Hoping to add colour to the lives of families impacted by autism, graduates of Kwantlen Polytechnic University are putting on a fundraiser for Autism Support Dogs.
While the concept of public relations stu-dents organizing an event for a non-profit is not new, the choice for this cause is.
Stephanie Whalen, involved in hosting the Colour My Story fundraiser, said she and her colleagues were instantly wowed by the story of William S. Thornton, the founder of BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, a sister organization of Autism Support Dogs.
Thornton is also attending the event to familiarize the audience with the cause, which targets children with autism between the ages of four and 12.
Guide dogs allow parents to "feel more comfortable when going to the mall, for example," because many children affected by autism exhibit behaviours leading to social isolation.
In addition, furry friends can also stimu-late contact with peers. "Having a pet makes them more outgoing and creates a bond with other children at school," said Whalen.
At the fundraiser, a family who has been helped by the organization will share their personal experience.
"Autism Support Dogs provides dogs at no cost," Whalen said. "One dog costs $20,000 to bread, raise and train."
Thus, students aim to collect enough money to provide one family with a child affected by autism with a guiding pet.
"We're hoping to create more awareness for the cause," said Whalen.
The Colour My Story fundraiser takes place Feb. 27 at the Dockside Lounge in Granville Island from 6.30 to 9 p.m. The event will be hosted by Global BC's meteo-rologist Mark Madryga.