Pawsitive Teams Inc

Together We're Better

San Diego, CA   |  www.pawsteams.org

Mission

The Mission of Pawsitive Teams is to enhance the lives of individuals with special needs who live in San Diego County by using the skills of highly-trained service and therapy dogs.

Notes from the nonprofit

As you can imagine, it is very important for us to keep our Assistance Dogs International accreditation and spent much time in 2020 supporting our re-accreditation project. We advocated nicely but strongly to be allowed to conduct our visit virtually, since we had technology and expertise to support it and do not have kenneling and other facilities that must have eyes laid on them. We were granted this request after many months and came through ion a big way, even receiving accolades for some of our practices. That said, with this effort and with the COVID pandemic, some of the projects we had on tap slid down our list. We continue to work to grow so that we can serve more members of our community and appreciate your review of what we have in place so far. Onward!

Ruling year info

1999

Executive Director

Eileen Dolores Heveron Ph.D.

Program Director

Ms. Margery Squier

Main address

7031 Carroll Rd

San Diego, CA 92121 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

33-0851474

NTEE code info

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

Human Service Organizations (P20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Pawsitive Teams, a small nonprofit, has identified the need to grow so we can vigorously continue our mission by serving more individuals with special needs in San Diego, CA. Our Growth Plan, called Reimagine, was successful in its first year (calendar 2021). Each year, the Board examines its Strategic Plan and updates it, so with this success in mind, looks to celebrate its 25th year (2022) anniversary by growing exponentially.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Service Dog Training

Pawsitive Teams trains and places Service Dogs as partners for persons with mobility-limiting disabilities, with the ultimate goal of giving these individuals greater independence. Our pups are raised and trained in the homes of volunteer trainers and receive training in real-life settings on a daily basis. Our dogs are never kenneled. Identifying the right dog with the right partner involves matching the skills and personality of the dog with the needs and lifestyle of the individual. Transitioning the dog to the disabled handler is a 5 to 6-month process involving customized one-on-one instruction led by the trainer of the individual Service Dog. Since its inception we have trained a total of 35 service dogs, of which 16 are still active and 19 are retired or deceased. It has also trained 11 facility dogs, of which 4 are working and 7 are retired or deceased.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Paws'itive Teams currently has 8 certified Facility Dog Teams. Facility Dogs receive the same basic training as Service Dogs but are better suited to placement with able-bodied professionals to accomplish specific therapeutic goals. Our current teams are working in the following settings: ► San Diego Unified School District - ""Sunny"", a golden retriever, goes to work with an Adaptive Physical Education Teacher who teaches children in the SD Unified School District who have physical and/or developmental disabilities. ► Grossmont Union High School District - ""Higgins"", a black labrador, goes to work with an Adaptive Physical Education Teacher who teaches children in the Grossmont Union High School District who have physical and/or developmental disabilities. ► San Diego County Court System - ""Dory"", a golden/lab cross goes to work with a police officer in the San Diego Police Department and is used as emotional support for children who have to appear in court.► Polinsky Children's Center - ""Otis"", a golden retriever, goes to work with a Play Therapist at the Polinsky Children's Center, where abused and neglected children are taken when it is not safe for them to stay with their caretakers. ► Balboa Naval Hospital - ""Leo"", a yellow labrador, goes to work with a Clinical Psychologist who works with service men and women suffering from PTSD, TBI, and other forms of trauma. ► Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center - ""Christa"", a yellow labrador, goes to work with a program administrator at the Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center in central San Diego and spends her day bringing happiness and increased well-being to disadvantaged seniors. ► Rincon Middle School Escondido - ""Gracie"", a yellow labrador, goes to work with a Special Education Teacher who works medically fragile children. ► O'Farrell Middle School San Diego - ""Sejera"", a golden retriever, goes to work with a Social Worker who works with children seeking assistance in the Family Support Division.

Population(s) Served

The Paws'itive Teams PAAT Program (Paws'itive Animal Assisted Therapy), currently has more than 50 certified teams working with professional therapists in the following programs: ► Abraxas High School (Poway) - PAAT Therapy Dog Teams work with transition students, ages 18-22, who have physical and/or developmental disabilities. Some of the students are working on verbal skills, trying to speak more clearly, while others work to develop greater range of motion. ► Clairemont High School (San Diego) - PAAT Therapy Dog Teams work with two distinct populations at this site: medically fragile students and students with communication challenges. ► Rincon Middle School (Escondido) - PAAT Therapy Dog Teams work with medically fragile students with a range of disabilities. ► Military Community Reintegration Program - Our PAAT Therapy Dog Teams work with outpatient active-duty injured service members (Marines, Navy, and Army) from the Balboa Navy Medical Center with the primary goal of giving these young men and women the support, encouragement, and confidence to enable them to reintegrate into civilian life. ► Victim/Witness Support Program - This program provides hand-picked PAAT certified handler and therapy dog teams to many courtrooms throughout San Diego County to give young children a sense of safety and calm as they face someone who may have perpetrated against them or someone they witnessed being harmed. ► At-Risk Teen Program: In this program PAAT Teams work one-on-one with troubled teens using certified therapy dogs to help reduce problem behaviors. This partnership is conducted with qualified therapists, social workers, public defenders and probation officers who work directly with troubled teens and refer participants to us. Our six-week program is conducted in two venues; the Paws'itive Teams Training Center in the Miramar area and at an alternative high school in the San Diego Unified School District.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Students
Teachers

