Loyalsock Township Middle School students recently made a difference while also learning how to run a business.
Meranda Steele, family and consumer science teacher, said eighth-grade students get the opportunity each year to create a business that they are responsible for, including making and selling products.
Steel said students come up with labels and create different products throughout the year, such as peanut butter eggs around Easter.
Sarah Kabata, of Susquehanna Service Dogs, shows students how service dogs can do a variety of tasks for individuals.
Iohana Seserman, of Train a Dog, Save a Warrior, shows Loyalsock Township Middle School students how service dogs can help pick different objects up for those in wheel chairs.
"Then we sell it afterschool," Steel said.
After working all year, the students then had the chance to make an impact on other individuals' lives by donating the profits to a cause or organization. This past year, the group decided to donate the money to Susquehanna Service Dogs, a Harrisburg organization that trains dogs to partner with individuals with a variety of needs.
"It's a worthwhile cause that sometimes gets forgotten," Steel explained of why they chose the group.
When Steel called the organization up, she said they offered to come to the school in order to give a demonstration to the students.
Before the dogs took over the show, the group was handed a check for $131.
"This was our money from all year long," Steel said. "This is something that (the students) earned for the dogs and they should be proud of that."
Suzie du Pont, a foster trainer for the dogs, explained to the students that the dogs specialize in certain tasks. Some dogs help those with balance, while others can help returning soldiers who are diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"Some of the dogs, actually, if the person doesn't have an electric wheelchair ... (the dog) can pull them," du Pont said.
Along with medical tasks, such as helping those who suffer from seizures, dogs also help emotionally as they can go into court with children.
"They can go into the courtroom with the child and stay with them and give them confidence when an adult can't," du Pont explained to the students.
The trainers and dogs also performed some demonstrations, such as showing the students how the dogs can pick up objects for their partner. Dogs picked up objects that ranged in size from a water bottle to a penny.
Iohana Seserman, of Train a Dog, Save a Warrior, explained how a soldier with PTSD can be helped by a dog. She said the dogs are trained to either walk in front of the soldier - to make sure everything is all right before the soldier walks - or behind them - to protect the soldier from anything behind them.
Dogs also are trained to be able to find the soldier's car no matter where they parked in the parking lot, in case the soldier panics and needs to leave right away.
"There's a lot of people that need it and now there are dogs that are trained to help," Seserman said.
Steel added that she hopes the project will teach the students the importance of giving back.
"I hope that it instills a sense of philanthropy and volunteering," Steel said. "It means more to the kids if they're giving (the money to the organization)."