Dogs helping kids build empathy and self-esteem and reduce bullying
A Fair Shake for Youth helps New York City middle school students build social and emotional skills through a structured hands-on therapy dog program. Following a 10-week curriculum, kids learn dog-handling skills and discuss dog-related topics that often resonate with their own life experience – animal shelters, second chances and breed discrimination.
As kids work with the dogs they learn about themselves and each other. They build the skills and behaviors critical to academic learning and to navigating life’s challenges and opportunities. Getting a dog to sit or run through a tunnel helps a child realize that they have a voice, are worth listening to, and can impact another being. A dog who is glad to see a child week after week shows the child that they are in fact lovable.
Honest, non-judgmental, and ready to love and be loved, dogs make it safe for kids to open up and to realize their own best self.
Photo: The Dogist
Tuesday morning at MS 390 in the South Bronx. Twelve students and 3 therapy dog teams are excited -- it's agility day. The kids will encourage each dog through the tunnel and over the jump.
The dogs and kids are now good friends -- they know and trust each other. Jason can tell if Oliver feels like working, or would prefer belly scratches. Kaylie knows she will need a few treats to help Flippy be brave. And Jaylen sees that Splash is already bursting with enthusiasm.
" A Fair Shake addresses that elusive art of educating 'the whole child' that for some children is the essential missing part."
- Ms. Padilla, Teacher, IS 52