GEORGETOWN, Texas - The Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter (WCRAS) has launched a pilot program in partnership with Jail To Jobs. Jail To Jobs is a local non-profit whose mission is to help justice-involved youth create a path to employment.
The partnership was made possible thanks to a grant from the Petco Foundation.
The pilot program between WCRAS and Jail To Jobs is set to run for twelve weeks. If the program is successful, the shelter hopes to continue its partnership with Jail To Jobs.
"The Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter strives to do all we can to place dogs and cats on a path to a new life. It only makes sense to partner with a program that extends that mission to humans with the same ultimate need," said WCRAS Shelter Director Misty Valenta. "A special thank you to the Petco Foundation for providing the funds to begin this partnership. This partnership will transform countless lives."
At WCRAS, the youth will be trained to help clean the dog kennels, assist staff with tasks as needed, and also help to train the dogs, which in return helps the dogs be prepared and ready for their forever homes. Together, the youth and the dogs will learn valuable life skills that help each of them go on to brighter futures.
"The partnership with the WCRAS is miraculous. I’ve seen hardened 22-year-olds become kids again, playing and training the dogs. I’ve seen dogs who were scared and nervous become puppies again, full of play and security. We are bringing together two populations that have been discarded by society. Two populations that have been hurt by people they trusted," said Williamson County Director for Jail To Jobs Eddie Franz. "Together, they heal each other in profound ways. The animals and the youth become open to learning and are able to begin to put the past behind them. It is something I believe should be happening in every city across America."
Community donations and the generosity of the Petco Foundation will fund the program for the duration of this fiscal year.