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How is violence prevented?

By teaching compassion.



iggyboygirl1We're the nation's first proven-effective violence prevention program reaching youth and addressing issues of the heart to overcome abuse, bullying, and crime – with the assistance of rescued dogs whom no one else wanted.  Eleven innovative lessons and a service project are implemented with 4th-12th graders in classroom or small group settings, empowering youth to rise above the actions of others and change things for themselves and those around them. Healing Species Violence Prevention has reached over 24,000 youth since our inception in 1999 at over 120 sites. 

What is Compassion Education™?
Compassion Education™ builds a bridge between students' minds and hearts, helping them care about themselves and the world around them. The Healing Species Violence Prevention Program is designed for public and private schools, incarceration facilities, youth rehab programs, and other venues and is an in-depth and interactive approach to:

  • Violence Prevention, Intervention and Victim Assistance
  • Compassion Education
  • Character Education
  • Bullying Prevention

Each 45-minute lesson is delivered by professional, trained instructors with a temperament-tested rescued dog which lead students to discover and practice:

  • How to be assertive and tell a trusted adult if you need help
  • Personal body safety and signs of abuse
  • Life-lessons in respect for the feelings of others
  • Appropriate ways to respond to a bully
  • How to gain power by leading with acts of kindness, respect and "rising above the actions of others"
  • Methods for conflict resolution, anger management, and coping skills
  • Self-esteem from developing responsibility
  • Responsible choices lead to good consequences
  • How to take the initiative and follow-through to create a more compassionate planet for self and others
  • Stewardship, citizenship and service
  • Diversity and tolerance – respect for all life
  • Achieving your dreams with hard work and a strong heart
  • Healing Species empowers youth to not "give up", "drop out," or return "hate for hate."

What's So Unique

The key components for our success are our evidence-based Compassion Education™ curriculum and the RESCUED AND REHABILITATED DOGS who accompany trained instructors into the classroom and bring the program's lessons in responsibility, empathy, compassion, and empowerment to life!

The dog is a living example of overcoming one's past, and demonstrates that even the most wounded or voiceless among us is important and has something important to contribute.

Additionally, the dogs escalate student excitement, curiosity, and interest in the lesson materials and provide a hands-on opportunity for learning gentle leadership over bullying tactics to gain influence or power. Acting as a bridge between the often "closed-off" or hardened youth and the implementing instructors, these rescued canines demonstrate first-hand the ability to overcome hate with love, and offer value and contribution despite others' stereotypes or judgment.

The Healing Species Violence Prevention Program is an innovative approach to engaging youth with stories, exercises, videos, activities, and discussion centered around rescued animals. It is much more than traditional pet therapy!


Contact us with your interest in the Healing Species Violence Prevention program at your school, facility or other venue. The Founding Chapter serves South Carolina, with Satellite Chapters serving students in other states and countries. Check out our Satellite Chapters.



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Violence Prevention - Right

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Healing Species' Jessica Lewis proudly completed Project BEST's learning collaborative on Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

"The results speak for themselves – 11 of 16 students have not had any other referrals to the system at all. Fantastic program, highly recommended."

Laura A. McCann
Chief Family Court Prosecutor
1st Judicial Circuit, SC



"I have seen a decrease in misbehavior in my students."

Kim DeReef, Teacher
William J. Clark Middle School
Orangeburg, SC