Okanagan Boys and Girls Club Study
Special workshop sessions were held in partnership with the Okanagan Boys and Girls club. The sessions typically ran as a six-week workshop, that was designed to help children aged 5-12 years old develop and practice their social-emotional skills, including introductions, meaningful compliments, empathy, and self-awareness. Each session began with a class discussion on the skills the children were to work on that day, followed by practice in a supportive, non-judgmental environment created by B.A.R.K. dogs and volunteers.
The program ran for two years, thanks to a generous grant from the Telus Thompson Okanagan Community Board.
Okanagan Boys and Girls Club by the Numbers
“I enjoyed watching the kids put the skills we taught them into practice in novel situations with strangers and watching them ‘come out of their shells’.”
MA alumna (’20), B.A.R.K. volunteer
“The best part of the program is witnessing the children’s excitement. The children are building confidence right before our eyes.”
program area leader, for the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club
(source: Vernon Morning Star)
Related Publications and presentations
Harris, N. M. & Binfet, J. T. (2022) Exploring Children’s Perceptions of an After-School Canine-Assisted Social and Emotional Learning Program: A Case Study. Journal of Research in Childhood Education.
Harris, N. M., & Binfet, J. T. (2020, September). A case study exploring children’s experience participating in a canine-assisted social-emotional learning program. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Liverpool, UK.
McKay, C., Harris, N., & Binfet, J. T. (2018, July 4). Building confidence through K9’s: A pilot program to build children’s leadership through interactions with therapy canines. Symposium at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Sydney, Australia. Therapy canines: Screening and assessment, safeguarding well-being, and innovative programming.
Psychology Today (2021, June 12). Interaction with Canines Builds Children’s Confidence.
Doggymom.com (2021, Feb. 21). Dogs put the fun into learning vital social skills.
Earth.com (2021, Feb. 20). Dogs help children improve their confidence and social skills.
Castanet (2021, Feb. 19). UBCO researchers use therapy dogs to help children learn social skills.
Nostro Figlio (2021, Feb 18). Il doppio beneficio della dog therapy.
Science Daily (2021, Feb. 17). Friends fur life help build skills for life.
Florida News Times (2021, Feb 17). A Friend’s ‘fur’ life help build skills for life.
Kelowna Capital News (2018, Nov. 15) UBC Okanagan BARK program helps local kids with social skills.