Teens interacting with a dog
Jun 4, 2021 - Buehler YMCA

Youth Safety and Violence Prevention (YSVP) teens care for rescue dogs alongside Safe Humane Chicago

At the South Side and Rauner Family YMCAs, teens in our Youth Safety and Violence Prevention (YSVP) program are strengthening their leadership and social-emotional skills by caring for, and bonding with, rescue dogs.

Through Safe Humane Chicago’s Lifetime Bonds program, YSVP youth participants have begun a 10-week cohort in which they’ll learn how to care for, socialize with, and train canine companions using science-backed, reward-based training techniques.

During the cohort’s first sessions, teens will work with Safe Humane-approved ambassador dogs alongside the animal advocacy nonprofit’s volunteers. As participants grow more confident in their animal care abilities, they’ll begin playing a more hands-on role in training Safe Humane Chicago’s shelter and Court Case dogs.

Throughout their experience in this collaborative program, YSVP youth will participate in uplifting activities with peers, adults, and, of course, their new canine friends.

“We’re excited to give our community’s youth a safe summer full of positive experiences alongside Safe Humane Chicago,” said Jaunita Pye, YSVP Senior Manager of Operations and Operations Director at the Kelly Hall YMCA. “From processing emotions to instilling a sense of calm, the therapeutic benefits of caring for animals can really help teens navigate what’s going on in their lives.”

To learn more about the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago’s trauma-informed approach to youth safety and violence prevention, visit our website.