Jennifer Wise

Second Place

Prize Awarded:
Dorothy Thomas School
Tampa, FL

Project Description:

Wise's "Kids and Canines" project teaches truant, at-risk middle school students the value of commitment, problem solving and giving back to the community. This project pairs at-risk students with a puppy that they train over a two-year period, during which they are responsible for the animal's daily care, training and socialization. At the end of this two-year period, the dogs are given to physically disabled individuals in the Tampa Bay area. Students work with these individuals to pair them with a good canine match, and to help the dogs transition to their new owner. Although parting with the dogs is a sad event, the students take great pride in knowing they are making a significant contribution to their community. In perhaps its greatest accomplishment, the program increases the students' regular school attendance, reading level and math scores.