ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A family movie opens soon in Missouri as part of 4-H’s partnership with Cyndi Willenbrock, author and producer of “Marshall the Miracle Dog” and founder of the Marshall Mentor program.

The movie features strong anti-bullying and animal rescue themes, said Amanda Meek, University of Missouri Extension 4-H youth specialist.

The movie, adapted from Willenbrock’s award-winning children’s book, is based on the true story of a Labrador retriever and the bullied boy who rescues him. “The movie carries Marshall’s messages about not giving up five minutes before the miracle,” Meek said.

The Marshall Mentor program, through a yearlong MU Extension 4-H after-school program, gives older 4-H youth opportunities to use leadership and public speaking skills, Meek said. Younger kids are exposed to positive role models through the program and learn how to deal with bullying.

There will be a pre-release screening of the movie March 7 at select theaters in Missouri. 4-H will receive 10 percent of the ticket sales on opening day and the Missouri 4-H Foundation Challenge will match that through its 4-H Youth Futures program.

Animal shelter groups also may offer mobile adoptions after the film at some of the theaters, Meek said. As part of the Marshall movement, animal shelter staff will work with schools to inspire drives for needed items for the shelters.

“4-H leaders in Missouri’s 114 counties are reaching out to schools to engage our core target audience (ages 8-12) to encourage them to ‘Commit to be Kind’ to each other and to our furry friends on that day,” Meek said.

Marshall the Miracle Dog and his team are available to make presentations to schools. For more information, contact Willenbrock at [email protected] or 314-306-5008.

“The Marshall Team will leave on a ‘kindness tour’ before the movie runs and hopes to leave Marshall’s paw prints on as many counties in Missouri as his precious little heart possibly can,” Meeks said.

A trailer for the movie can be seen at

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