Cabell Youell, a 1999 graduate of Washington and Lee’s School of Law, was practicing corporate law in Roanoke when she began volunteering with the Saint Francis of Assisi Service Dog Foundation, an organization that trains service dogs who help children and adults stricken with a broad range of disabilities (autism, cerebral palsy, joint and muscular diseases, etc.).
Cabell’s background with the Law School’s Alderson Legal Assistance Program, a clinic that provided a wide range of legal services to the inmates of the Federal Prison Camp at Alderson, W.Va., proved an invaluable in her volunteer work. She was asked to help St. Francis foundation set up its Prison Pup program, where inmates at a medium-security prison in Bland County help train the dogs.
One thing led to another and, in 2003, Cabell took over as executive director of the service dog foundation. Her success has been remarkable. Under her leadership, St. Francis (it’s a secular organization despite the name) became one of only 50 service dog organizations accredited by Assistance Dogs International, Inc. She also led a successful capital campaign that resulted in a new kennel.