Bruce Cripe, who has served on the Canine Support Teams’ Board of Directors for two years, has been appointed as the organization’s President/CEO. The position was recently made available when CST Founder Carol Roquemore stepped down from her twenty-three year leadership role due to health concerns.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to carry on the work that Carol has given her life to,” says Cripe. “Carol will remain as Founder, VP and Training Manager for CST, while I manage the overall performance of the programs and agency.” Founded in 1989, Canine Support Team’s mission is to provide specially trained assistance/service dogs to people with disabilities to support their personal, social, and occupational independence. Their vision is “to change the way the world thinks about disabilities, one dog at a time.” Currently CST has a waiting list of over 20 handicapped individuals waiting for service dogs.
Cripe plans on maintaining Carol Roquemore’s work while also expanding the capability of the programs. “My goals are to identify and develop grants, initiate profitable fundraisers, grow the volunteer base, and expand the agency with even more programs, while creating solid client and donor relationships,” says Cripe. Current CST Programs include:
Puppy Raiser Program: Volunteers raise puppies for eighteen months in basic obedience. They attend CST monthly training classes and then the dogs are turned over to raisers for advanced training.
Prison Pup Program: Ten years ago, California Institute for Women, Chino, became the first prison in California to initiate a service dog training program. The eighteen month old puppies are released from their puppy raisers to this program where inmates continue the service dog training. Currently there are twenty dogs at Chino and thirty inmates involved in this training.
Southwest Juvenile Hall Program, French Valley, CA: CST works with juveniles in this program where they learn basic discipline dog training and care while working as a team with other juvenile inmates. A new youth program will be initiated in April at the Van Horn Youth Center, Riverside.
PAWZ for Wounded Veterans Program: This program began with the current military conflicts, and is used to identify and assist wounded warriors who are suffering from physical disabilities as well as PTSD. CST works closely with the Veteran’s Center of Temecula and other veteran centers to identify persons in need of assistance dogs.
For more information, to volunteer, or donate to Canine Support Teams log onto www.caninesupportteams.org or call 951-301-3625