Grant helps create new employment pathways for young people at risk

Happy Paws Happy Hearts Large

Young Queenslanders living with physical or mental health injuries will soon have new pathways to paid or volunteer employment thanks to a grant of almost a half-a-million dollars announced today by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Brisbane-based charity Happy Paws Happy Hearts is set to receive the funding boost to allow them to establish an Employment Pathways program at Wacol, to service the Greater Brisbane and Ipswich community.

Happy Paws Happy Hearts CEO and co-founder Zoe Black said the new Employment Pathways program would be an extension to their current program, allowing them to achieve even better outcomes for the young people they work with.

“We currently work with people who, due to physical or mental health injuries, have become socially isolated. We re-engage them socially through our revolutionised animal therapy model that brings groups together to learn how to care for and train animals in rescue shelters and wildlife sanctuaries,” Ms Black said.

“The program helps them break down barriers and gives participants new skills, support and the confidence to create their own futures.”

Although the program has been a catalyst for change for many, the organisation hasn’t had the resources to transition young participants who had become job-ready into suitable paid or volunteer employment.

“Many of our young participants grow significantly in their time at Happy Paws Happy Hearts, and it’s fantastic that we will now be able to go that one step further to ensure they achieve longer-lasting outcomes through a structured employment pathway,” Ms Black said.

“The grant from Hand Heart Pocket will help us establish the new Employment Pathways program with a sustainable business model so that as an organisation, we can achieve deeper impact over the long-term.”

Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said the grant aligns well with their refined philanthropic focus to help improve outcomes for youth at risk and would give Happy Paws Happy Hearts a significant boost to assist young people to realise their full potential.

“Our refined focus was launched late last year and will see Hand Heart Pocket take a more proactive approach in facilitating better outcomes to meet the needs of contemporary families, by building the right partnerships with charities and other philanthropists who are aligned with our focus on youth at risk,” Mr Mark said.

“We are excited to be partnering with Happy Paws Happy Hearts who are dedicated to providing sustainable outcomes for at risk youth and giving them the opportunity to make proactive decisions about their future.”

To find out more about Happy Paws Happy Hearts please visit


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