Danielle Ireland McGuckin

Danielle with PupDanielle Ireland McGuckin’s mom referred her to Women, Work, and Community. “I had several discussions with my mom about the dream that I had of starting a business or creating a nonprofit organization. I wasn’t sure how to even get started. She suggested I contact WWC because the organization had helped her so much.”

After meeting several times with WWC business counselor Erica Quin-Easter in Houlton, Danielle decided to take steps to start her own statewide nonprofit. She applied the knowledge she gained in business planning to meeting the different needs of a non-profit: building a board of directors, developing a strategic plan, and launching her volunteer-driven organization. Danielle says, “My life has changed dramatically since being involved with WWC. In November 2012, I founded the first animal-assisted therapy and activities organization in the state of Maine, Silent Sidekicks. Since then, our organization has been able to help thousands of people in communities from Fort Kent to Cape Elizabeth. We now have more than fifty volunteers who either alone or with an animal partner help us to fulfill our mission to enrich people’s lives and promote happiness through positive experiences with animals.”

Danielle gives back by serving as a WWC Ambassador in Aroostook County. “I feel it is important to share my story and to help others who have dreams and just need to know where to go to get started. WWC is a resource that is available to everyone who might need a map, compass, or just an encouraging soul on that path.”

As a second-generation WWC graduate, Danielle says, “We each have our own individual paths to success. It is important to remember that we all can achieve our dreams, no matter what they are. I was a person with only an idea, and now that dream is a reality.”