A new component has been added to the latest session of the ALPHA program. This is the first time where previous graduates were allowed to return to the program as mentors. We have two young men who are taking on the role of peer leaders and are doing a marvelous job. They wrote letters stating what the program meant to them and why they thought they would make good mentors. Here is what they wrote:
"I would like to be a part of the Pawsitive Impact dog program again because it was an excellent program that taught me how to handle dogs, how to train them the right way, how to read body language, and take care of them properly...
I feel I will be a good mentor in this program because I think this is something I am good at. I like to help others. It will be very fun for me to help kids to learn how to train dogs and watch them [excel] and get their certificate. I also know that I will be a good mentor because I have patience and [am] a fast learner. I will be able to break things down [for] my pupils step by step."
"I would like to be a mentor in the program because I am good with the animals. I can [demonstrate] the skills that I've learned in my past from attending the program... I feel I would be good at mentoring because I can guide others in the right direction when working with the dogs."
"Thank you for spending your weeks with us and taking time out of your day to present your program. I would like to thank everyone for your time you gave to us in this facility. You really gave me a better look at not just dogs but animals in general. The program gave me the idea and opportunity to help the dogs that were presented to us. [You] also gave me the guidance to help dogs in my community that need my help. I've learned that animals are really no different from us human beings..."
"I thank you guys for taking your time to work with us and teach us how to train dogs. I'm glad I got to get the experience to train with dogs so when I get out I will have job skills."
In the last session, the boys presented what they had learned in the program to other boys in their housing unit, the chief of Sacramento probation, and a senator! The 5 week session ended with a graduation ceremony, and an agility obstacle course where the boys competed with their dogs to get the fastest time. At graduation, the boys surprised us with these beautifully written letters expressing their gratitude for our program and volunteers. This truly makes it worth all the hard work that goes into pulling off this program!
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