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Serving Kern County Children and Veterans


Justin's Service Dog

Westchester Kiwanis helped a Bakersfield teen get a service dog that could save his life.  When Justin Maness was 11 years old, he found out that he was a Type-1 diabetic.  While Justin works hard to manage his diabetes, he often cannot feel when his blood sugar is low or high, which can lead to dangerous and even life-threatening situations.

But Diabetic Alert Dogs of America in Las Vegas specially train service dogs to catch blood sugar fluctuations faster than any medical device.  Unfortunately, insurance does not provide coverage for a Diabetic Alert Service Dog.  So, Justin and his family needed to raise thousands of dollars to send his female Labrador Retriever, named Journey, to Las Vegas for training.

In December 2021, Westchester Kiwanis of Bakersfield provided Justin and his family with $2,500 needed for the deposit to begin training Journey.  And on July 15, 2022, the club presented Justin and his family with an additional $12,000 donation for Journey’s training.  To top things off, Justin was reunited with Journey after she spent several months in Las Vegas to get the training she needed to be a Diabetic Alert Service Dog.

Westchester Kiwanis is honored to have had the opportunity to have a small part in helping give Justin the independence he needed to feel like a "normal" teenage boy, and to be able to give his parents the much-needed peace of mind they had longed for since Justin was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes in 2018.  Our community answered our call for help to raise the funds needed to get Journey the specialized training she needed at Diabetic Alert Dogs of America in Las Vegas.  Thank you to our unwavering members and supporters who continue to help us provide for so many wonderful causes and projects to meet the needs in our beloved community year after year!

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