FETCH – Animal Assisted Interactions Class Vies for $5K Grant

Hat’s off the Animal Assisted Interactions Class at Tri-County Community College!  They’re doing their utmost to bring their FETCH Program (Fun Exercising Together for Children’s Health) to reality. Yesterday, about 20 of us met at the Cold Nose College Training Center so Chasing Destiny Films could shoot a video in support of the class mission.  Before long, we’ll be asking for your votes for their video so you can help them win the $5K to roll out their wonderful program, so stay tuned!

Here’s a little history the class shared with us:

“We became concerned about North Carolina’s childhood obesity rate. In 2009, almost one-third of North Carolina children aged 10 to 17 were overweight or obese.  The FETCH Program proposes a solution to this disturbing problem. FETCH means Fun Exercising Together for Children’s Health. FETCH activities will address the social issue of childhood obesity by increasing each child’s physical activity as he or she exercises and trains dogs. The program’s goal is to stabilize or reduce each child’s Body Mass Index over the long-term, while instilling a desire for healthy and fun activities.

The FETCH Program will be multi-disciplinary. Tri County Community College in Murphy, North Carolina will collaborate with Martin’s Creek School to provide a fun educational opportunity for middle-school students. The school will also involve students’ parents and the school nurse. Tri County’s Animal Assisted Interactions students will serve as program mentors.

The nuts and bolts of the FETCH Program:  The class has created a fun physical activity that will get kids off the couch, and will help shelter dogs at the same time.  Students will teach the dogs fun tricks like navigating a teeter-totter and running through an agility tunnel. Students will encourage the dogs by running through the course with them. The dogs may also learn other tricks and good behaviors.

Meanwhile, the children will also learn about the value of canine conditioning and healthy nutrition. The students will help create snacks for the dogs, and will be provided with healthy snacks to enjoy themselves. This will illustrate the importance of nutrition combined with exercise. Tri County Community College students will supervise all interactions.

The FETCH Program will provide an innovative multi-disciplinary approach to the childhood obesity problem. This low-budget program is easily adapted to small towns and large cities across North Carolina. There are middle-school students statewide who need extra exercise delivered in a fun and educational way. Dog shelters with trained handlers, as well as Agility Clubs, are found throughout the state. North Carolina community colleges can utilize the FETCH Program as a service learning or internship component. The FETCH Program works because it addresses the childhood obesity issue while showcasing animal awareness at the same time.

The FETCH Program dogs will receive three benefits as well. The dogs will learn fun tricks and get some exercise, which will help improve their overall health. Dogs will become better socialized as they interact with program participants. Healthy and well-socialized dogs are often more adoptable. As an added benefit, the dogs may even get adopted.

So a solution to North Carolina’s childhood obesity problem…may be as close as your own back yard!”

Now, this is a program we can certainly support!  We hope you will too and will send out the voting information as soon as we have it.  Click! to the AII Class at TCCC!


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