At Guiding Eyes for the Blind, we know that the relationship between a guide dog and its adult owner can be life changing. We also believe that the bond between a child experiencing vision loss and a non-working dog can help prepare them for a working partnership as they grow older.
That’s why we are so pleased to announce the Guiding Eyes for the Blind Youth Program. This new program, offered free of charge, provides children who have vision loss with specially selected career change dogs – our dogs that are no longer pursuing a career as a guide. This partnership will help children build a strong foundation to be a future guide dog handler.
These wonderful dogs will provide the child the opportunity to build self-confidence by learning how to care for a dog, while also experiencing the sense of ownership and companionship that only a dog can provide. These amazing animals will give your child boundless, unconditional love and encouragement while also providing a sense of purpose and responsibility. The Youth Program teaches both the child and their family to know what it is like to live with and care for a guide dog, should they choose that route to independence in the future.
If you are the parent or guardian of a child between the ages of 5-15 who has received a diagnosis of progressive vision loss and would like to apply, please download the Youth Program Application. Submit completed form by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Attn: Youth Program, 611 Granite Springs Road, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598.
- The Youth Program dog and training are provided free of charge by Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Families receiving Youth Program dogs are required to provide the necessary care and supplies to maintain the dog’s health; veterinary assistance and counseling services are not included in the Youth Program.
- Unlike a guide dog, the Youth Program dog is not trained to perform any guiding tasks or functions that a service dog has been trained to perform. Therefore, the dog is not a service animal and is not eligible for access rights granted by the ADA to places of public accommodation. The dog may travel as a pet to places where pets are commonly allowed but may not be certified as an emotional support or therapy animal.