About 1 year ago Pastor Sampson highlighted the special needs ministry at Crossroads Presbyterian Church, he brought to our attention that a service dog would be a blessing to Matthew Allen and his whole family as they live with his autism. 
 
At the age of 14, Matt has been in several dangerous situations because of his unpredictable behavior and desire to explore.  When he slips away, the police have been called on several occasions to help locate him.  His limited sense of danger has resulted in his running into moving traffic, climbing electrical towers, and visiting neighbor’s swimming pools.  Like any other boy his age, he loves to play outdoors, swing, and ride his scooter.  But because of his autism, he must have constant supervision.
 
Through the special needs ministry at Crossroads, many groups and individuals have come together to help raise money to get a service dog for Matt.  Since last October, God has provided $13,000 for this project. It has truly been amazing to see how God has blessed each effort.  In less than a year the funds have been raised!
 
The Allen’s will be working with 4 Paws for Ability.  It is a non-profit organization that trains service dogs for various disabilities.  They are training a service dog to meet Matt’s specific needs for safety and companionship.  This will help keep Matt safe because the dog will be trained to track Matt when he disappears.  Matt could also be tethered to his dog by wearing a vest connected to the dog’s harness.  Not only would this protect Matt, it also would help Matt learn to pace himself in public and potentially decrease his erratic behavior.  The dog would also be trained to help calm Matt down when he gets upset or has trouble with a change in his routine.
 
This process takes many months.  The Allens prepared a special video of a week in the life of Matthew so the trainers could see what he does, where he goes, and his special needs.  The next step involves the Allens traveling to Ohio for an intensive 2 week training program to practice working with the dog and training the dog to care for Matt.  With God’s blessing, Matt will have his dog by Christmas.
 
God has blessed the efforts of many to provide for Matthew.  It is a humbling experience to watch the hand of God as he moves to care for his children.  Our next step is to continue in prayer for this process and for Matt and to host a fundraiser to help with the travel and training costs.
 
Join the Crossroads family Saturday evening, September 25th for a Spaghetti Dinner and Harvest Silent Auction at Christus Victor Lutheran Church on Route 234.  Tickets will cost $10 each for adults and $6 each for children under 12.  A silent auction of hand-made items will be featured.  Please plan to attend and share your talents by donating items for the silent auction to support this worthy ministry.  Please consider donating homemade bread, cakes, pies, desserts, handmade jewelry, handcrafts, etc.  All proceeds from this go to the Mercy Ministry to help with the expenses for Matt’s dog.
 
Contact Kimberly Haney (kkahaney@gmail.com) with questions or to help.
 

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