We’ve been posting lots about this monthly giving program and I wanted to take the time to explain why on behalf of Catalina and myself. Understand that we don’t take lightly the care and consideration behind the dollars donated to us and we really hate even asking for money. We know that its a sacrifice for each of you who contributes and we thank you so gratefully. Without you, we’d not be able to enter this new phase of development outlined below:
We’ve witnessed an explosion of growth in the last few months. We’ve been operating our rescue program with more than 30 dogs for some time now and it seems like every time one leaves, another 2 show up. Our network of fosters and supporters is growing rapidly and allowing the organization to accomplish really amazing things for these dogs. Suffice to say, we’ve outgrown rogue fundraising and we desperately need to secure dependable funding to continue the rescue program at its current capacity.
Beyond that, though: If you look at our mission, it doesn’t just talk about pulling dogs from shelters and placing them in homes, it talks about striving to end the neglect, cruelty and abuse inflicted on the American Pit Bull Terrier and restoring the excellent reputation once held by them during the 20th Century, through education, outreach, rescue, rehabilitation and adoption. I love our mission statement, and want you all to understand that Catalina and I both believe that we, as a united organization, can absolutely change the future for these dogs; I refuse to believe we don’t have the opportunity to make a huge difference. What differentiates us is that we have an action plan in place to facilitate change, and we’re acting on it right now.
Since inception we’ve held on to the underlying goal of incorporating outreach and education into the foundation of the organization. We’ve worked very hard over the last 18 months to develop a rescue operation that is sustainable, scalable and efficient so that we could get to the place that allows us to focus on the outreach programs, and we’re finally there, or, we’re finally here, I guess :)
In the next few weeks we’ll share with you the nuts and bolts of the different programs we run in an effort to remain transparent while we build up our monthly giving program. We want you to know where your money is going. Today I’m posting about the Project Mickey Overview, next I’ll walk you through the curriculum outline, and beyond that I’ll cover our training and education program, operating costs for 2011, budget for 2012, program structures and future plans (in no particular order). We want those of you who are interested to have a solid understanding of what it takes to make this thing move.
Project Mickey: A pilot youth outreach partnership between Jasmine’s House, Inc, and Baltimore City Public Schools
We are aiming to run the pilot this spring over 8 sessions in 4 weeks.
The youth outreach program aspires to achieve these objectives for its participant children:
- Build self-esteem
- Allow a safe space to experience empathy
- Foster positive values
- Enable kids to develop positive associations with animals (pit bulls in particular)
- Help kids learn to value themselves and one another
These are draft objectives, and will adjust slightly as we work through curriculum development.
Children in late elementary school still demonstrate an openness to learning about the dogs they see so frequently in their communities, so we’re taking advantage of the window of opportunity before the onset of puberty to facilitate positive and enriched interactions between the kids and our dogs in a safe space after school. We feel its important to reach them while they still naturally identify with animals and before their perceptions about humanity and its canine counterparts are more solidified.
We all know that abused and neglected children often turn their hurt around to abuse others smaller than themselves. By allowing a safe space for empathy and learning with the dogs we hope to turn them into their protectors and advocates instead of their abusers. We believe that the unconditional love and non-judgmental attitudes the dogs offer will reach these kids more deeply and effectively than we can as people. As the children learn to love and understand the dogs through a series of experiential learning sessions, we hope that they will simultaneously learn to love and understand a part of themselves.
We also believe that the program will provide a healing experience for some of these children. They’ll have the opportunity to meet and interact with abused dogs that have recovered and are thriving as Canine Good Citizen therapy dogs. We hope that the interactions allow them to identify and relate to the pain of the animals and associate themselves with the ability to overcome and remain kind. The dogs should become role models to the children when they see how the dogs have learned to forgive and overcome their painful pasts. Hopefully this will teach them to respect and protect even the smallest and weakest among us, and instill an irreversible self-confidence in them.
In the end, we aim to teach them to care for animals, and each other without actually telling them that they should do so.
Funding for this program covers the expense of CGC certification for the dogs involved and insurance for the program.