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Westport Preschool Raises Funds for K-9 Unit

WESTPORT, Conn. – Children at the Conservative Synagogue Preschool in Westport have raised $300, and counting, to help the Westport Police K-9 Unit pay for a new police service dog, the preschool announced Monday.

Earlier this year, police dog Lola retired after 10 years of service with the department. Because the K-9 Unit is funded entirely through donations, the department is seeking contributions to help purchase Lola’s successor.

At the beginning of the school year, children at the Conservative Synagogue Preschool collect “tzedakah,” or charity, and decide how to use the funds.

“In Judaism, we have a religious obligation to perform tzedakah — to do what is right and just,” Preschool Director Jamie Klein-Zoref said in a statement.  “We teach our children important values so they understand how to lead meaningful lives within their community.”

The children will continue to raise funds for the K-9 Unit through the end of the school year. As a way to thank the children for their charity project, K-9 Officer Ryan Paulsson and his dog, Ellie , a bloodhound, and former K-9 Officer Marc Heinmiller and Lola, an all-black German shepherd, visited the preschool Thursday.

The preschool is now accepting enrollment applications for the 2012-13 year. Programs are available for children ages 18 months through 5 years. Enrichment classes include yoga, cooking and music.  For more information about the school or to schedule a tour, contact Klein-Zoref at (203) 454-4673, Ext. 183, or at .  The Conservative Synagogue Preschool is open to children and families of all religious affiliations.

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