The Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC) Kickstarter is an initiative offered by Citizen Engagement. Complementing the work done at Alberta’s Drumheller Institution on the Canine Assisted Learning (CAL) program (read more here), the 2018 national project focuses on raising awareness about the many benefits of the human-animal bond by: (1) Profiling research findings and CSC animal-assisted interventions currently offered; and (2) inviting inmates to share animal-related memories - stories, art work, photos and poetry.
The project is being implemented in three regions and five institutions: Prairie Region (Regional Psychiatric Centre, Drumheller Institution and Stony Mountain Penitentiary), Atlantic Region (Nova Institution for Women) and Pacific Region (Matsqui Institution).
Several of these institutions have hosted their own forums, which blends some combination of sharing information about their own Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI), the latest research findings in the AAI field and inmate reflections on human-animal bonds.
A call for animal memory submissions was issued to the Drumheller Institution inmate population. Submissions were on display at an open house event held on November 16,2018 for staff and inmates on the final day of the program. Program participants shared highlights of the program, and other inmates shared memories on a “Memory Wall.”
CAC and CSC representatives at each of the five institutions worked closely with Drs. Colleen Dell (University of Saskatchewan) and Darlene Chambers (University of Regina). Colleen and Darlene are leaders in AAI programming and research, and were Prairie Region’s 2017 Taylor Award nominees for their exceptional volunteering with CSC!