Community leaders, friends and softball players turned out Saturday, August 12th, in Memorial Park, Santa Monica, to play the staff and volunteers of K9 Connection in a fundraising softball game to benefit homeless shelter dogs and at-risk youths.

Spectators and players dined on free Mexican fare before hitting the diamond to support K9’s adoption outreach volunteering program and its three-week class for counselor-referred teens from participating local schools.

“Our volunteers take a short training class at the City of Santa Monica’s Animal Shelter,” said Glen Zipper, K9’s project operations manager, “and then walk the individual abandoned rescue dogs to public places and parks to find someone willing to give the pets a new home.”

K9’s school program utilizes the homeless animals to counsel, educate and inspire at-risk youths ages 12 to 16 to apply the lessons that they teach the dogs to their own lives and to work toward achievable goals.

“This softball fundraiser is a party to celebrate our dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers,” said Katherine Beattie, K9’s co-director, “as well as our newfound and longtime community supporters. It’s all about helping the kids and the dogs to a better life.”

K9 Connection is one of ten social welfare programs at OPCC (formerly Ocean Park Community Center).

Information, (310) 264-5424 or on the Web at www.k9connec