Hometown Heroes: Canines Helping Kids in Crisis

Jennifer Epstein reports

- It's pure puppy love at Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa every time Kim Strovanek brings her two furry friends, Olivia and Bronx in for a visit.

For the last five years she's visited kids in need across the Bay Area through her program, Canines Helping Kids in Crisis.

"It just makes you beam, and it's all worthwhile," said Kim.

But her program is much more than just a couple hours of tail-wagging and petting, Kim's program is interactive and educational.

"We do these empowering programs that really teach these kids that they can overcome their crisis no matter what, and go on to do great things for others," said Kim.

She teaches that lesson through Olivia, who was being abused and neglected before Kim rescued her.

There's an instant connection between the kids at Metropolitan Ministries and Kim's dogs. Kim believes it's because they share a common, but sad bond of a life of crisis and for some, abuse.

"These children are just as much a victim as the animals, and a lot of times, that's all they know," said Kim.

Kim hopes her visits teach them that they don't have to be the product of a bad environment and that they can break the cycle of abuse. 

"If I can make one child, when they get older, remember me and the dogs and remember what I taught them…"

…Then she'll know she succeeded. And from the smiles on the kids’ faces, it seems she already has. 

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