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To help underserved New York City Youth build greater empathy and self-esteem and reduce bullying through a hands-on program with therapy dogs.
A Fair Shake for Youth uses a hands-on program with therapy dogs to help underserved middle school youth build greater empathy and self-esteem and reduce bullying. A Fair Shake partners with public schools and community organizations to offer 10-week programs. Each week three therapy dog teams and a Fair Shake instructor work with a group of youth using a structured curriculum that combines hands-on work with the dogs and discussion of a dog-related topic. Topics include verbal and non-verbal communication, animal shelters, rescue and second chances and breed discrimination - topics that often resonate withthe youth's own life experience. The kids learn to give commands, teach tricks and try basic agility encouraging the dogs over a jump or through a tunnel. As they work with the dogs they practice positive reinforcement, experience the importance of both verbal and non-verbal communication and see the the power of relationships built on trust and respect.
The dogs, honest, non-judgmental and living in the moment make it safe for the kids to let their guard down and learn about the dogs, themselves and each other in ways that open up more possibiiites for their life.
- Audrey Hendler
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