About our organization

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Our organization was originally founded in 2009 under the name Not Just Animals.  The original mission of Not Just Animals was to change the way people thought about human-animal relationships.  The organization continues to build upon the foundation set with Not Just Animals under its new name, Pawsitive Impact.  Pawsitive Impact continues to focus on the human-animal relationship by providing animal therapy as an intervention for at-risk youth.  Research shows that the  bond between dogs and humans is very powerful and a lot can be learned from one another.

The organization first launched the Reading Ambassador Dog (RAD) Program in 2009. The RAD program involves children reading aloud to trained, service dogs.  Students who struggle with reading often suffer from embarrassment, anxiety, and self esteem issues.  The purpose of the program is to assist struggling readers with their confidence and reading abilities through the comfort of reading with a therapy pet. The RAD program has been successful and has improved students reading skills by 12% – 30% in as little as ten weeks.

Pawsitive Impact is now rolling out its latest program, Adolescent Learning Powered by Humane Advocacy (ALPHA).  ALPHA's purpose is to help at-risk teens develop skills to become resilient, empathetic, compassionate, and responsible members of the community by training hard-to-adopt shelter dogs to become more adoptable.  Throughout our therapeutic program, at-risk youth and shelter dogs connect and together learn patience, trust, empathy, and perseverance that helps them to be successful in life. Our curriculum combines humane education with character development.  Communication skills are a large part of our program, both with dogs and other humans. The youth are taught to understand dog behavior and body language.  This understanding can then be related to understanding themselves better, as well as others. The youth are partnered up throughout the training, which also encourages them to learn the skills needed to collaborate and cooperate in order to successfully train their dogs.  Responsibility and leadership are other areas of focus.  Once participants have completed our program, they are allowed to return to following sessions as mentors or peer leaders.  Throughout our program, participants go on field trips and listen to guest speakers that expose them to animal-related careers that they may be interested in, such as shelter workers, veterinarians, vet techs, and dog groomers. Our hope is that they will be exposed to a job that they could pursue and learn the skills necessary to become productive members of society.

The final goal of our organization is to help at-risk youth feel successful. Both of our programs encourage participants to set goals for both themselves and their dogs.  Some are short term goals, such as teaching the dog to do a specific task, and others are long term goals like getting the dog adopted or finding a potential career path for themselves when they become adults.  Reaching those goals may not always be easy, but they develop patience, perseverance and a sense of self worth along the way. 

Pawsitive Impact is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, tax ID# 27-1080016.