Board Of Directors
Chair - Ashley Knight
I am thrilled to be a part of the Sweet Charity organization. With my role as Vice-principal of one of the Simcoe County District School Boards secondary school and my previous role as Math, Science, and Special Education teacher, I have had the opportunity to be involved with numerous service dogs over the past 7 years. Presently my school has 6 trained CAP canine teams – one of those teams is our schools Principal Hailey McLean and her dog Mabel. Working so closely with a CAP team has demonstrated the amazing benefits of our CAP teams. Mable presence and gentle nature adds a calming layer to our office space for everyone present, staff, students and parents. These benefits are felt throughout our school as students and the community get to know our CAP teams and look forward to sharing classes with them. Ultimately seeing the presence of these teams in our schools helps to build community and wellness throughout our school. As we strive to help support students physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually these CAP teams play a large part in helping our buildings achieve this goal. I feel fortunate that I get to be part of such an amazing program that benefits so many students in Simcoe County.
Director Of Operations - Laura Lee Millard-Smith
I have been very fortunate to grow up and live in Grey and Simcoe County. Growing up with a dog as part of the our family ensured we always were greeted when coming home from school with smiles (sometimes a drool or two) and a wagging tail. I have been working in high schools in Simcoe County District School Board for 25+ years and when I became aware of Sweet Charity and the Canine Ambassador Program I wanted to get involved! As a Principal of an Alternative School, I knew that students attending the school would welcome a CAP dog at the school. My dog Bella graduated from the CAP program in December 2019 and has visited all the Alternative Campuses of my school in SCDSB. She has played an important role in student wellness at the schools with her friendly demeanor and enthusiasm to see students. I am looking forward to supporting Sweet Charity as Director of Operations and ensuring our programming continues to support learners and families.
Director Of Finance - Savanna Hargreaves CPA, CMA
Savanna received her professional accounting designation in 2010 from the Certified Management Accountants of Ontario, which is now part of a unified accounting body – Chartered Professional Accountants. She currently works at Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) as a Financial Analyst taking on the lead role of providing expertise in regards to the boards capital spending and tangible capital assets. Savanna is passionate about health and wellness and making a positive difference in her community and network. Currently, she volunteers for the SCDSB Health & Wellness committee and has previously been a Health & Wellness Champion. She has had the pleasure of being an accounting tutor as well as helping to create and facilitate learning and development sessions for the financial and actuarial community within the Canadian Division of Manulife; all aligning with her values of improving the well-being of others. She is now committed to using her skills and experience in working with Sweet Charity Medical Assistance Dogs. Improving the lives of families with children with diabetes from both a lifesaving and mental health standpoint is something she feels very strongly about and looks forward to helping the charity grow and achieve its vision.
Social Media Liaison - Kelly Cox
Since childhood, I have been extremely fortunate to have dogs in my life as valuable members of my family. I first became aware of Sweet Charity as a Vice Principal in an elementary school in Simcoe County District School Board. At the time, we had a staff team that were willing and excited to learn of the Sweet Charity Canine Ambassador Program (CAP), and so my journey of welcoming dogs into our school system began. We trained four dogs that same year, and each of the dogs became extremely important members of our staff – beloved by staff, students and the school community. As the dogs came to school with their handlers daily, I immediately noticed the positive impact each CAP dog had on our students, parents and the school environment on a daily basis. I like to call this ‘Dog Magic’. Our CAP teams brought an immeasurable amount of love, joy, smiles, strength and compassion to our kids daily. Our school environment completely changed for the positive, and at that point I started to become more involved with Sweet Charity. Completely impressed with the CAP program, I joined the Board of Directors as the Social Media liaison in 2017. Our team is growing with each session that graduates a new team of CAP dogs. We are so fortunate to be on the cutting edge of mental health and wellness in Simcoe County, with Simcoe County District School Board supporting the CAP program and all our CAP teams. Simply stated: Canine Ambassadors just make sense in schools. This is just the beginning! Ours dogs have so much more to give, as the program continues to expand. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the programs we offer and be sure to visit our Sweet Charity Facebook page, or tag us @SweetCharityDog (twitter) and sweetcharitydog on Instagram, if you have photos or stories to share.
Past Chair - John Playford
What a wonderful opportunity it is to be part of the Sweet Charity organization. With my role as Principal of one of Simcoe County District School Board’s secondary schools and my previous role as Special Education Teacher, I have had the opportunity to be involved with service dogs within the schools. Presently my school has five CAP canines. With the growing need for students to feel safe in schools, my school has adopted a wellness approach that involves physical wellness, emotional wellness, spiritual wellness, and mental wellness. Our Wellness Dogs play a huge part in achieving that goal. I believe it is the role of education to ensure students are afforded the best opportunity for success, not only academically but also personally. The Wellness Dogs help students who are feeling anxious, with medical needs such as diabetes, and those coping with loss or other emotional trauma. Equally important is the positive effect they have on staff wellbeing.