Nonprofit expands pet therapy programs, needs volunteers

Gabriel’s Angels serves approximately 15,200 children. (Submitted photo)

Gabriel’s Angels, a nonprofit that delivers pet therapy to children, is expanding and is looking for more volunteers.

Founded in 2000 by Pam Gaber and her dog Gabriel, the organization plans to increase its base of 225 volunteers to serve more young people. Volunteers with and without registered pet therapy dogs are needed.

The pet therapy programs “improve the emotional health and well-being of children and help them to develop seven core social behaviors (attachment, affiliation, confidence, empathy, respect, self-regulation and tolerance), all critical to ensuring a productive future,” a release from Gabriel’s Angels stated.

Gabriel’s Angels serves approximately 15,200 children.

Volunteers are needed for the group’s original Animal Assisted Activities program, where a registered therapy team visits with up to 10 children at a partner agency or Title 1 school twice per month, and its recently added Animals, Books and Children program.

ABC therapy teams visit a few select students over a school semester to support reading fluency and build confidence and motivation, the release stated.

“Liberty Arts Academy’s partnership with Gabriel’s Angels is having a dramatic impact on learning, growth, and achievement – academically, behaviorally and socially,” stated principal Brady Wald. “Within this last year through the Gabriel’s Angels programs, our students’ hearts and minds have been touched by the hearts and paws of Libi, Gretchen and Buster. The transformational results our students have been showing are absolutely amazing.”

Volunteers are supported through personal training, in-field assistance and are provided materials and activities to share with the children, according to the release.

For more information, visit GabrielsAngels.org or call 602-266-0875 or 866-785-9010.

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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