B.A.R.K: Building Leadership through K9s
We’re seeking to extend a successful on-campus dog therapy program to the Boys and Girls Club to help students in need of academic, social, and emotional support. Funds will help assess and equip new therapy dogs, buy materials for programs, and support an evaluation of a pilot project aimed at supporting well-being in children aged 7-12.
“B.A.R.K.” (Building Academic Retention through K9’s), UBC Okanagan’s dog therapy program that supports students experiencing stress, homesickness, and who are feeling disconnected from campus life, is seeking funding to work with the Kelowna Boys and Girls Club. Now in its 4th year at UBC, B.A.R.K. is looking to support vulnerable children through a new program called “B.A.R.K. Downtown: Building Leadership through K9s”. B.A.R.K. is in need of funding to allow a weekly program to be offered at the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club, Martin Avenue location that would see therapy dogs work with children needing academic and social and emotional support.
Challenges & the Impact of Your Support
Recent funding cuts have led to a reduction in our operating budget and though B.A.R.K. is almost entirely volunteer-run, funds are needed to assess new therapy dogs, purchase therapy vests and program materials, and to assess the impact therapy dogs have on the well-being of children attending community after-school programs. By giving your support, you will help enhance children’s academic and social confidence – key skills that build resiliency throughout the middle and high school years.
Established in 2012 by Dr. John-Tyler Binfet of the Faculty of Education, B.A.R.K. regularly sees over 25% of the student body on campus make use of B.A.R.K. programs including a weekly ‘Drop-In’ session (where students can spend time with therapy dogs to reduce their stress and homesickness) and the popular BARK2GO! program that places dogs in various locations across campus to increase access to the therapy dogs. B.A.R.K. has a strong rescue philosophy and 60% of the dogs in the B.A.R.K. program are rescues, many from the local group “Paws it Forward“. Findings from B.A.R.K. studies will soon appear in the top animal therapy journal Anthrozoos.