Lone Star College goes beyond the classroom to assist students

LSC and K-9 Tater Tot
Lone Star College Police Department recently started its first Therapy Dog Program as a proactive resource for mental health. Pictured are LSC Police Officer Emily Tait and K-9 Tater Tot.

The Lone Star College mission of student success is more than just academic achievement; it’s ensuring students’ needs are met so they can focus on earning a college education.

“Lone Star College is committed to offering programs and services that help our students focus on their education, understanding the need to balance education commitments with other responsibilities outside of school,” said Gerald F. Napoles, Ph.D., LSC vice chancellor, Student Success. “We want our students to know there are resources available to help them persevere toward achieving their goals.”

The LSC Police Department recently started its first Therapy Dog program as a proactive resource for mental health, crisis intervention and victim assistance. Officer Emily Tait and K-9 Tater Tot, an eight-month-old Mini Labradoodle, have begun visiting various LSC locations to improve mental and emotional health, foster connections and provide support during challenging times.

“With his friendly appearance and demeanor, the Lone Star College Police Department hopes the inaugural K-9 is approachable, particularly for people uneasy around dogs,” said Tait. “We wanted to be considerate to all.”

During campus visits, Tater Tot and handler Tait engage students and employees in a relaxed manner, aiming for meaningful interactions while keeping things lighthearted and enjoyable.

“I want people to bond with him and get to know his personality; he’s an amazing dog,” said Tait. “I tell people he is ‘everyone’s dog’ because I want them to understand he is here for everyone to enjoy and benefit from his visit.”

The LSC Police is committed to seamlessly integrating the Therapy Dog Program into the college atmosphere. Tater Tot was selected based on his health, temperament, hypoallergenic coat and suitability for therapy work. Follow LSC’s first K-9 via Instagram @LSCtatertot.

LSC offers various programs to help students achieve their goals, CARE for Completion and counseling services, including Communities in Schools (CIS) Houston. 

“Lone Star College not only has affordable and quality educational opportunities, but we also have resources to help students who are struggling with tough choices between paying their rent and electric bills or keeping consistent meals on the table,” said Ashlie Resendez, LSC associate vice chancellor, Student Engagement.

The LSC CARE for Completion program provides comprehensive support to help students meet their basic needs. They can receive assistance with food, clothing, employment, mental health, housing, child care and academic support. These resources give students access to affordable and reliable options to help them thrive personally and academically. Learn more at LoneStar.edu/CARE.

Communities in Schools is another community-based program that partners with LSC to help address low completion rates nationwide. CIS is a dropout prevention program that provides various services like supportive guidance and counseling, health and human services, family involvement, cultural enrichment, college readiness and career development. The goal is to support struggling LSC students by empowering them to stay in school. Learn more at LoneStar.edu/CIS.

Lone Star College enrolls over 80,000 students each semester providing high-quality, low-cost academic transfer and career training education. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to support student success. Mario K. Castillo, J.D., serves as Chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area. LSC has been named a 2023 Great Colleges to Work For® institution by the Chronicle of Higher Education and recognized by Fortune Magazine and Great Place To Work® as one of this year’s Best Workplaces in Texas™. LSC consists of eight colleges, seven centers, eight Workforce Centers of Excellence and Lone Star Corporate College. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.

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