A new furry face joined the founders of Mickey's Kids Monday as they accepted a donation from 7-year-old Alexa Papasavas, who handed over the profits from her lemonade stand for a good cause.
Liberty, an education and therapy dog of Canine Assistants, the Georgia-based organization which raises service dogs for children in need, is the new "spokes dog" for the Heights-based Mickey’s Kids Foundation.
Monday was her first act of service in the new role as young Alexa handed Mickey's Kids founders Tom and Michele Meli the $60 she raised from her lemonade stand.
The student raised the funds in just a little more than an hour, her mother Carla Papasavas said. She had set up her lemonade stand outside her family’s business, , and many people generously gave towards the cause, her mother said. She also had a little help from 3-year old brother Jayden, who came to meet Liberty.
The Melis have put all their support of their foundation behind the Canine Assistants cause and have raised tens of thousands to help unite a child in need with a new best friend.
They have . Now the Melis are waiting to find out which New Jersey family will be the next to receive a dog as a result of .
The Melis recently returned from a visit to the Canine Assistants operation in Georgia where they met Liberty. She was originally being trained to be a service dog but was found to be a bit too skittish so instead she is being trained to serve as an education and therapy dog, said Michele Meli.
Liberty will play an important role in helping to promote awareness about the Canine Assistants cause. Michele says she will visit many schools in the area with Liberty in the upcoming school year.
Dogs have always been a special part of Tom and Michele’s lives. They named their foundation after their late dog Mickey and they named their store after their dog Shadow who recently passed away. Now they have Liberty to help Mickey’s Kids promote the Canine Assistants cause.
Liberty greeted everyone who came to the store during the presentation and also met other Mickey’s Kids supporters. Helen Costa and her daughters Christine and Catherine came along to meet Liberty and show their support.