Paws'itive Teams' Therapy Dog Prep School consists of 6-week classes that prepare owners and their dogs for involvement with animal-assisted therapy programs. This extremely popular program, which has graduated over 500 owner/dog teams since its inception in 1997, has generated many long-term supporters of Paws'itive Teams and has produced a number of handler/dog teams who have joined the Paws'itive Teams PAAT and Personal Paws Therapy Dog Programs.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Accreditations

Assistance Dogs International 2015

Assistance Dogs International 2021

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of service dog pups-in-training

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, People with physical disabilities, People with psychosocial disabilities

Related Program

Service Dog Training

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We are seeking to grow the number of pups in training to at least 10 annually by 2025

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our goals are to (1) ensure our near and long term financial viability; (2) improve our programs and services and develop new services as needed; and (3) continue development of our administrative plan so that we have efficient and financially sound operating practices.

Pawsitive Teams' volunteers serve communities in San Diego with special needs, whether it be through our Service, Facility, or Therapy Dog programs. During the Covid pandemic, which caused us to put our Therapy Dog Prep School on hiatus for almost a year and caused all of our therapy dog program partners to put our programs on hiatus, some for two years, we evaluated the process we needed to take to grow our programs and services so as to serve more individuals. Our strategic plan is revised annually and our strategies for growth are outlined therein.

Pawsitive Teams has an excellent and loyal donor community, including individuals, community service organizations, and foundations, all of which have been apprised of our growth plans and have rallied behind the organization. As an example: Two years ago, as COVID began and changed our lives, we needed to extend our goal of reaching a $500,000 endowment for long term viability by a year. But, during that first year of COVID, our donors rallied and we made the goal. We have now set our sights on reaching $750,000 over the next several years. We have increased our service dog training team and are well on our way to tripling the number of service dogs we train annually (from 3 to 10). And our Therapy Dog Program partners are opening their doors to us again so we believe we truly will meet our growth plan goals.

In Year 1 of our plan (2021), we met our endowment goal, increased the number of donors large and small who were new to us, worked on starting two new therapy dog programs, placed three pups and took 5 in the train. By the end of Year 2 (2022), we plan to complete the training and place 4 pups from 2021 and we have brought in 2 new pups, with sponsorships for another 2, and plans for adding two more by the end of the year (a total of 6). We will in Year 3 be able to have a total of 8 in training, with a total of 10 by the end of Year 4. Just by mid- January 2022, we have garnered 6 new donors. Our plans for our 25th Anniversary include at least 4 to 6 small "socials" where Board members will invite 10 friends to our center to learn about us and all that we do. And an anniversary party celebrating our 25 years of being volunteer-inspired and volunteer-led will conclude the year, with service dog graduations and volunteer awards.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    1. Adult San Diegans with mobility limitations (service dog program) 2. San Diegans of many age groups with special needs (both the facility dog and the therapy dog program)

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Suggestion box/email, personal converations,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Over the last two years we undertook an evaluation of our processes in order to make them easier for those partake of our services. As an example, we were able to obtain the SalesForce NonProfit Success Pack (free of charge) and have developed various of its modules so as to allow our forms, which were formally paper based, to be completed electronically and downloaded directly into SalesForce. There are very few things we do now outside of SalesForce, which allows us to work quicker and smarter and have information needed at our fingertips. Members of our community have remarked that it is easy to do business with us.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    It has improved our transparency and allows our programs' steering committees to operate with the resources and information they need to make decisions.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Pawsitive Teams Inc
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Pawsitive Teams Inc

Board of directors
as of 2/15/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Jean Gertmenian

Retired businesswoman

Term: 2020 - 2024

Arthur Brauner

Paws'itive Teams

Ruth Hayward

Retired

Susan DeRose

Retired businesswoman

Jean Gertmenian

Retired businesswoman

Eileen Heveron

Pawsitive Teams

Steve Stargardter

United States University

Scott Burrus

United States University

Jill Hammons

USS Midway

Cynthia Curiel

Retired businesswoman

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/30/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person with a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/15/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.