Everyone deserves a second chance!

5 Comments

  • Victoria Lafayette

    April 29, 2016 at 8:19 am

    The Lee County Cell Dog program has been visiting Lehigh Senior High School since January of 2016. Since their initial visit, the students have fallen in love with each dog and have learned some very valuable skills. During the first visit, the students became familiar with the dogs, the program and the amazing police officers that volunteer their time for this program. For many of our students, this was their first positive interaction with a dog! On the dog’s second visit, our students learned important dog safety and how to approach a dog. This life skill is incredibly important for our students as sadly stray dogs are far too common in our city. The most recent visit from the cell dog program proved to be the most amazing though. Each student prepared a paragraph the previous day about their plans for Spring Break and read their paragraph individually to the dogs. Many of our students, who have significant cognitive disabilities, have anxiety and low self-esteem when it comes to reading. That anxiety was lifted however when they were given the opportunity to read to an adorable puppy. For once, our students smiled from ear to ear as they read out loud!

    Thank you,
    Jessica Ramirez (Nunn)
    ESE Teacher & LS/SC Department Head
    Lehigh Senior High School

  • Victoria Lafayette

    April 29, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Dear Sherriff Scott,

    I am the assistant principal at Gulf Elementary in Cape Coral. When you work as an educator or in law enforcement there are things we experience that give us a unique glimpse into human nature. Sometimes humanity disappoints us, but other times we feel very fortunate to get a glimpse into how generous and kind people can be when they are supported by a caring community. At our school, we were lucky enough to see the capacity of our community’s compassion when Lee County Sherriff deputies brought the cell dogs to visit.

    The first time they came to support a classroom of students with communication challenges, I watched the reactions on the students’ faces as they saw the dogs and the sheriffs entering the room. Most of the students eagerly approached the dogs and began to talk to the sheriffs. They shared stories about their dogs and asked many questions. But one little boy was very hesitant to join the group. It surprised me because knowing him, I thought he would be most excited about the dogs. A few minutes later, I noticed it wasn’t the dogs he was reluctant to be near it was the deputies. He seemed mistrustful of them and didn’t even want to make eye contact. Slowly and skillfully, the deputies began to share information about the dogs. They were sure to include the student, but did not force him to talk. Somehow, by the end of the visit, the student was eagerly asking questions about the dogs and about the deputies’ jobs and even followed them out of the classroom. When it was time to leave, he didn’t want them to go. It was really touching to think that this one visit might have changed this student’s impression of the deputies and created an opportunity for him to have a positive exchange with members of law enforcement.

    Another time they came to our school, they worked with our Teen Trendsetters Club. This club is a literacy initiative of the Barbara Bush Foundation which pairs up high school students with struggling readers at our school. Imagine the delight of a struggling reader who not only has the support of a high school mentor but a happy, eager dog ready to listen to them read their book and know that our community cares if they become strong readers. In an instant, students who really have to work hard to read and were not confident in their ability to read aloud were very excited when it was their turn to read to the dogs.

    As word of the cell dogs spread throughout our school, our National Elementary Honor Society students decided to get involved and have a dog food drive to donate to the cell dog program. Many donations came in and the students were excited to know that they were contributing to the program.

    To me, this is what makes a community an extraordinary place! The deputies and their dogs teamed up with our educators to enrich the lives of children. Our Honor Society children experienced the feeling of making a positive impact in their community, our struggling students were given encouragement to read with confidence despite their difficulties, and a little boy had a positive experience with the deputies that might have changed his perspective on law enforcement that he will keep with him throughout his life.

    When the deputies come to our school with their dogs, I can see our community at its best. I am thankful to the Lee County Sherriff, for having the wisdom to know the value and rippling impact of providing the time, effort and guidance so a prisoner needing a purpose could train a dog with nobody to love, who goes out into the community and touches the hearts of our most vulnerable citizens.

    I want to thank you for supporting this amazing program that connects and supports our community in such a beautiful way!

    Mary Beth Grecsck
    Assistant Principal
    Gulf Elementary School.

  • Victoria Lafayette

    April 30, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Dear Deputy Dunn,

    We can’t thank you enough for visiting our school and sharing your amazing program with us! What a tremendous program that gives back to so many different facets of the community! The students are still talking about it and are honored to have collected items that benefit your program! We actually have some additional donations that were dropped off after your presentation. I am happy to drop them off somewhere for you, let me know. Please feel free to come and visit anytime and share with Deputy Jones and Deputy Hawkins, as well.

    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Jodi Jacoby

  • Victoria Lafayette

    May 4, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Dear Sheriff Scott,

    I wanted to say thank you on behalf of Tanglewood Elementary School for your cell dog program. Your officers and their dogs have visited our school several times over the last few months and have made a tremendous impact on student learning and achievement. Every child is unique in their learning and what motivates them to do their best but all of our students give reading their all when your officers visit. We also have a student that has suffered the loss of his father and your officers not only trained him on proper animal safety but allowed him to rotate classrooms with them and treat him as a fellow k9 handler. He is a different child when your officers visit; happy and excited to learn! Further, our reading scores are soaring due to the increased time our students are spending reading to your cell dogs. This is a fabulous program that I hope can continue next school year. Every visit more teachers ask to become involved. I am truly grateful for the time your officers spend with our students.

    Best Regards,

    Sherri Wipf
    Principal
    Tanglewood Elementary

  • Victoria Lafayette

    May 7, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    THIS IS A FABULOUS PROGRAM, THANK YOU ALL FOR WHAT YOU DO!

    DEPUTIES: HOWARD HAWKINS, MIGUEL ALMAZAN, JUSTIN JONES, BRETT BARNES AND SCOTT DUNN.

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