In conjunction with National Volunteer Week, Guiding Eyes hosted its first Raiser Celebration Day on Friday, April 21st at the Training School in Yorktown Heights, NY.
Turnout was impressive, with 117 Guiding Eyes puppy raisers and family members arriving from Virginia to Ohio and regions in between. The weather cooperated with sunny, blue skies and temperatures in the low 70’s. Guiding Eyes couldn’t have ordered anything better for an April day in New York.
This educational celebration was split into morning and afternoon sessions. Activities were sprinkled throughout the campus from the Carriage House and Kennel to the Nature Path, Gazebo and Alumni Hall. Raisers were given more of an inside look at Guiding Eyes and connected to the mission on a deeper level through talks on Genetics and the Breed Evaluation process, a Q&A station about the Pathfinder and Special Name programs, House Manners exercises, and Dog Training demonstrations. There’s great pride in knowing you are making a profound difference in the life of someone experiencing vision loss. Raisers participated in interactive activities that promoted blindness awareness through White Cane demos, a Juno walk, a braille station, an adaptive equipment table, and Supported Leash Walks under blindfold partnered with a Guiding Eyes dog. Graduates rounded out the sessions with an insightful panel discussion with graduates Karen Dewing, Liz Suarez and Linda Ingraham.
Feedback from attendees, staff and volunteers who assisted, continues to be tremendously positive. So many expressed their appreciation for the planning involved and the opportunity to strengthen the connection between puppy raisers and Guiding Eyes. We thank the Puppy Program staff as they recharge after organizing such an awesome event and are so grateful for the enduring partnership with our puppy raisers.
As always, we especially want to thank our Puppy Raiser Community! Whether you were able to attend the festivities or not, we appreciate all you do. We couldn’t do what we do without you!