Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club Goes to the Dogs

Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club (LWRWC) held their monthly meeting in April, welcoming the Southeastern Guide Dogs (SEGD).

Trish Newman, program chair introduced the featured presentation and guest speaker, Nancy Cottrell, a tour guide on campus and a puppy educator and socializer. She was joined by her dog Gunner. Ms. Cottrell outlined the mission of SEGD, their training programs, and the career paths for their dogs. Two other ambassador guide dogs were in attendance, a golden lab named Levi and a golden retriever named Ben.

SEGD was founded in 1982 in Palmetto, Florida and is internationally accredited and one of the most respected guide dog schools in the United States. They employ the latest in canine development and behavior research to create and nurture partnerships between visually impaired individuals and extraordinary dogs. Guide dogs also serve as service dogs for our Vets with PTSD and as Facility Therapy Dogs at VA hospitals, Military Facilities, and other hospitals.

Canine Connection Dogs can be placed with special needs children 10-17 years old who are taught to care for the dogs. Ambassador dogs are placed with active volunteers, enabling outreach and education to further the Southeastern Guide Dog mission. Public Service Dogs serve with Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, Sheriff Departments, and school systems.

SEGD is a 501(c)(3) organization that serves more than 450 graduates across the US and continues to place more than 100 dogs each year. These dogs provide confidence, independence, and freedom. SEGD receives no government funding yet provides all their dogs and services, including 21 days of training on how to interact with the guide dogs at no cost to the recipient.”

Karen Conkel, a SEGD volunteer, spoke about her experience as a puppy raiser since 2014. She is mom to Levi, who was sponsored by and named after Vietnam Marine Penrose Levi Keller who passed away just before Levi was born. Levi carries on his legacy.

Ms. Cottrell concluded the program by sharing several volunteer opportunities available with SEGD, including puppy raiser or host breeder. Interested members should visit their website, www.guidedogs.org

Members had an opportunity to interact with the dogs at the end of the presentation.–

LWRWC Awards Community Service Scholarship

The Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club (LWRWC) met at the Country Club in LWR on Tuesday April 11, 2017 to present the 2nd annual LWRWC Community Service Scholarship to Victoria (Tori) Boudreau.

In addition to the winner of the annual award, the club presented two “runner-up” awards to deserving students, Molly Mendoza and Ashton Adams. The runner-ups each received $250.

Seated L-R, Monika Templeman, Molly Mendoza, Victoria Boudreau, Eilleen Buzzard

The $1,000 merit-based scholarship is awarded to a female Lakewood Ranch High School senior who will pursue a degree in higher education and resides within a Lakewood Ranch Community. Recipients must be well-rounded and demonstrate commitment to community service, especially in a leadership role.
Philanthropy Chair, Eileen Buzzard, awarded the $1,000 scholarship to Victoria (Tori) Boudreau, a senior at Lakewood Ranch High School. Tori, along with her parents and grandparents were present to accept the award.

Victoria (Tori) Boudreau

“The LWRWC Philanthropy Committee members were extremely impressed with Ms. Boudreau’s community service work at Pinnacle Academy as well as her exemplary character and outstanding achievements,” stated Ms. Buzzard.

With a GPA 4.54 and 394 hours of community service, Tori’s academic awards include AP Scholar Award and National Science Merit Award. In addition, she is President of the Student Government, Lakewood Live News Editor and Morning News Anchor, as well as participating in Lakewood Leaders and various advisory board positions. She also is varsity sports reporter for Brighthouse Sports Network, the Travel Soccer & Dance Team Captain, Quill & Scroll(officer,) Buddy Program, and Blood drive committee.

Her additional Community Service includes activities with Braden River Soccer Club, Windsor Senior Living, the YMCA and Tops Soccer.
Ms. Boudreau has accepted an offer of admission to Florida State University in the fall and plans to major in Criminology and Law with a minor in communications.

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