In 2019 we were thrilled to partner with local Sunshine Coast charity The Compass Institute, an organisation that provides support to people with intellectual and/or physical disabilities.
The holistic partnership included game day experiences and integration, a Confident Girls Foundation clinic, event activation opportunities, corporate networking and player & staff volunteering.
Lightning is pleased to announce that the partnership with Compass will continue in 2020.
One of the many highlights to date involves corporate partner North Coast Plumbing Bathroom Centres (NCP) who engaged with Compass at a Lightning event, leading to the business sponsoring a Compass Assistance Puppy, Mac.
Find out more about Mac's story below.
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It's all about who you know... at least that's what helped one golden retriever puppy, Mac, begin his journey to become a Compass Assistance Dog.
Sunshine Coast Lightning corporate partner NCP Bathrooms first heard about the Compass Assistance Dog program at a Club event this year.
After being introduced through Lightning, the family-run business became set on sponsoring a puppy, knowing it would go on to change the lives of a local family and support a child or young person who is on the autism spectrum.
"To help a local family, not just a child but the whole family, is really touching to us," NCP General Manager of Sales Tracy Wilkins said.
Mac, the now 11-week-old golden retriever puppy, is the namesake of Tracy's father who founded the family-run NCP.
Mac (the human) was known for being hardworking, dedicated and loyal – making it an apt name choice and a fitting tribute.
Compass Assistance Dogs receive specialised training across 12 – 18 months before being gifted at no cost to eligible children and young people with autism.
The dogs often make an immediate impact and Compass Assistance Dogs Training Manager Bev Brocklehurst has seen first-hand just how life-changing the animals can be for these families.
"We are very much focusing on raising Compass Assistance Dogs to help children with autism, we have found different results from different families," she said.
"We've had children who were non-verbal start speaking to their dogs and improved sleep patterns are a huge thing that we are noticing from literally the first night.
"We've had children who have never stayed in their own bed who could be seven or eight years old - suddenly staying in their own room."
To reduce the financial burden on families and to see as many assistance dogs graduate through the program as possible, Compass engage with local businesses to sponsor the animals.
Volunteer Jan Huth is in charge of raising young Mac, and while she knows giving him up at the end of the training stint will be hard, she understands it's all for an amazing cause.
"Every day I think that there's a family out there struggling and how tough they are doing it," Jan said.
"I know the heartbreak I am going to feel when I give him back is hopefully going to release theirs just a little bit and make their life so much better."
You too can sponsor a Compass Assistance Dog. Head to Compass Institute's website for more information.