In Depth: Therapy dogs, Press Club awards, and JBay

Segment One: Guest host Christine Devine fills in for Hal Eisner. She is joined by Retired LAPD Detective Gil Escontrias and his therapy dog Scout.  Gil founded Blue Line Dogs L.A. These are therapy dogs who go out to assist first responders who are dealing with trauma.  The dogs and their handlers also make preemptive visits to stations and dispatchers to keep everyone emotionally healthy.  Escontrias tells us about some of the events that have precipitated visits from his hairy therapy teams.

Segment Two: Christine shares video of the L.A. Press Club awards where she was awarded the President's Award for Impact on Media.

Junely Merwin joins Christine to talk about her background as a young mother, former foster youth and advocate for other foster youth. Junely was a teen mother in foster care and managed to overcome her challenges to gain a full-ride scholarship to Cal State Fullerton.   She is using her experience to help raise awareness of the challenges facing foster youth, and especially young mothers in the foster care system through her advocacy with various organizations and her website   She believes that college can be a game changer for foster kids.

Segment Three: Merwin returns along with Jessica Petrass, an Associate Director of Education for John Burton Advocates for Youth – or JBay. The group works to provide better solutions for youths who are homeless or in foster care. Petrass says that only 10 percent of youth who have been in foster care achieve higher education by the age of 23.

She tells Christine that the nonprofit advocates for better laws for foster youth.   Petrass says JBay was involved in changing the law that now allows kids to stay in the foster system until age 21 rather than 18.

Petrass shares their website which is

Segment Four: Christine promotes the "What the Hal" podcast and we close with more photos from the Press Club awards featuring Tae and Tray Thompson. Former foster youth who’ve started their own nonprofit called "Twinspire."  They help to equip youth with financial literacy and other life skills.