Tok met a very special group of kids and touched many hearts in the process
Back in September 2007, Golden Years got an email asking if we would be interested in doing a presentation for an after school program in Wyoming MI. Shirley (my rescue partner) forwarded it to me since that city was very close to me. I sent an email back letting Virginia know I would love to come and visit the kids. Details had to be worked out (insurance, availability, etc). Then there we no more emails. In November I tried emailing again and learned emails were not getting to or from Virginia. Good thing I checked or I would have missed out on a wonderful opportunity.
The program the kids were involved in was called TEAM21. All of the kids at Newhall Middle School are eligible to participate but it does target "at risk" kids to keep them interested in academics and fun activities too. The program is grant funded and made possible through a partnership between the City of Wyoming Parks & Recreation Dept and the Wyoming School District. It's sponsored by the MI Dept of Education and the US Dept of Education. The program provides academic assistance, recreational programming (like our presentation), transportation and both a snack and dinner during the program.
Our big day was January 16th and there was a great deal of excitement among the kids and the TEAM21 leaders about meeting Tok. Oh yes, the tie in? Newhall Middle School's mascot is the Husky. Tok and I shared the difference between Siberian Huskys, Alaskan Huskys and Alaskan Malamutes. I shared that Tok has the wrong coat for a Malamute and why, but I also shared all of the wonderful things he has done since moving in with us. My hope was that the kids would take to heart that even if you are "different" there is no reason you can't do wonderful things just like Tok. I also shared with the kids information about Golden Years Malamute Rescue and some of the dogs who come in so very scared, abused, starved, etc. and that most blossom into wonderful fun dogs given the love and attention from our rescue volunteers, and then finding wonderful new forever homes. I had a Q&A session after the formal presentation and the kids all asked great questions. I learned that one young man already knew Tok. He had been at Studio 28 when Tok & Makuyi were there for the opening of 8 Below. What a small world since there was an estimated 3,000 folks at the theater the night we were there!
The night went better than I could have dreamed and all of the kids were very polite and waited for their turns to hug on Tok. I wasn't aware of this until after the kids had left and the Team Leaders & I had time to visit. There was a little miracle worked by Tok and there were pictures showing it. The young girl was very reserved and quiet and didn't really interact with the other kids very much. A smile on her face was a rare thing. Tok worked his very special magic and a picture was taken showing her hugging Tok with a very big smile on her face. That made the evening for me and it brought tears to the eyes of folks that I shared this with.
Details were in the works to visit other kids in the TEAM21 program at other middle schools. I was blessed to have this gentle boy and it was a dream of mine to have him work with kids. The dream was realized.
Thank you Virginia, Teresa and all of the TEAM21 leaders for inviting Tok and I to meet these wonderful kids.
Tok loved all of the attention and he was a perfect gentleman around the kids who are a bit nervous around big dogs. Didn't take him long to make these kids at ease. We had such a wonderful evening and Tok & I hoped to visit these kids again (actually I already got an email from Virginia....the kids want to know when we are coming back..........I love it!! )