Heroes in the Making: Reading Education Assistance Dogs
Web Editorial Assistant
The fans and members of the Timberwolves organization were treated with special honorees during Friday night’s home game. The FastBreak Foundation was proud to bring two special pups out in front of the crowd to represent the Reading Education Assistance program and it’s more than 400 volunteer teams in Minnesota.
“He hammed it up. He had to stand up and give me a big hug. He was very happy,” Ann Goplen said of her dog Midnight’s reaction to being honored.
Throughout the month of March, the FastBreak Foundation has been focusing its attention on education, fostering the love of reading and putting books in the hands of Minnesota children.
The program provides a relaxing, accepting and supportive learning environment. Each animal is highly trained and evaluated to offer safe and fun reading sessions for thousands of children each year.
“Reggie goes to school on Wednesdays and has a specific 2nd grade class. And the kids come out and they read to him. This is his 2nd year that he’s been doing this,” Mary Pheifer said of her dog, Reggie.
The children oftentimes bring their own books they like to read to the dogs. But, in Midnight’s case… he has a few favorites of his own.
“He has a lot of books on sheep and a lot of books on Border Collies,” Ann explained.
Timberwolves President Chris Wright presented Ann Goplen and her dog Midnight as well as Mary Pheifer and her dog Reggie.
“The children read out loud to the dogs and it really improves their reading skills and their confidence and their love of books and reading,” Ann said of the program.
In the past year, the Minnesota Timberwolves FastBreak Foundation and the Minnesota Lynx Foundation have combined to impact 2,028 organizations with $750,000 in-kind donations, 60,000 Tickets for Kids donations, 4,226 volunteer hours, 45 Heroes in the Making on-court presentations and fourteen $5,000 grants.