Sending out a “Call for Nominations” for the Seventh Annual Heroes of Human Services Awards! By September 2, we are looking for individuals who have demonstrated outstanding involvement and commitment to human services throughout the County. People who have dedicated time and hard work to community services such as social work, mental health care, shelter services, health programs and substance abuse services that support and protect individuals and families--people such as the volunteers at the Lend a Heart Lend a Hand animal assisted therapy program.
The Lend a Heart Lend a Hand organization got its start in 1987 when local dog club members saw a need in Sacramento for stable, well-trained animals to be used in therapeutic settings. Initially, bringing pets into hospitals and nursing homes was not common nor all that accepted. But through the hard work and dedication of the volunteers, their pets, and the support of local organizations, the benefits of animal assisted therapy are realized daily in our community. Lend a Heart Lend a Hand has teamed up with more than 30 local hospitals, nursing homes, and schools to provide regularly scheduled, monthly animal-assisted therapy programs.
The Lend a Heart Lend a Hand volunteers visit the County Mental Health Treatment Center (MHTC) once a month to provide the patients an opportunity to experience the physical, emotional and recreational benefits of animal assisted therapy. The staff at the MHTC said that the pet therapy has an effect on the patients unlike any other therapy they offer. “It gives them a sense of normalcy,” said one staff member. “Pets make us feel good, they can brighten anyone’s day. The patients feel the same way.”
The Lend a Heart Lend a Hand volunteers are just one example of individuals who deserve recognition for their dedication and commitment to helping people in our community. Nominate someone you know who deserves the same recognition for his or her volunteerism. Learn more about the Heroes of Human Services Awards and nomination form. Nominations are due by September 2, 2013.