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Sam’s Story

Sam’s a 6th grader.  He had no interest in being in an after-school club. In fact, he didn’t like being at school. He didn’t have friends and while at school spent most of his time with his aide. He preferred to stay home and play video games.  He lived with his grandmother and she is the one that signed Sam up to attend an 8 session after school Club Comfort.

So you can only imagine how excited Sam was to be there on the first session of the club. He was not only extremely uninterested in the club, he was downright rebellious and combative.  He disrupted the first session shouting out things like “This is stupid” “I don’t even want to be here”.  He was asked to leave early at the first session because he was so disruptive. But he was given another chance.

The second session he sat outside of the circle of the other club participants with his aide and with his arms crossed in defiance. He had a few outbursts but was not asked to leave.  He did not pay much attention nor did he participate in discussions. But he did stay and watch (with his arms crossed) and he did make a plaque for someone he and his aide had identified to be in need of comfort.

By the fourth session Sam was sitting in the circle with the group. Not participating in the discussions but his arms were no longer crossed and had followed through on his tasks since the second session.

Fifth Session – Sam walked in the room asking if it was Club Comfort day. When he was told yes, he said “good”.

Seventh Session - The following question was posed to the group during that day’s lesson: “how would you feel if you didn’t get to see your family for a long time”. Sam – YES SAM - raised his hand and answered: “sad, disappointed, discouraged”.  

Eighth Session – Sam arrived early in the room and helped sort out the plaques by color (wow).  Group discussion that day was talking about when people don’t feel appreciated, they can be lonely and sad.  The kids were prompted to think of people who help them every day but may not get much appreciation. Sam’s hand popped up!  And he offered up “The Janitor”.  And that’s who he made a plaque for that day.

Club Comfort’s after-school club focuses on creating a safe and trusting environment where kids are comfortable collaborating and sharing with each other. Witnessing Sam move from combative, to attentive to participating to initiating was the most amazing thing to see. 

Even his grandmother reached out after the program to thank the club facilitators for making such an impact in his life.  When Sam was asked if he would do the club again he answered, “Yes I would.”




Betsy is a daughter, wife, mother and accountant.  Her own daughter was a student at Sandy Hook Elementary on the day of the tragedy and loved the visits with the Comfort Dogs that followed.  The year after the tragedy her daughter began reading to Addie Comfort Dog each week at school which brought her much comfort.  Betsy wished her daughter could spend more time with Addie.

So when she heard a Club Comfort was starting in town, she jumped at the chance to attend with her daughter.  It was a mother-daughter club and it gave them the chance to get together and help others.  A few months into the start of the club, Betsy’s sister was diagnosed with cancer.  At the same time, her husband’s heart was failing, and he was put on a pump and the heart transplant list. Club Comfort became a place for her to find hope. It was filled with friends who cared and offered love and support to her as she was facing these challenges.  Each month Betsy and her daughter would find others to comfort while the club was comforting them.

It's been over two years since Betsy started attending the club.  She and her daughter are still active and her husband is thriving with a new heart. Unfortunately as of the writing of this, Betsy's sister's cancer has metastasized and her prognosis is dim.  “I don’t know what I would have done these past two years without Club Comfort” said Betsy. “It brought me friendship, comfort and support during times when I can barely keep my head above water.  It also gave my daughter an outlet for getting through these tough times and taught her how to reach out and care for those hurting. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”



“This was an amazing experience for children, staff and families. We need to do more of this with children.  This kind of “work” is so valuable. Parents are so busy making ends meet and pressured to make sure children are academically ready for school, character education in the home is not what it used to be. Many parents commented on what a great program it was and that the students enjoyed delivering their plaques. We were able to comfort such a wide range of people… young and old, near and far. Quite powerful. And I truly think students saw how collectively we made such a difference.” 

Teri A -  3rd Grade Teacher, Orange CT


“As facilitator of the Regional Crisis Team for Northern Westchester and Putnam Counties, I have worked extensively with the Comfort Dogs in our crisis deployments.  When I think back to my personal work with the comfort dogs, I have never seen anything quite like the connections that they develop so quickly with the students and staff members in schools. And when I think about the effect that they have on people who are sad or who have suffered a significant loss, I can think of no better organization than Inspiring Comfort to be in school districts and to help students before a crisis should occur or during or after. I have had the joy of having Club Comfort in some of our schools in our district and it’s been thrilling to see how our students and staff members have responded in such a positive way.  These programs have changed the way we respond to crisis situations. “

Lynn A, Asst Superintendent NWP BOCES, New York. 


“As part of our faculty staff development day, we offered a 1 hour Project Comfort session.  The session was filled to capacity as Mary took us through the Lessons from the Comfort Dogs and equipped us to comfort those around us.  Each person left having made new connections and created heartfelt plaques for each other.  I would definitely have Inspiring Comfort do another session for us soon.”    

Lisa B. , School Social Worker 


3rd Grade Students - Project Comfort Activity Feedback

  • “I learned that it is very nice to care for others and that whenever someone is feeling lonely you should care for them.”
  • “I learned that no matter how far away you are, you can still make someone’s day. Even with a piece of wood. That is what I learned.”
  • “I learned that sometimes you have to be uncomfortable to give comfort. Also it feels good to give something to someone who needs comfort.”
  • “I learned that you might feel nervous to comfort someone but in the end you’ll both feel good.”
  • “What I learned is that it made me feel happy inside and that doing a little thing for someone can make a person feel happy.” “I learned that making someone smile, it makes you smile. It shows you that happiness is in one small smile.”
  • “I learned that even if you don’t have a plaque to give to them it still cheers the person up just to see that you came to visit.”
  • “I learned that comforting people makes you feel good.”
  • “If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have comforted anyone. Thank you so much.” “I learned that there’s a lot of people who need a lot of comforting.”


High School Students - Club Comfort Feedback

  • “I love helping people in need and  I hope that we can meet more often and even outside of school so we can help as many people as possible. Everyone deserves help when they need it the most.”
  • “I love the fun, comfortable environment, connecting with others and spreading love and joy.”
  • “Club Comfort is a great way to relax and think about others every once in a while.  Making these plaques is helping to make a lot of people feel better. Even better, it makes you feel great. I love hanging with the dogs too.” 
  • “Delivering the plaques in person is teaching me how to interact with people needing comfort. I am also learning the importance of remembering those who we’ve lost and those who have lost someone.”
  • “Club Comfort really makes others feel comforted and brings people together.”
  • “Club Comfort is a great time to be with friends and I also love it when the comfort dogs come. I love the happiness and good feeling I get when making plaques for others.”