Community - February 9, 2011

Menlo Park Rotary announces grants

A program for training service dogs for veterans and a system for providing academic skills to foster children have received grants from the Rotary Club of Menlo Park.

Two grants of $5,000 each will go to Paws for Purple Hearts and CASA, the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children of San Mateo County.

"We are extremely pleased to support these two projects, which were selected after considerable due diligence by our members," says Eric Hartwig, Rotary Club president.

Paws for Purple Hearts began two years ago at the trauma recovery program at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Menlo Park. It provides service dogs to veterans with mobility impairments and also creates a learning opportunity for veterans to address post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms by training a service dog.

The Rotary grant to CASA will target its Academic Success project, which focuses on helping foster children counter the long odds against them in the education system.

Between one-fourth to one-half of foster children are placed in special education programs, compared to about 10 percent of the general population, according to the Rotary. About one-third of foster children have five or more mid-year school changes, which typically costs a child four to six months of progress, according to the Rotary report.

The CASA program covers many of the same communities served by the Rotary Club of Menlo Park: Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Atherton, and Redwood City.


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