Supporting Mental Health and Enhancing Literacy with Therapy Dogs at Ellsworth Hill Elementary School

This year Therapy Dogs International (TDI) was able to collaborate with Hudson DEI Alliance to bring dogs to Ellsworth Hill Elementary. Our co-secretary Khanya Agee coordinated the efforts to get them to the schools and our co-chair Joan Sauer, former Counselor in Hudson City Schools assisted with outreach and communication with the elementary schools. With much enthusiasm and excitement, Jen Filomena, principal of Ellsworth, loved the idea and hosted the lovable dogs at her school.  

“This initiative was close to my heart,” Agee states. 

“In the last two years the kids have gone through school in a unique way. I read an article that stated: ‘The grief, anxiety and depression children have experienced during the pandemic is welling over into classrooms and hallways, resulting in crying and disruptive behavior in many younger kids and increased violence and bullying among adolescents. For many other children, who keep their sadness and fear inside, the pressures of school have become too great’.  Bringing the dogs into our district would help any child that needed that extra attention. Mental health is something that I am passionate about and I am so thankful that we were able to bring this to the schools”. 

On April 9th 2022, the dogs started visiting the classrooms ,and what joy this has been. Each class had an opportunity to sign up for a slot to read with the dogs. With parental consent, the children have been able to read to the dog or have the dog in their classroom.

Special thanks to Therapy Dogs International and Ellsworth Hill E.S. for partnering with the Hudson DEI Alliance to support children’s mental health and well being while enhancing literacy skills!  

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