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Therapy Dogs Help Kids With Trauma Feel Calm Enough To Tell Their Stories

The dogs of the K9th Circuit Program are the ultimate therapy dogs for kids in courtrooms. In 2014, Orlando, Florida created a community outreach program called Companions for Courage where dogs provide a sense of secruity to children testifying in court.


"Think about how a child must feel. They have to face the person who has hurt them, they have to sit in front of a bunch of strangers and tell a really painful story, and most of the time they're not even with their family while they're testifying," said Joanne Rittenhouse, one of the dog handlers. "All the dogs make everyone calm; they have a good presence," she continued.

Studies have shown that people are better able to recollect facts and provide more accurate information regarding traumatic events when they are calm. With the assistance of the dog teams, children and adults are able to relieve their anxiety about the underlying traumatic events and provide more precise testimonies in court proceedings.

One very special therapy dog named Karl is one of 6 dogs in the K9 Circuit Program. He was born deaf, knows sign language, and is an amazing support to the kids.

"Karl gave her the courage to go through with the trial. I couldn't even get her out of the car when we first started and towards the end she was getting out of the car just to go and see Karl," added dog handler Carol Feiner.

As a part of the community outreach program, "Companions for Courage is about the victim and the dog. It's a bond, and a sense of security that the animal brings to the child – to give them the confidence and courage to face that scary place."

"Children feel protected to have this dog by their side" said Joanne. Since the program started, the Companions for Courage have been involved in 23 cases. Companions for Courage is the approved Therapy Dog Provider for the 5th Judicial Circuit and Ninth Judicial Circuit Courts of Florida.

This story was produced by Tracy Chevrier, shot/edited by James Haydon. To see more HooplaHa original videos, visit our YouTube channel and our Facebook page.

Rescue, Transform, Share: How an Ohio Soup Shack Is Saving Lives

"It really does take a village to help people," says Sandra Lettie, a volunteer with La Soupe in Cincinnati, Ohio. La Soupe is helping to build and activate just such a "village" of compassionate people from the local area around the goal of producing food from discarded produce and providing it to families in need.

According to La Soupe's CEO, Suzy DeYoung, the organization's central mission is to "rescue, transform, and share." First, volunteers with La Soupe visit grocery stores and farms to pick up produce that was going to be discarded and "rescue" it for use in the soups that the team creates. That produce is then "transformed" into healthy, delicious food by the chefs at La Soupe. Finally, the food is "shared" with those in the local community who need it.

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Sweepstakes Winner Gets Unforgettable NASCAR Experience!

Stacy Comilang from Preston, CT., likes to think of herself as a "need for speed" kind of girl. She is a fan of NASCAR and had been to a few races while growing up in California. Even though she has never driven in a car much faster than the speed limit, or been in a race car, she would love to do both. Little did she know that when she casually entered a sweepstakes on the Coke website this past spring, that both of these dreams would soon come true!

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Man Goes on Cross-Country Hugging Tour To Spread Love

Hugging is considered to be a rather intimate form of affection across the US. Everyone hugs, but rarely do we ever hug strangers. Arie Moyal is willing to do just that. He is the founder and creator of the Hug Train, a national tour of free hugs to promote mental health awareness. Arie travels across the country giving hugs to strangers who are willing to give him an embrace.

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Dan's Coffee Runs Bring Warmth To Chemo Patients and Staff

Coffee and a smile are sometimes the best medicine. When Dan Dewey's father was being treated for cancer, Dan found himself following a routine in a situation which needed a little perking up.

Thus began what has become known as "Dan's Coffee Run". Every Thursday morning, Dan does a special coffee run for the staff and patients at the Michigan Cancer Institute in Bloomfield Hills, bringing Starbucks Coffee and a lot of smiles to the patients and providers at the cancer treatment center.

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This Organization Feeds Their Entire Community

If you are a kid and your bed is a lumpy, old couch or a cold, hard floor and you leave home for school without a regular breakfast, you will not excel in your classes. This daily struggle is shockingly common in many areas of the country and it sets many children on a downward spiral at an early age that is difficult to recover from. This is where Meals By Grace is making a difference.

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Anonymous Authors of Love Letters Uplift The Lonely

While it is exciting to see the bold type of a newly arrived email from an old friend or the pulsing dots of a long awaited text, there is still something special about the arrival of a hand written, stamped envelope in your home mailbox.

For those who are facing personal difficulties, adjusting to new circumstances, or just feeling isolated, the physical experience of handling a letter, opening the sealed side of the envelope, and sliding out a beautiful card brings the thrill and anticipation of contact with another person, something they may been missing for long time. Fulfilling this need is at the heart of an inspiring organization called "The World Needs More Love letters".

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A Father, A Son, And A Hockey Fan’s Dream Come True!

Coca-Cola, Shaw's Supermarkets, and the Boston Bruins have teamed up to make one lucky Bruins fan's dream come true. After purchasing a Coke from Shaw's in the New England area, contestants were encouraged to enter for a chance to win a "Player for a Day Experience" with the Boston Bruins.

The lucky winner's name is Mark Karolkiewicz. Mark has been a Bruins fan his whole life and even though he had the opportunity to be a Bruins Player for a Day, he selflessly gave the prize to his son Eric Karolkiewicz, also a die-hard Bruins fan!

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Dancing Away From Illness And Onto The Stage

The hall lights dim…..a hush comes over the audience … the command "places everyone" is given… there is a palpable stillness in the air as the first notes of the opening piece float out of the speakers and hover above the stage…. the curtain rises with a whir … the lights come up… its time …

These are the moments a performer lives for. The hours of solitary sweat and toil practicing their craft in sparse, small rooms, are the dues required for the joy of putting their skill and craft out there for an audience hungering for something special and moving.

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