Dear Guiding Eyes,
Illinois Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (IAER) is the state organization of professionals who provide education and rehabilitation services to people with visual impairments. Our group includes teachers of visually impaired, orientation and mobility specialists, rehabilitation therapists, university faculty, and counselors from across Illinois.
Each year, IAER presents awards to individuals who have excelled in their profession. Last year a new category was initiated entitled, “Community Partner – Above and Beyond Award.” It is meant to honor individuals, businesses or organizations in the community who through their efforts have provided unique opportunities for children or adults who are blind or visually impaired.
It is my pleasure to announce that Guiding Eyes for the Blind has been selected to be a recipient of this year’s awards.
Guiding Eyes has welcomed students from all across the state of Illinois to spend time at their facilities in New York to learn about guide dogs from start to finish. This year will mark our ninth trip to this program and75 students have participated in the experience.
During the weekend seminar, the students learn everything from the breeding of the dogs, the training during their first years, the application process and requirements for eligibility, and most importantly, the travel skills that individuals must have before being considered for training with a guide dog. Our students have consistently been warmly welcomed by all Guiding Eyes staff and given a thorough, hands-on experience that has had a great impact on their knowledge of guide dogs as well as provided a tool for making decisions about a guide dog in their future.
Susan M. Dalton, Secretary
Illinois Association for Education & Rehabilitation of the Blind & Visually Impaired