September 14, 2002
Creatures And Kids, Inc. – A Dream Comes True
A life-long vision is finally coming true for Penny Nichols. Nichols and her father always believed, with the right approach, they could make a difference in the lives of children. Although her father has passed away, the vision has become a reality through the efforts of Nichols and many other hard working volunteers. “I thank all of these people for their time and energy to create Creatures And Kids, Inc.,” said Nichols
Creatures and Kids, Inc, a non-profit organization, was developed by people with a variety of backgrounds and professions. They share the common belief that it is possible to re-direct young people toward positive character qualities through controlled interactions with animals.
Working with schools, their counselors, juvenile advocates and the courts, this approach provides young people opportunities for increased self-esteem and confidence building in a unique educational environment. The ability to partner with school and community provides opportunities for educational outreach.
By working with obedience training for “homeless” dogs, participants will make the animals more adoptable, while they learn self-control, patience, and how to earn respect by being firm, fair and consistent. Responsibility comes from feeding and cleaning the animal’s living quarters, and maintaining its overall well-being. Understanding how an animal’s needs are similar to human needs can develop empathy for the animals, as well as for each other.
While Creatures And Kids’ main focus is youth at risk, they will accept any child into the program upon recommendation that intervention will prevent future risk. All children who finish the program will be eligible to stay on as peer mentors for new program participants or to work in a different capacity.
The organization wants to use the creativity and imagination of the graduates to enhance their own lives and those of their peers, as well as the animal and human community.
“Our 5-year plan includes having graduates perform much of the program’s day to day duties, and finding the right location to provide these services,” said Nichols.
The organization sums it up this way, “We have a whole-child philosophy. Addressing the emotional, mental, physical and intellectual wellness of each individual is the most effective way to ensure they will explore and develop their abilities. Animals and nature are our keys to opening the hearts and minds of youth to the possibilities and opportunities awaiting them in life,” Nichols said.
Meetings are routinely held at 6:45 pm the first Wednesday of each month at the Dental Specialties Center located at 4320 McAuley Blvd. in Oklahoma City. Anyone interested in becoming a member or supporting Creatures and Kids, Inc. are encouraged to call 405.478.8550.