There's a dynamic duo working at School No. 29 in Rochester. Social Worker Anissa Libardi and her therapy dog Indigo help students who have more challenges than most. And we surprise them with a News 8 Golden Apple Award.
Indigo shows up everyday at Rochester School No. 29. Social Worker Anissa Libardi is one of only two Social Workers in city schools that use a therapy dog.
"And they are able to somehow calm our students down when they're upset about various things" says Principal Tanya Wilson. "Sometimes the students will talk to the dog and tell them what they did wrong and they're able to get out their feelings that way."
Anissa is Keniel Ferguson's mentor. He's working on his Masters in Social Work at Roberts Wesleyan and wanted to say thank you. "I've never seen a therapy dog before. I've never seen a dog reach out and touch children like this dog."
At School No. 29 they've seen Anissa and Indigo perform miracles. Indigo does everything from selecting books to read to calming kids down.
Anissa says "We have a lot of kids that have tantrums I guess so to speak. And you know are on the floor crying and upset and Indy can sense that and will just go over to them and sort of hit them with her nose and lick them and they automatically calm down and it makes my job 100 percent easier because I don't have to go through all that trying to calm them and de-escalate them where she can do it immediately. Then after they're calmed we can sit and talk about what's happened."
Anissa Libardi and her Therapy Dog Indigo are News 8 Golden Apple Award winners. You can read the letter we received from Keniel nominating them below.
Dear News 8,
Social Workers play a very important role in all schools. School social workers bring unique knowledge and skills to the school system, and assists children in overcoming various barriers such as emotional, behavioral and social problems, that makes it difficult to reach their full potential in their classroom, home and community. My name is Keniel Ferguson, a MSW intern student from Roberts Wesleyan College.
Mrs. Libardi is my field supervisor at school #29. She is a school social worker who goes above and beyond her role. Not only does she help kids, but she also uses Animal Therapy approach to engage children and foster their emotional needs. Mrs. Libardi's partner is a 70lbs black Labrador, her name is Indigo. She is a fully trained therapy dog, which gives comfort and joy to the hearts of children of all ages at school 29. If a child is having a bad day, Indigo would bring a smile to that child's face by snuggling with the child and give loving kisses them. Indigo also help children with expressing themselves, by talking to her and sharing various situations and stories that have happened to them. Indy loves when children read books to her, and dress her up for Halloween, Easter and Christmas.
There are so many stories I can give you about Mrs. Libardi and Indigo, but it would be best for you to come and see for yourself. I'm Keniel Ferguson, and I proudly nominate Mrs. Anissa Libardi for the Golden Apple Awards.
Student, Roberts Wesleyan College