Children experience a variety of difficult challenges when their parents separate or divorce. How can they learn to cope with these changes and realize they are not alone? Refuge is now offering a 12 week divorce care group for children called, Divorce Care for Children.
This group will help minimize behavioral and emotional patterns that may result when children experience divorce. It'll also increase ability to identify and appropriately express divorce-related feelings, reduce anxiety and worry children experience about their family circumstances and build confidence and specific skills to help children cope in a supportive environment.
Where: 131 East Ferguson Ave. Wood River, IL 62095
When: Tuesday 5pm-6pm and 6p-7pm AND Thursdays from 6-7pm
Who: Groups Kindergarten through sixth grade (the children will be divided into three groups based on grade level).
Call today to schedule your intake and help your child find hope, healing and support: (618) 251-9790 Ext. 203
*This group is offered at no cost thanks to the generosity of Refuge donors.
Click here for the syllabus.
Refuge received a puppy as a donation to be used as their new therapy dog. The Double Doodle puppy named Ellie Mae joined their team this summer on June 14th.
“Children don’t process like adults do in therapy sessions; we observe their behaviors more through their artwork and how they play, now that Ellie Mae is here, we can also observe how they interact with her,” said Refuge Executive Director, Erin Bickle. “I’ve worked with therapy dogs before and have seen children tell them things they don’t feel comfortable telling adults, it’s our job to observe their behavior with the dog.”
Bickle says there’s a lot of research to support how having a therapy dog can help better the recovery process. There are countless ways that they can be useful in therapy, some of them are: helps lower blood pressure, lifts spirits and lessens depression, encourages communication, provides comfort, helps children overcome speech and emotional disorders, creates motivation for clients to recover faster and reduces loneliness.
They’re working with a certified therapy dog coach, Claire Clark with Soul Dog Canine Education. The type of training is called, “Bond-Based Choice Teaching.” Once she’s completed all of the training, Ellie will work with the children one-on-one and their families.
“Anything you can teach a three-year-old, you can teach your dog, they’re super smart,” said Clark. “We want to build her confidence during these brain exercises, all their bad behaviors go away because they’re getting so much more positive attention and they become a well adjusted member of the family.”
“Our goal is to show the children all the wonderful things she’s learned once she’s certified, they’ll be shocked to see her know letters and colors,” said Bickle.
Refuge is a self-funded nonprofit located downtown Wood River inside the Riverbend Family Ministries office. They serve children and families in Madison County who’ve been exposed to childhood abuse. They help address and prevent childhood abuse and violence exposure with therapy and training.
For more information on certification on the dog therapy programs, visit: