We’re excited to announce that A Fair Shake For Youth, a nonprofit group that offers underserved middle schoolers the opportunity to work with therapy and rescue dogs, is expanding its educational program thanks to a $10,000 grant from the ASPCA. The program helps children learn respect for animals, empathy and self-esteem by forming relationships with dogs and practicing positive reinforcement training.
Program participants interact and build relationships with various therapy and rescue dogs on a weekly basis. As the program progresses, the children learn compassion and appreciation for animals while forming the social and emotional skills necessary for building relationships with animals and humans alike. Each week, the children learn to train the dogs with positive reinforcement, starting with basic commands and building up to agility games. The children also learn about animal welfare issues, such as animal homelessness, and tour the ASPCA Adoption Center.
“The connection between some forms of animal cruelty, domestic violence, and child abuse is clear,” says Stacy Wolf, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group. “Learning to care for animals and treat them with respect reduces the likelihood of cruelty and neglect and also sets the framework for positive relationships with people and the community.”
The ASPCA has donated a total of $30,000 to A Fair Shake for Youth since 2013, helping the program reach over 700 children in 26 public schools throughout the New York City area. The organization has also supplied therapy dog programs for children at domestic violence shelters.
We can’t wait hear about the children and animals who will benefit as a result of this exciting program expansion.