For over a year, Purdue student Nira Grynheim has dedicated a significant portion of her free time giving back to the disability community. What Nira didn’t initially realize was that she’d get something back in return for giving as well. Nira volunteers with the Indiana Canine Assistant Network (ICAN for short) in Indianapolis. The organization operates with two unique missions that go hand in hand. ICAN trains service dogs for children and adults living with physical or developmental disabilities. The organization also provides job skills and a sense of purpose for inmates in prison. Through ICAN’s program, inmates become primary trainers for service dogs.
In her time with ICAN, Nira has served as a furlough volunteer. Nira takes dogs trained by inmates from the prison and takes them for trips outside of the prison to give them real world experience and enforce what the dogs have been taught. Nira keeps a dog for 3 weeks at minimum and logs their setbacks and progress. Nira thoroughly enjoys her volunteer work and has valued being able to make lasting connections and memories through ICAN. There is one moment in particular that has left a lasting impression on Nira.
ICAN holds a service dog graduation ceremony at the prison, where inmates are able to deliver the service dogs to their new owners. It’s an exciting event for both inmates and new dog owners. In reflecting on the graduation, Nira was able to realize the true power of education. The inmates learn new skills that earned them jobs after release. The service dogs learn skills that allow them to change lives and ICAN’s clients learn how to interact with their service dog to navigate the world with confidence. Furthermore, being able to interact with inmates and view them as people rather than the stereotypical image of a criminal helped Nira learn to avoid stereotyping so that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
Nira plans to take the lessons she learned on the importance of education and respect and apply them to her time at Purdue. She is currently working on turning her love of dogs and other animals into a career path with a degree in animal sciences. Nira was awarded a $2,500 scholarship for her local community volunteer efforts. ICAN was also awarded $500 their excellent work with the Indianapolis disability community.
The Give Back Scholarship is an annual scholarship offered to students nationwide who are actively engaged in community work. The scholarship is unique in that both the student applicant and the non-profit they volunteer for are rewarded. To be eligible for the $2,500 represents one of the many ways the firm enjoys ‘giving back’ to the community.”
scholarship, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and submit an essay reflecting on their volunteer experience. The scholarship is important to the attorneys at Doehrman Buba and it represents one of the many ways the firm enjoys ‘giving back’ to the community.