CBR YouthConnect's animal-assisted therapy program provides an opportunity for youth to gain compassion, gentleness and respect for animals, other people and themselves.
In-School programs- CBRYC Metro Denver also provides animal assisted services to school districts upon request. In 2011, we served 30+ students in the special education program in Cherry Creek School District. The students served by our program included a group for young men on the Autism spectrum, a group for young women who had recently experienced the loss of a family member or peer, a group for students with behavioral disorders, and individual work with students in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program. Our therapy dog, Samantha, became such a part of the school community that, in addition to her therapeutic work, she (along with her handler) also attended the special education (ILC) program’s winter and spring concerts, graduation, several unified team basketball games, and chaperoned the prom.
Summer Program (P.A.W.S)- For the first time in 2011, CBRYC was able to launch a summer Humane Education program for select youth service agencies. P.A.W.S. (People and Animals Working in Solidarity) focuses on letting youth experience animals in the community and the natural world. Participants attend a weekly field trip to community animal organizations where they are allowed to interact appropriately with the animals there. Youth are then asked to reflect on themes of empathy, prejudice, tolerance, respect, and responsibility as they relate to each week’s programming. The series concludes with a camping trip where we are able to assist participants in seeing how the themes we’ve discussed throughout the program can be applied to their relationship with the natural world.
Addition to Standard Treatment- Our Animal Assisted Social Worker (AASW) is available as a referral to clients engaged in other treatment (residential or outpatient) programs. In 2011, our AASW and her service dog worked with a young man at Tennyson Center for Families in Northwest Denver, as an addition to the treatment he was already receiving in order to help him to best prepare for a new placement in a home with dogs and young children.