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“We look for degreed and certified staff members who bring enthusiasm and motivation to the school.” Although new-hire Jodi fits this description found on the “Employment Opportunities” section of Rosarian Academy’s website, she is not your typical employee. Jodi is a three-year-old Golden Retriever who recently joined Rosarian full-time.
Assisting the school’s principal, guidance counselor, resource specialist and various classroom teachers, Jodi works as a therapeutic partner to the students and faculty through her unconditional love, understanding, and acceptance. Her loving and gentle demeanor matches the culture of the school. Jodi seems to have a “sixth sense” and seeks out people who need a “doggie hug”— a perfect enhancement to an environment that fosters each student’s emotional and intellectual needs at every developmental stage.
After finishing her career as a show-dog and becoming an International Champion, Jodi was generously donated to Genesis Assistance Dogs to be trained as a facility dog. During her initial training Jodi visited nursing homes, children’s homes, schools and multiple public programs. “It was during these outings that her career path became very apparent. Wherever there was a need for a hug, Jodi was right there being very quiet, patient and gentle; simply waiting for the person to make the first contact… she was the perfect facility dog,” said Norma Najorka, Training Director for Genesis Assistance Dogs, Inc.
Genesis Assistance Dogs Inc. transforms the lives of people with disabilities through the training and placement of highly skilled assistance and facility dogs for children and adults. After meeting Jodi and Jeffrey Eagle, Board President of Genesis Assistance Dogs, Inc., Principal Virginia Devine saw the great potential and benefits that a facility dog could bring to Rosarian Academy. Earlier this month, Ms. Devine became Jodi’s full-time caretaker and brings Jodi to school with her every day. Since starting at Rosarian three weeks ago, Jodi has already begun making a positive impact in the lives of the students and faculty.
Founded in 1925, Rosarian Academy educates students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and offers an exceptionally strong academic program enriched by athletics, visual and performing arts, and community service opportunities. The private, coeducational school is located on Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach and is sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. For more information, visit www.rosarian.org.
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