The Halls Come Alive in Summer

 In News & Events

Guiding Eyes students Dylan, Raven, LeAnna and Nathan with their guide dogsThe enthusiasm is contagious when high school and college bound youth arrive on our campus.  As their dreams of independence are realized, we are reminded of the importance of all we do and the impact we can make on someone’s life.

Twenty-year-old LeAnna Abeyta lost her sight from a congenital eye disease.  New guide dog Velour will accompany her back to college, where she studies music and ultimately plans to obtain her PhD.  LeAnna plays 18 musical instruments and her extraordinary voice was heard throughout our halls daily.

Nathan Bullock shared his praises of Guiding Eyes’ Special Needs program while speaking at graduation.  Norrie’s Disease triggered his progressive sight and hearing loss; he now aspires to work as a teacher and assistive technology instructor for the deaf-blind.  He regularly beta tests iPhone technology and provides accessibility feedback to Apple.  Nathan bonded quickly with black Lab Hardy.

Guiding Eyes grads Dylan and black Lab Lyle Raven Tolliver is 19-years-old and studying philosophy and law.  She was ecstatic to have the opportunity to work in Manhattan with Guiding Eyes dog Kipling, believing that, “If you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere.”  Much of Raven’s free time was spent reading and writing in our assistive technology center.

Sixteen-year-old Dylan Shanaberger lost his vision three years ago from Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.  Dylan’s optimism and excitement were palpable; he feels better prepared to study business in college with Lyle by his side.  Dylan spoke for several of his classmates at graduation when he said, “With our friendly, smart and loyal guide dogs, we are capable of doing anything… well – except maybe for driving.”

These are just four of the young graduates who captivated us this summer.  Their new guide dogs will enable them to live freely and to fulfill their education and employment goals.  We’re inspired by the promise of their bright futures.