A Fair Shake For Youth is raising funds through BarkGive, BarkBox’s new all-dog fundraising platform! Find out more at BarkGive.com.
When I was younger I never wanted to stick out from the crowd. I did my best to blend in and act just like the other kids at school. Once I got a bit older, I came to realize that the differences between people isn’t something negative, but what makes the world such an interesting place. I mean living in a world where everyone is the same would be like living in a world filled only with Goldendoodles. While they’re adorable, I like my wide variety of pups. 😉
One group is setting out to teach students this same idea of acceptance. A Fair Shake For Youth is a New York City-based organization using dogs to build empathy and self-esteem in students.
Students are given the opportunity to work with therapy dogs each week. Through structured activities, they are able to build relationships with the dogs based on honesty, positive communication, mutual respect and trust.
The 10-week long program includes hands-on-exercises with the dogs and education on dog-related topics including: shelter and rescue, second chances, the impact of natural disasters, and breed discrimination. Each are taught through demonstrations, videos, guest speakers and/or field trips.
After spending time with the dogs, students learn to appreciate each dog’s differences and relate that same idea back to the people they encounter. The program encourages students to work towards building respectful relationships, and to advocate for others. In doing so, students begin to feel valuable, lovable, and empowered. In the end these attributes contribute to a decrease in bullying to create safer school environments.
The best part of the program is that they make it easy for students to participate by offering flexibility with after school, weekend, and even summer camp options.