Unitown Workshop at HS

Start Date: 2022-03-13

Description: HOPE Teams asked to come out for this National Youth Leadership and developmental training program for 11th and 12th grade students. Weekend long workshop devoted to the discussions of intense, real life issues that teens today are facing. HOPE Teams were all spread out in the Media Center/Library along with 3 other Therapy Dogs. We were told the students would filter in slowly as they finished up their group sessions for the day and that some might be very emotionally drained and even tearful. The students were not told ahead of time that the dogs would all be there waiting to greet them, so there were many looks of surprise, joy and excitement when they walked into the room. After a very emotional and stressful afternoon, the students were all quite happy and grateful to see and visit with the dogs. By 5pm or so, all 80-plus students, faculty, and Mental Health Counselors were in the Library and visiting with all the dogs. We all passed out cards and heard many, many "thank-yous" over and over. Several of the students spend time just lying on the floor very close to and petting the dogs without saying much at all. They all seemed very happy to have such a wonderful surprise waiting for them. Before we left, Mr. Carreon asked for everyone's attention and gave us all a public Thank you and told the Students how wonderful the dogs were in sensing their emotions and comforting them. He was extremely grateful for the time we spend there with everyone. This was the first time Unitown Event had the Therapy Dogs there but by the success of it, we will probably be asked back again next year.

Agency: Independence High School, Glendale AZ
Teams: Tracy Stofflet (Evelyn), Beth Ells (Cinder), Julie Bereckis (Deke)