Congratulations to the graduates of our summer session (humans and canines), and best of luck to our new enrollees! The pup pictured above is Abbey, Kinship Center's UnChained canine ambassador for the fall session.

Local non-profit UnChained pairs dogs in need of training and adoption with youth in need of self-esteem and empathy. Working with dogs who may share similar experiences of neglect, abandonment and abuse enables youth to develop compassion and respect for others while building confidence and self-worth. Kinship Center's partnership with UnChained has been a critical component of our continuum of services addressing the holistic and complex needs of youth who have experienced trauma.

Each eight-week curriculum lead by one of UnChained's Program Trainers matches six Kinship Center youth with homeless dogs in need of training and adoption. Over the course of the program, the youth engage in restorative healing for past trauma and develop confidence, patience and empathy. For many children and youth who have experienced neglect or abuse at the hands of adults, animal-assisted therapy can be highly effective in ways that traditional talk therapy with a therapist cannot. Building trust and relationships with the dogs, whose lived experiences of abandonment and abuse are highly relatable for Kinship Center youth, therapy participants can then come to trust others by extension and improve peer and family relationships.

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