WHAT: Ten South Whittier School District students and six shelter dogs from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) will be graduating from the nonprofit’s four-week Teaching Love & Compassion (TLC)™ training program on March 9.

During the ceremony, the shelter dogs will run a small obstacle course and show off tricks taught by the Graves Middle School student trainers, who were selected by the school to strengthen leadership skills and self-determination. The students will give presentations on what they learned and receive certificates of completion.

WHEN: 3 p.m. Thursday, March 9

WHERE: Graves Middle School, Room 316
13243 Los Nietos Road, Whittier

DETAILS: Since 1994, spcaLA has worked in partnership with Los Angeles-area school districts to offer the TLC program. The program pairs shelter dogs with students in at-risk communities, who learn empathy, patience and compassion as they work through conflicts and challenges of performing as a group to train the animals. This is the first year South Whittier School District is taking part in the hands-on dog training program.

In the last four weeks, students have spent three hours a day with Humane Educators from spcaLA and shelter dogs selected for the program. Through TLC classroom instruction, students learn conflict resolution, anti-bullying, kindness toward others and positive reinforcement. TLC dogs learn behaviors, including basic obedience, fun tricks and the beginnings of agility obstacles. These skills help TLC dogs get adopted and thrive in their new homes.

MEDIA INQUIRIES: SWSD, Juliette Funes, (909) 447-2404; spcaLA, Ana Bustilloz, (323) 730-5300, ext. 252

Coverage and/or inclusion of this event in your calendar of events is welcome and greatly appreciated.