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Helping Hand: Sound Effect, Episode 59

ShenandoahNPS via Creative Commons

"Sound Effect" is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. For this episode, the "Sound Effect" staff brings us stories of helping hands.

First, we meet James Ha. He is a psychologist and an animal behavior expert at the University of Washington.  He says dogs and humans co-evolved over tens of thousands of years. That has given dogs a unique ability to assist humans, which is why we see service and therapy dogs helping people in more and more settings. We then learn how some of these dogs comfort and soothe vulnerable people reliving traumatic events during difficult legal proceedings.

Also, it’s probably a little hard to imagine now, but back in the early 1990s, few outside of geek circles or universities had an email address or much knowledge about the Internet. KPLU’s Paula Wissel shares a story about how homeless people weren’t just some of the first people to start going online, but how they also helped teach others how to use it as well.

Then, a group of Washington State University students are trying to come up with the best way to design a home for a homeless person. Part of their research included spending a night in Tent City in Seattle. We talk to one student from that group who told us why this project has special meaning for him.

Next, producer Katy Sewall takes us to Interagency Academy – often referred to as “Last-Chance High,” where they practice a curriculum called REACH. The program is designed to help kids who have been exposed to childhood trauma and are at risk for big problems down the road.

Finally, KPLU’s Ed Ronco takes us to Shine. Shine is a store that sells merchandise designed to make life a little easier for cancer patients.