Pattonville Honors CHAMP

C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs

Business Partner of the Year

May 7, 2012

The Pattonville School District enjoys a special working relationship with the local business community. Through the support of businesses in the area, the district is able to provide many unique opportunities to their students.

For several years, Pattonville Schools have had the pleasure and benefit of therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers to regularly visit the schools. They encourage reluctant readers and help them gain confidence with their reading skills.

Volunteers bring their canine friends to elementary classrooms to help improve reading skills, increase writing skills, and gain confidence. They work side-by-side with the reading department while the dogs provide a non-threatening environment to the classroom. These special friends provide a non-judgemental atmosphere as good listeners allowing the student to read out loud and gain the confidence needed to increase and improve reading. Results show an increase in reading levels and a higher desire to read and write. The visits also improve students' interpersonal skills. Volunteers bring value and good character skills to the classroom showing students the importance of giving back and volunteering.

C.H.A.M.P. (Canine Helpers Allow More Possibilities) is a non-profit organization that gives our students these opportunities. CHAMP has been involved with Rose Acres Elementary for the past three years. Volunteers Liz Aurbach, with Tommy, and Dianne Peters, with Elliott, have become a big part of the Rose Acres family. Regular visits working with the reading classes are ongoing, but they also participate in special events and career education days.

Pattonville appreciates the support over the years and hopes to continue the relationship and expand it for many years to come.

Note: Although this award recognizes the reading program at Pattonville, our partnership in Pattonville schools actually began nearly twelve years ago, with classroom presentations to elementary and high school students. In fact, a group of creative high school students joined us at Grant's Farm to tell disability awareness stories using puppets. Wonderful memories!