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Introducing HH’s Mascot!

Introducing HH’s Mascot!

You’ve probably seen how much genuine joy a mascot can bring. You may have memories of cheering for your mascot in team huddles while playing sports as a child. Even now, you may see mascots representing your favorite school or team on t-shirts and on the playing field. Mascots embody the values of a group of people, bring them together by giving them a common symbol to cheer on, and never fail to bring a spark of happiness and pride to the communities they represent. Thus, we’re so happy to introduce you to Helping Hand’s mascot: HERO THE HOUND!

Over the past year, a dedicated group of HH team members worked to create the best mascot possible.  “Designing a mascot is a lot more [effort] than it seems,” says Megan Kinnerk, a Speech Language Pathologist with Helping Hand’s clinic who was part of the mascot committee.  “We looked at different animals or symbols that we feel represent our agency, then we went into a design process. During this process we [looked] at small details to make sure this design truly encompasses our entire agency, our mission, and our vision.”

Hero the Hound was chosen as the mascot that best embodies Helping Hand. A hero possesses great and admirable talents and helps their community be all it can be, while a hound dog stands for courage, positivity, and guidance. Hero the Hound represents our students and clients, as well as their families and everyone connected to Helping Hand. They all have great skills, the courage to think outside the box, and the ability to optimistically guide each other towards achieving their fullest potential. Every great hero has a mission, and Hero the Hound’s mission is to ensure that all are equally valued. And, of course, Hero the Hound shares something else important with Helping Hand; they both have the initials HH!

Hero’s logo is also symbolic. The background of his shield looks like a horizon with a sun, representing our bright future, one in which everyone is treated with equal worth. Hero himself confidently looks ahead at this bright future. Hero’s shadow is dark orange to represent the history and tradition that surround us and guide us, while his collar is light orange to represent how we are an accumulation of our past while also being fresh and new. Finally, Hero’s fur is gray and white instead of just one color, representing how our students and clients are so much more than their disabilities.

Mascots are a great way to create a sense of connection, so we celebrated Hero’s debut with events that brought people together. The students at the school enjoyed Hero-themed events that were both therapeutic and fun. They used a sensory rice bin filled with Hero stickers, and they played “pin the collar on Hero.” The students also watched hound-themed movies, and, as movies can be overstimulating and too long for our students to sit through, they periodically took hound and hero-themed movement breaks. At the adult day program, Hero’s launch was announced during our yearly talent show. Here, our clients built independence and expressed their individuality by getting together to show off their singing, dancing, piano-playing, and hula-hooping skills, both solo and with their friends. Finally, you may have seen Hero at the La Grange Pet Parade earlier this month, where students, clients, and others connected with Helping Hand walked alongside a Hero-themed float that was awarded 6th place!

Hero’s presence will continue to build community at Helping Hand by allowing all connected with the organization to rally under one symbol.

“By having an agency mascot, we can connect our adults, our school, our clients, and Special Olympics team under one being who exemplifies our mission and vision,” says Megan. Hero’s presence will be transformative; he’ll remind everyone that, as Megan says, “We are not just Helping Hand – we are the Hounds and we are smart, brave, and kind.”

On Helping Hand, GO HOUNDS!

Author: Madison Stasch

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