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About Us

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 "When the rainbow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”-Genesis 9:16

Our Mission

To operate and maintain facilities for the purpose of teaching, training, educating, aiding and assisting individuals with any form of mental or physical disability, mental retardation, blindness, dearness, or any other disability for the purpose of attempting to habilitate, rehabilitate, or aid independence these individuals. To operate and maintain training and placement programs for canine assistance which will also accomplish the purpose and aims of assisting those persons with disabilities.


Our Story



In 1993, Sarah Holbert met with a selected group of volunteers who agreed to become the Board of Directors for CARES, Inc. The Board of Directors approved the mission statement and the articles of incorporation. The Concordia Optimist club made the initial donation to CARES. On April 1, 1994 CARES was incorporated as a not for profit organization in the state of Kansas.


In the years following 1994, CARES provided many different services for folks with disabilities in North Central Kansas and canine assistance throughout the United States. Jolene Carter served as the first Adult Services Director, Andy Conser worked on public relations and fundraising and Naomi Passman was the assistant service dog trainer. Sarah Holbert has been the CEO since the beginning and also a service dog trainer. With God’s guidance and the support of the Concordia community, CARES carried on through the ups and downs of government regulations, health care policies, financial struggles and the ever changing needs of all the many persons with disabilities. After many prayers and discussions with the board of directors, in 2011 CARES became a C corporation and started the CARES KS Foundation established to fund the canine assistance program. Since that time, CARES has focused solely on the training and placement of canine assistants.


The largest specialty service CARES has to offer is the provision of canine assistants to people across the United States. This aspect is what makes CARES so unique among other canine assistance schools. CARES is one of the only schools that acts as a center for independent living, which is the provision of services to the elderly and disabled. Another quality that makes CARES unique is that they are one of only a few of canine assistance schools that accepts applications for children and persons with multiple disabilities. CARES aspires to offer choices so that disabled persons will have the opportunity to strive for greater independence.

We have provided adult services to over 250 clients. Since CARES began in 1994, the state of Kansas privatized the services provided and established several different programs through which people can receive services. CARES coordinates services for people on the Home and Community Based Services Program. Within HCBS, a person's services are paid for by the Frail and Elderly Waiver, Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver, Senior Care Act or Income Eligible Program. These Medicaid programs are reimbursable programs through which CARES adult services are funded. In addition to people serviced through the Medicaid programs, CARES also has clients that are self-paying and utilize the same services available to those on Medicaid. We have coordinated the full-time employment equivalent of more than 50 people through our adult services program. Of these people, 75% are low-income single mothers.


Our staff provides well over one thousand hours of advocacy and consultation to people all over Kansas and the United States annually. CARES has networked with over 150 different agencies to provide information and services to people with disabilities. Sarah Holbert, CEO, is the County Coordinator for the National Organization of Disabilities.  We have had the blessing of placing more than 1,400 dogs across 41 of the 50 United States and 8 International Countries: Peru, Puerto Rico, Panama, Canada, Belgium and Latvia, England and Germany.

Meet Our Team

Sarah Holbert

Founder, CEO, and Board Member


Amanda Blackwood

Accounting and Board Member


Izzy Blackwood

Apprentice Trainer


Sydney Lewellyn

Apprentice Trainer

Our Reach

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