RUMSON – Nearly a year ago, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) welcomed a new staff member – Violet, the therapy dog.
Since then, Violet, a goldendoodle cross-breed, has become a vital member of the RFH family and has embraced her role with dignity and a wagging tail. She is making a tremendous impact in the RFH Multiple Disabilities (MD) program as well as throughout the school and the local school community.
In the Multiple Disabilities program, Violet’s daily presence has dramatically improved the students’ social skills, independence, and overall confidence, say teachers.
“Having Violet in our classroom each day has brought countless benefits,” said Jennifer Dellett, the teacher of the MD program. Integrating Violet into the program has allowed students to reach “remarkable goals,” explained Dellett. Her presence in the classroom gives the students “independence, confidence and a sense of pride. Violet is a true asset to my class and the school as a whole,” Dellett said.
She has made a positive difference throughout the rest of the school as well, the school says, helping students relieve anxiety before exams and participating in small-scale performances created by students in English classes.
Violet’s beneficial work goes beyond the RFH campus with weekly visits to Deane Porter and Forrestdale schools in Rumson. Regular visits to Knollwood School in Fair Haven are planned beginning in February.
Violet even has her own Twitter and Instagram (@rfhviolet) featuring a glimpse at the good work she performs on a daily basis.
In celebration of Violet’s first birthday on March 7, RFH has invited community members to participate in activities honoring her and supporting her work.
RFH basketball team members will be wearing limited-edition shirts featuring Violet during the state championship boys’ basketball game at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 in the RFH gym. Special half-time activities are planned and baked goods, “Violet” bracelets and RFH merchandise will be on sale to support Violet and her continued training.
Those wishing to pledge their support for Violet’s program can donate through the RFH website and be featured on the “Friends of Violet” list.
When not working, Violet lives with her handler, Victoria Vaughan, an instructional aide at the school. RFH owns Violet but Vaughan volunteered to be her handler at the outset of the program.
All funds raised during the birthday celebration events will be used to purchase food, treats and toys, grooming, and ongoing training for Violet. Her veterinary care is provided free of charge from Gregory Heins, VMD, of Two Rivers Animal Hospital in Fair Haven.
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