Kennek News

NH Speedway Children’s Charities and The Kennek Foundation Partner to Donate Trouble the Dog Stuffed Animals and Books to Manchester, NH Police

“Here I give Tim ‘Trouble” and a book signed by the founder of such an amazing initiative! Our children are most important in what we all do in life!”
Chief Willard, Manchester, NH Police

The Manchester, NH Police Department has a new partner in its effort to help local children going through difficult times (See WMUR-TV’s coverage of the donation). A recent donation of Trouble the Dog plush dogs and companion books to the Manchester Police Department was made possible by a collaboration between the New Hampshire Speedway Children’s Charities and The Kennek Foundation. Available to give to children at the moment a crisis hits, Trouble stuffed animals can provide invaluable comfort. “This generation of children has more stresses than ever before,” said Sheila Duncan, founder of The Kennek Foundation. “I believe they need they need a confident, I believe they need a buddy, and their own coping mechanism.”

According to Manchester Police Captain Nick Willard, “The impact of [NH Speedway Children’s Charities and The Kennek Foundation’s] generosity to provide us many stuffed animals named “Trouble” to give to kids is beyond description.”

Lynn G.E. Employees Good Neighbors Fund Enables Donation to First Responders 

Several members of the Lynn Police and Fire Departments gathered recently to take part in a generous donation for First Responders – made possible by the Lynn G.E. Employees Good Neighbor Fund. 

Janet Melanson, Secretary of the Lynn G.E. Employees Good Neighbor Fund, helped to arrange the donation of boxes filled with Trouble the Dog plush toys and children’s books through The Kennek Foundation.  The donation is designed to help first responders in the city to provide comfort to children in crisis. 

Sheila Duncan, Founder of The Kennek Foundation, helped to deliver the Trouble the Dog plush toys for police officers and firefighters to use as a resource in providing comfort to children in the event of an accident, fire or other emergency. 

Participating in the donation (see photo above) are, L to R:  Lt. Kevin Wilkins, Firefighter Ian Gauslin, Firefighter Pat O’Sullivan, Captain Joe Zukas, Firefighter Brian McManus, Firefighter Paul Tucker, Firefighter Bob Rotondo, Lt. Kevin Downey, Officer Taylor Kulakowski, Officer John Clem, Officer John Mackin, Officer Ray Therrien, Janet Melanson, Lynn G.E. Employees Good Neighbor Fund and Sheila Duncan.

Dorchester Police Department Receives Plush Toys to Help Children in Crisis, Thanks to Donation Made in Loving Memory of Sister Frances Donahue SND 

Participating in the donation, left to right are:  Sheila Duncan, Founder , The Kennek Foundation, Dorchester Police Community Service Officer Tahisha Skeen, Community Service Officer Tim Golden, Vietnamese Community Liaison Tram Tram, and Area C-11 Captain Timothy Connolly.

Sheila Duncan, co-creator of the children’s character, Trouble the Dog, delivered plush Trouble dogs and books to Dorchester Police Headquarters to help children in crisis. The donation was made possible, thanks to a generous gift from the family of Sister Frances Donahue to The Kennek Foundation to honor her life.

The donation is a fitting tribute to Sister Frances, of the Sisters of Notre Dame, who spent most of her life dedicated to the service and well-being of others. Sister Frances received a master’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis on population studies from the University of Pittsburgh, where she was also awarded a Ph.D. in public health research and evaluation. She taught biology and chemistry at St. Mary’s High School in Lawrence and biology and microbiology at Emmanuel College. In 2000, Sister Frances joined the staff of St. Mark’s Parish in Dorchester, where she continued her commitment to social justice. She worked closely with the Dorchester community alongside Father Dan Finn, now Executive Director and Pastor of the Irish Pastoral Centre.

“Sister Frances was passionate about social justice and helping people – especially children,” said Sheila Duncan, Founder of The Kennek Foundation. “We are honored to be involved in this donation to the Dorchester Police Department as a fitting tribute to the life of Sister Frances and as a reflection of our longstanding commitment to help First Responders, supporting the wonderful work that these officers give to the community to help families every day – just as Sister Frances did.”

Through this generous donation, The Kennek Foundation delivered several boxes of Trouble the Dog plush toys and books for police officers to have on hand in their cruisers as a resource in providing comfort to children facing difficult situations.

“We are grateful for this donation and will be certain to use the plush toys as a source of comfort to children in the event of an accident or other emergency situation,” said Captain Timothy Connolly, District C-1, Dorchester Police. “Working together, we can all help to bring about positive change in our communities by supporting those in need. This program to help children and families in crisis is an excellent start toward that common goal.”

The Notre Dame Health Care Pedi Pals Team Donation in Memory of Sister Frances Donahue, SND

The Notre Dame Health Care Pedi Pals team, Sr. Virginia Sheehan SND, and Spirit the NDHC dog.


Fact: Notre Dame Health Care Pedi Pals Team: Entering our sixth year of helping children with life limiting illnesses get the most out of life.

Funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

An extension of the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and Notre Dame Health Care to provide care for the most vulnerable in our community.

Trouble will help these kids endure painful symptoms and treatments, have difficult conversations, and feel less alone.

Charity Work at Its Finest
Trouble The Dog healing puppies and books have been delivered to Catholic Charities North. Catholic Charities North serves 900 to 1,000 children and families and provides more than 15,000 hours of clinical work in a fiscal year. Trouble will be a great source of comfort for these children facing the perils of poverty and homelessness.

Shriner’s Donation 

Shriner's Hospital

L to R: Craig Walsh, Shriners Hospital, Sheila Duncan, Founder, The Kennek Foundation, Melanie Fleming, Public Relations, The Kennek Foundation, Taylor Pennelli, Manager of Therapeutic Services, Shriners Hospital and Jack Bigelow, Shriners Hospital for Children.

Shriners Hospital for Children – Boston recently received a wonderful donation from The Kennek Foundation, thanks to Mason Gary Freedman, owner of Marblehead Opticians. The donation enabled Sheila Duncan, Founder of The Kennek Foundation, to deliver thirty Trouble The Dog plush healing pups and beautifully illustrated children’s books to children receiving care at the hospital. Shriners provides advanced care for children with orthopedic conditions, burns, cleft lips and palates, and spinal cord injuries. The Kennek Foundation was formed to bring hope and inspiration to those going through tough times. Ms. Duncan created the loveable character, Trouble The Dog to help carry out this mission. Trouble comforts children and has been applauded by CNN as a “socially conscious toy,” MSNBC as a “comfort toy” and noted as a “therapy dog” by the Boston Herald.

Sheila Duncan and Trouble

Sheila’s photo courtesy of Josh Reynolds, Boston Globe

Sheila Duncan expands Trouble the Dog’s reach with foundation (Boston Globe, March 22, 2015)

Marblehead resident establishes foundation to help children in need (Marblehead Reporter, March 26, 2015)