Second Chance Program
Second Chance is a structured program for allowing at-risk youth to complete court-ordered community service by training shelter dogs and increasing their adoptability.
Guilford County has far too many troubled kids and a nearly unlimited supply of unwanted dogs. Together, they severely strain county resources and create future challenges for the community:
- Guilford County ranks 2nd highest in our state in juvenile complaints
- Juvenile Justice System and courts are overloaded
- Community service is often punitive or contrived, not restorative
- In 2013, our local animal shelter intake of dogs was 8,343 (60% were euthanized)
- 2013 Guilford County Animal Services Budget was $3.2 million dollars (cost to taxpayers)
The Second Chance program impacts Guilford County juveniles, dogs and the community in a positive way. Unlike any other program in Guilford County, the program addresses both problems by partnering juvenile probationers with shelter dogs in a program that allows juveniles to complete court ordered community service requirements by training shelter dogs in preparation for adoption. Early offenders engage in meaningful community service aimed at interrupting their cycle of offending/re-offending, preparing them to make better life choices.
All of the youth participants are 12-17 year olds who have been charged with minor to moderately serious offenses. Under the supervision of a certified dog trainer, they learn to provide basic obedience training to a rescue dog in order to prepare it for adoption.
The youth benefit because they develop an increased sense of responsibility and improved self-concept in a structured and supportive environment. They learn new skills, work as members of a team, and achieve personal levels of success that promote better life choices.
The rescue dogs benefit from being more adoptable, which helps them move to permanent homes.
At-risk youth are referred to People & Paws 4 Hope by One Step Further, Inc to participate in the Second Chance program. It provides an option for juveniles to satisfy court ordered community service requirements by basic obedience training rescue dog in preparation for adoption.
Guilford County animal shelters and rescue units provide dogs for the Second Chance Program.
Since we started the Second Chance Program in Fall 2011, we have graduated 74 juvenile probationers who have provided 2,415 service hours back to our community. Only 5 of these participants have re-offended (6.7% recidivism rate). 96 shelter dogs have graduated from the Second Chance program. All have been placed in forever homes (100% adoption rate).