The Iredell-Statesville School district has a new therapy dog to assist students

Annie joins Jake helping students at Pressly School

Therapy dogs helping students

STATESVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Iredell-Statesville Schools are partnering once again with Partners Behavioral Health Care (Partners) to bring another therapy dog to the Iredell-Statesville Schools.

"Partners helped Iredell-Statesville Schools purchase a therapy dog in 2018, and Jake has made an incredible difference at Pressley School,” said Jamie Sales, Partners’ system of care manager. “We are pleased to be able to use these funds to bring Annie to Pressly School, as well.”

Annie is one of three new certified therapy dogs provided by Partners Behavioral Health Management through a Mental Health Block Grant. Partners covered the costs for equipment and training of the dogs, who were all selected from local rescue organizations.

“This is a school for second chances, they have an opportunity to have a better life, to be more successful and these dogs show them unconditional love," said Mark Grega, Principal of Pressly School in Statesville. “For a student who has experienced crisis, whether it’s extreme sadness, depression, or anxiety, the dog calms them, helps them through the day to be more successful at school.”

The other dogs will serve schools in Lincoln and Yadkin counties. “Adding a certified therapy dog to a school setting offers a non-traditional intervention for students who need extra help in handling emotional or behavioral challenges and aligns with Partners’ mission to improve lives and strengthen communities,” said Stacy Bryant, marketing and communications supervisor with Partners.

Partners is a leading local managed care organization (LME/MCO), providing access to care for central and western North Carolina’s most vulnerable citizens. Partners manages all Medicaid, state and local funding for intellectual/developmental disabilities, mental health and substance use disorder (IDD/MH/SUD) services in our covered areas. Partners Behavioral Health is recognized across North Carolina for the Partners Community Model and unwavering commitment to the counties and the families they serve. Through their steadfast community focus and longstanding partnerships with local stakeholders, agencies and elected officials, members receive the care and support they need.

Iredell-Statesville Schools Coordinator of Alternative Learning Mark Vaughn stated that , "It is amazing when adults come together to make positive things happen in the lives of children. We are fortunate to have a strong relationship with Partners Behavioral Health Care. With this relationship we were able to collaboratively add Annie as the second therapy dog for the students, staff and families at Pressly.

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