The Just Me Project
Do you have now, or have you had, an emotional connection to an animal or pet?
Do you talk to your animal in a different voice than you would people?
Have you ever felt that an animal was a part of what keeps you healthy or happy?
The Just Me Project is one of several structured programs designed to build on coping skills and engage participants in reframing their experiences. Through the innocent voices of the animals, we discover our strengths, build resilience, and transcend and transform hate, intolerance, disability and grief. Becoming resilient is a journey from victim to hero, from experience to understanding to imagination and then to effort. The Just Me Project material serves as a tool for preventive intervention by using a children’s book about a cat, and a workbook based on the reality that we all speak to our pets in a different voice. Hence the project is able to reach beyond assumptions and barriers to initiate a dialogue about vulnerability and pain.
Are you the hero of your own story? Our mission is to help people become heros in their own lives, neither defined nor constrained by disability or circumstance. We envision families, schools, health care providers and communities working together to promote resilience, social and emotional learning, and the conversations about our feelings as we learn and live together. In our vision, children and those who love them have the tools to tell their stories, and share their learning, knowing that who they are is recognized, appreciated and encouraged.
To achieve this mission, our project uses the voices of Henry, the three-legged cat, and Dolly, the dog who feels invisible, to help both child and adult recover a perspective of innocence and a sense of their own capacities. Through the voices of these animals, we emphasize the essential lessons that if you cannot do everything that is no excuse for doing nothing; that hate is learned; that hard things do happen but do not define us; that each of us is unique and therefore necessary, and that as we learn to express our feelings we also learn to choose responses.
Our aim is to help the 9.4 million children with chronic illness, the families of returning veterans suffering from both visible and invisible wounds, and all who have faced loss, by linking them in an engaging community and enabling them to help each other and themselves.