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Learning Differences Conference 2013

Meet Captain Chip, the most famous puppy on campus!

Beginning Fall semester 2012, First graders have been working closely with Ms. Birbil, certified dog trainer Theo Koutsopoulos and the rest of the first grade homeroom teams, socializing and training Captain Chip to become the therapy dog that he was born to be. As their mascot, Captain Chip is helping focus, channel and connect positive energy and memories for this school year and beyond.

Academically, Captain Chip has a steady reading group, devoted letter writers and a fan base which inspires children beyond the first grade classrooms to be more communicative, compassionate and involved.

"Studies have shown that the unconditional love and acceptance and sense of security conveyed in the human-animal attachment relationship may validate a child’s sense of self-worth and facilitate a positive attitude towards the self. Animals contribute to the emotional well-being of a child by providing non-contingent unconditional love and opportunities for love and affection by functioning as a friend, confidant, playmate and companion and by assisting in the achievement of trust, autonomy, responsibility, competence and empathy towards others."

It is Ms. Birbil’s goal to have children, who, growing up in a society where animal neglect is prevalent, become empowered to make a difference and not turn a blind eye. To instill passion in what they do through compassion. Enabling students to care for and train Captain Chip to become a trained and certified Therapy Dog, will help them to realize that every action has a consequence regardless of who you are or how old you are. This opportunity has the power to change the way they feel about themselves and others and build empathy and respect.

She believes that our children are not too little to recognize a problem, voice an opinion and take action to improve a situation. When Captain Chip becomes a certified Therapy Dog, imagine the difference he can make in the lives of many others. That is the ripple effect of action taking action, and our students being able to play an integral role in the lives of others now, and in the future.

Check back here, for more on Captain Chip's news & progress...