Paws & Pals for Kids with Autism
The Help Group is pleased to offer Paws & Pals, a volunteer-supported pet therapy program for children with autism spectrum disorders and other special needs. With a belief in the positive impact of animals on child development, including the tremendous therapeutic benefits of social interaction and expressive communication, The Help Group launched Paws & Pals to bring an enhanced educational and social skills curriculum to more than 1,000 children, ages 3 to 22, served by its autism day school and programs.
Experience the Rewards of Volunteering
Join our growing team of Pet Therapy Volunteers. These are individuals with dogs registered through Therapy Dogs Inc. If you would like to work with special needs children, we offer the opportunity to participate in a variety of school settings at The Help Group’s Sherman Oaks and Culver City campuses.
What our volunteers are saying:
"This summer I had the privilege to volunteer at The Help Group with my therapy dog Clyde. It was such a rewarding experience getting to spend time with the amazing kids and staff during their summer school and camp program. I was impressed by the campus and the dedicated faculty and staff, but most of all it was the students. What an exceptional group of kids and I remember thinking how wonderful it is that they get to learn and grow in this special place. The kids were bright, happy and enthusiastic and greeted Clyde and I with warm smiles and happy hearts. The exchange Clyde and I shared with them was something that I will cherish always and has touched me deeply. Thank you for making me and Clyde feel so welcome. The Help group is an amazing place to volunteer." - Vicky
"It is so rewarding to see the joy in the children's' faces when they interact with the therapy dogs. I just love to see their BIG smiles." - Ginny
*Experience volunteering as a handler/dog team in a setting with children.
*Desire to volunteer with special needs children.
*Dogs should be comfortable in a group/classroom setting and have a mild temperament and calming effect.
*Commitment to visiting on a regular basis.
*Must be certified with Therapy Dogs Inc. To register, go to www.therapydogs.com
"The therapy dogs in our classrooms are gentle, calm and non-reactive pets that feel comfortable around groups of children. Pet therapy is a great intervention that can encourage communication and can lead to decreased anxiety and increased motivation in children with special needs. Our goal at The Help Group's Autism Schools is to integrate pet therapy teams into classrooms in a meaningful way and bring the benefits of pet therapy to our students."
- Pamela Clark, Director of The Help Group Autism Schools
About The Help Group
Founded in 1975, The Help Group is dedicated to helping young people with autism and other special needs fully realize their potential. It is the largest, most comprehensive nonprofit of its kind in the United States and is recognized as a leader in the field of autism. The Help Group offers a wide range of innovative autism spectrum disorder programs and each day, more than 1000 students ages 3 to 22 attend its autism day schools. Other programs include assessment, early identification and intervention, multi-disciplinary therapies, life skills training for transitioning youth, residential programs, parent support groups, day camps, after school enrichment and social skills programs.
TO LEARN MORE please visit: www.thehelpgroup.org
Good Match For
Requirements & Commitment
- Driver's License Needed
- Background Check
- Orientation or Training
- 2 hours; 1x/week
- Must be certified with Therapy Dogs Inc.