OUR MISSION

Hand2Paw’s mission is to provide a safe and supportive work environment for youth, ages 16-24, who are experiencing housing insecurity or foster care involvement, as a means of enhancing resilience, compassion, and connection with people, animals and the community of Philadelphia.

Hear from our interns on how working with shelter animals changed their lives

Supporting Youth Through Work With Animals

Hand2Paw supports young adults in developing tools to deal productively with life’s challenges and take an active role in building a compassionate community in their neighborhood.  Hand2Paw provides a safe and supportive work environment for youth, ages 16-24, who are experiencing housing insecurity or foster care involvement, as a means of enhancing resilience, compassion, and connection with people, animals and the community of Philadelphia. Hand2Paw accomplishes these goals by providing paid internships working with homeless animals as well as a curriculum of programming that enhances coping skills, emotional regulation, and healing using animal assisted interventions.  Our program focuses on social and work skills, such as: conflict resolution, financial literacy, self-esteem and self-efficacy, and job preparedness.  Hand2Paw is the only nonprofit in Philadelphia whose mission is to teach youth practical work skills in a trauma-informed, animal welfare setting.

Our Story

In 2019

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Hours working with shelter animals
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Youth received employment through our internship program
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Animals found loving homes

OUR WORK

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At first, just the paycheck. But later I cared about finding a home for each animal that was adopted. Hand2Paw has been more consistent than other programs. We made realistic goals and you didn’t waste our time. The program showed me that I can be committed to coming to work every day. It was a great atmosphere – there wasn’t too much stress. The internship showed me the positive results of me improving on my work skills.

Hand2Paw Intern

I view this program as different because I could feel the compassion and the genuine care for my success.

Hand2Paw Intern

I feel I have more confidence because I have maintained two jobs since being with Hand2Paw.

Hand2Paw Intern

I do believe that this program made an impact on me, a positive one, I will forever be changed because I went to this program. If you’re reading this and you work with Hand2Paw, Thank You.

Hand2Paw Intern

I thought that it helped that I was never quit on, I was always pushed to do more and that mentality that I always have to do more helped me in life.

Hand2Paw Intern

I feel my favorite thing about Hand2Paw so far is that it is a meeting space of healing & aiding the transitional periods of animals and those of humans, particularly youth. Hand2Paw provides an alternative to stressful shelters where animals & adopters aren’t moved by pity but rather compassion!

Hand2Paw Intern, 2019

Keep up with Hand2Paw Happenings

Students in Service

1st place winner of the National Students in Service Award

Do Something

Proud recipient of a Do Something Grant

NBC Philadelphia

Featured on NBC Philadelphia

USA Today

Featured in USA Today