Residents from the Scranton Residential Reentry Center in Pennsylvania volunteered at a local animal shelter, Ruff Dog Rescue Northeast. They spent the majority of the day feeding dogs, cleaning kennels and performing general tasks to improve conditions for dogs waiting to be adopted. They also had the chance to walk the dogs.
Community service is a required aspect of programming at the residential reentry center. By giving back, residents learn empathy and are encouraged to care about the health and well-being of others in their community.
“GEO Reentry programming at our Scranton facility is designed to include community service,” said Gardnia Simeon, director of the Scranton RRC. “Residents have an opportunity to demonstrate positive behavior while giving back to the community, serving both the community and reinforcing the reentry programming we provide.”
Residents from the Scranton RRC regularly volunteer with local service organizations and soup kitchens, and often host or attend community cleanups. They were excited to extend their efforts to animals by volunteering with Ruff Dog Rescue Northeast.
Studies have shown that pairing offenders with animals can reduce conflict and feelings of anger, helping offenders develop positive coping strategies and an improved outlook in their everyday lives. By working at the shelter, the Scranton RRC residents had the chance to bond with dogs and gain valuable employment and communication skills.
“Our residents experienced a rewarding day at the shelter, sharing a message of a better life to come with a second chance,” said Simeon.