Press Release: reachAbility receives Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia grant funding for Animal Assistant Programming for Youth

Halifax, NS- January 12th 2017 reachAbility will be offering animal assistant programming for youth, funded by the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia. This program will provide youth opportunities to develop their self-awareness through interacting with a diverse group of animal assistants.

reachAbility has been using animal assistants for in-house self-awareness programming with great success and positive feedback from clients. The animals can offer more than comfort. They help clients face their fears, express their emotions and learn about healthy coping. The characteristics, feel and behavior of the animals foster a sense of connection and compassion with the clients. One of our previous youth participates noted about participating in animal assisted programming, “It makes my day brighter, I like being around the animals, they bring comfort…whenever Gucci and Churchill are in a cheerful mood it would put me into a cheerful mood… I love being around the animals and whenever they are at reachAbility it makes me feel safe and stress free”.

Having animal assistants in self-awareness programming heightens the client experience. The animal’s presence help clients feel more relaxed and comfortable in the physical space. Clients experience the warmth, non-judgement and affection given by the animals; increasing positive emotions and helping to relieve bypassing obstacles.

From the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia grant, reachAbility will be able to offer animal assisted self-awareness programs to youth in Dartmouth through a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club.

In general, Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) can be used to help alleviate emotional disturbances, behavioural problems, depression, anxiety and stress, trauma, PTSD, ADD, ADHD, promote socialization and more. reachAbility is currently offering private AAT sessions to the public through our wellness clinic.

reachAbility has a full-time certified Animal Assisted Therapist on staff, Yana Gold. Yana came to Canada eighteen months ago from Israel. She has worked in AAT for 10 years.


About reachAbility

reachAbility Association is a non-profit based in Halifax, NS. For the last 15 years reachAbility has been dedicated to breaking down barriers in the community. We offer a variety of programming and services, including self-awareness workshops, employment programs, recreational programs, legal services and mental health services. To learn more please visit


About the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia

The Mental Health Foundation of Nova is a registered charity dedicated to improving the lives of Nova Scotians living with mental illness and their loved ones. We raise fundsfor vital programs and services that help make this possible, province wide. To learn more visit