It was such a wonderful visit! Just taking the dogs to the office, we were stopped multiple times by students and adults in the building who just lit up and asked to pet them. The students were so excited to see the dogs and were so amazed that we were able to have them in the school for them.
One young man said “This is the only time you will see my sensitive side – when I am with animals, I am happy.” Another student came back to our office upset later in the day and said she had been having a really rough day but when she came during lunch and saw the dogs, they made her feel calm and happy and she was okay to make it through most of her day. Our staff members said it was like a gift for them to have the dogs in the office during the day – they said they thought is meant as much to them as it did to the students. Our principal said she wants the dogs here all of the time!

Lauren Balkan, teacher at Carteret High School

I have such a strong connection to these animals and I truly believe they positively affect people of all ages. They seem to have an innate sense and so many of our students truly come alive when interacting with the dogs. They truly are furry little healers. Thank you again for coming to our school and sharing. So many students came to my office to tell me how much they loved the program and how hearing Kenny’s story moved them. Keep doing what you are doing. It helps so many.

Lori Ann Roland, LPC, LCADC, Student Assistance Coordinator at Brick Township High School 

It is I who should be thanking you! The presentation brought a few students to Guidance, all of whom decided it was time to talk. We took it one step further with one senior girl who is having suicide ideations. She will be getting treatment immediately.

PrincipalTrenton School

Attitudes In Reverse® has provided our students with a most important resource. Due to the work of the AIR volunteers, our students know that they are not alone. They learn that the stigma associated with mental illness need not close them off from normal functioning….from happiness. There are people out there who will listen and help them when all seems lost. AIR tells them that they can…that they deserve the help they need.

Mrs. Baker has related to me emails from our students thanking them for opening their eyes to the resources available, and perhaps more importantly, how to be that good listener for others. We hope to continue our relationship with AIR in the future for the benefit of our students.

Michael ZapicchiPrincipal, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North

AIR’s presentation in my high school building received overwhelming support from both faculty and students. Its message regarding erasing mental illness stigma and letting students know it’s okay to ask for help seemed to break down the barriers as several students came up after each presentation to ask for more information. Faculty members, including teachers, guidance counselors and administrators, have requested AIR to come back and present again. I look forward to continuing my relationship with AIR and helping our students get the support they need to achieve overall health and wellness.

Julie SchickDirector of Athletics, Health & Physical Education & Nurses at Perth Amboy Public Schools

The Attitudes in Reverse® Coming Up for AIR™ program highlighted some myths and facts about mental illness. The AIR presentation asked students to choose celebrities they felt had struggled with mental illness; the presentation then highlighted the successful paths and varied history of many famous people. Tricia Baker also told the students about the struggles they had witnessed within their own family; she shared their personal struggles with her son’s suicide, as well as others’ reactions to his passing away. This personal revelation touched a chord in many of the students and staff at Schor. Students appeared interested in the program and it brought to light concerns that encouraged the students to reach out to the counseling department.

AIR’s presentation creates a comprehensive picture of mental health. AIR volunteers work to make sure that students are aware that many people struggle with mental illness and that there are many people to whom the students can reach out to ask for help. I think that this is a great presentation for 7th and 8th graders.

Kaitlin G. Gonzales, Psy.MBehaviorist/School Psychologist Theodore Schor Middle School