People & Places: Pets Helping People needs your help Oct. 18
BY DANNA SUE WALKER World Staff Writer
Sunday, October 07, 2012
10/07/12 at 4:53 AM
Here comes one that is a slight variation on the theme. Pets Helping People will hold its second-annual Paws for a Cause event beginning at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at the City of Glenpool Conference Center.
Pets Helping People is a nonprofit organization that works to help women in prison find a new career after they are released. Established in 2009, the organization is a perfect solution to a sustainable livelihood with a "hand up and not a handout."
The evening includes a short program with Laura J. Pitman, the deputy director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, in addition to graduates' testimonies, dinner, a pet photo contest and a chance to bid on great auction items.
Committee members are Susie Brown, Donna Dundee, Riki Funderburk, Meredith Jump, Katheryn Pennington and Cindy Peterson. All donations are tax-deductible and Pets Helping People does not receive any public funding.
Christy VanCleave, who helped start Pets Helping People, is an accomplished pet groomer, a grooming consultant with Espree and has competed in national pet-grooming competitions.
VanCleave knows firsthand the problems of women who get out of prison and often return because they have no way to support themselves and their families. She was incarcerated herself in California. She decided to use her talents and expertise to help other inmates succeed in a new career and to be independent. She and another inmate, Adrianna Ralph, joined forces because of their concern and desire to address the reintegration of women back into society.
In Oklahoma, the need for trained and experienced pet groomers is high and the supply pool is low. This has enabled 100 percent of the Pets Helping People graduates seeking placement and become successfully employed. Pets Helping People receives inquiries from pet grooming businesses that are searching for prospective employees in Oklahoma.
Pets Helping People owns and operates the Muddy Paws pet grooming business at 2234 E. 56th Place, which houses the training facility.
"I was taking my dogs to Muddy Paws for sometime before I realized what was going on in the grooming room. My pets looked great and were always happy when away from our family at Muddy Paws. I started asking questions and caught VanCleave's vision. I really bought into the concept of helping the trainees and wanted to take an active role," said Joe Worley, the Pets Helping People board president and the Tulsa World's executive editor.
Pets Helping People trains female inmates from the Turley Correctional Center, Drug Court and Women in Recovery program to be Kennel Techs earning $8 to $10 an hour, bather/brushers earning $8 to $18 an hour and dog groomers earning $9 to $25 an hour. Each class rotation is 40 hours a week for four months at a cost of $7,000. Training is provided at no charge to the trainees.
Oklahoma ranks among the top five states in the U.S. with the highest female incarceration rates. The 2011 fiscal year annual report for the Department of Corrections showed Oklahoma being No. 1 nationally at a rate of 130 per 100,000 women. The national average rate is 67. That number grows as tougher sentencing laws are passed. In addition, Pets Helping People students train on rescue and shelter dogs, thus increasing the chances for these pets to be successfully adopted in a loving home.
Tickets are $75 and tables are available from $600 to $5,000. For more information, contact Katheryn Pennington at 918-695-6949 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Original Print Headline: Pets Helping People needs your help Oct. 18
Katheryn Pennington (left), Lea Ann Eastteam and Christy VanCleave with dog Katie are preparing for the Pets Helping People second-annual Paws for a Cause event on Oct. 18. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World