Mitzvot from the Heart: Allison Palmer

Allison Palmer

By Elise Krug, Editorial Assistant

Allison Palmer, Congregation B’nai Amoona

Allison’s love of children and animals led her to CHAMP Assistance Dogs for her bat mitzvah project. Daughter of Greg and the late Kathy Palmer of Chesterfield, Allison volunteered with this organization, educating children on how service and therapy dogs can help people in need. 

CHAMP is a nonprofit organization that helps increase the independence of children and adults by partnering them, free of charge, with selected and trained service dogs. It also promotes public education in schools and camps in the St. Louis area.

Allison volunteered during the after-school programs at Club HOPE, the Humane Society, and Girl Scouts as well as Matthews-Dickey and B’nai Ami summer camps. Working with Dianne Peters, CHAMP Director of Education, they presented programs that were unique for that audience and geared to the goals each venue wished to achieve. Programs included how to greet a dog safely, pet care and how dogs help people. 

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The children were shown how the dogs respond to command and how they performed tasks that helped their partners in everyday life. Through demonstrations, groups were shown how the dogs could open doors for their partners, bring them the telephone, and how the dogs could even help with sorting laundry.

“Allison was my go-to gal during the presentations,” said Peters.  “She dispensed hand-sanitizer to all who interacted with the dogs, passed out information, modeled the proper behavior to have around a dog, and encouraged the children who were uncomfortable to meet a dog.  Her decorum and warmth was a combination felt by the kiddos and adults alike,” she added. 

“I considered each opportunity to work with Allison a gift… she’s bright, thoughtful, and caring.”

On the morning of her bat mitzvah, Allison provided bimah baskets that were filled with dog toys, dog food, and supplies for CHAMP. She also donated $300 of her monetary gifts to the organization. Accordingly to Allison, a student at Parkway Central Middle School, “The project was a great opportunity to teach about a good cause, while I learned a lot at the same time.”