told us. “Especially at birthday parties and picnics. But if he had a ‘best friend,’ Leo says, ‘I will still have my dog if no one plays with me.’”


Lisa also expects a service dog would be an effective icebreaker. She says, “A beautiful dog would make Leo more interesting to other children, they would think there is something going on there and maybe want to learn about him and why he always has a dog by his side.”


Leo’s dog will be more than a companion, however. Leo is a “bolter” and is prone to running away, so an ECAD dog would provide another set of eyes to keep an eye on Leo when he’s out and about with his family.


“We need those extra four paws so we can breathe a little bit,” Lisa says. “We are hoping that when Leo has his Service Dog, we as a family will be able to go out more – to events, restaurants – things that are too much for Leo now. He will be focused on his dog so other things won’t bother him as they do now.”


Time and time again, we find that ECAD dogs are as transformative for families as they are for the individuals they serve. This makes the impact of your generous donation on #GivingTuesday, already matched to triple its value, even greater than you can imagine. Every dollar causes a ripple effect, improving the lives of individuals and families hoping for healthier, happier lives. Click here to donate and have your gift tripled, and rest easy knowing that your generosity will make a bigger difference than ever.