Youth Program Announcement

 In News & Events

Guiding Eyes for the Blind Announces New Charitable Initiative to Benefit Children with Vision Loss

 Guiding Eyes for the Blind Welcomes Applications for Specially-Selected Career Change Dogs Free of Charge Through New Youth Program

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY, Sept. 14, 2020 — Guiding Eyes for the Blind is pleased to announce a new initiative – the Guiding Eyes for the Blind Youth Program is designed to provide children who have vision loss with specially-selected career change dogs, completely free of charge. Parents or guardians with a child between the ages of 5-15 who has received a diagnosis of progressive vision loss are invited to inquire at youthprogram@guidingeyes.org.

Each dog will be primarily a pet in the household, providing the family with an opportunity to build the child’s confidence and understanding of the responsibility of what it is like to live with and care for a guide dog, should they choose to use a guide dog in the future. The program also welcomes the family to experience the joy and companionship that the dog provides.

“We are excited to offer families of children with vision loss the opportunity to experience what it is like to live with a guide dog,” said VP of Training Programs at Guiding Eyes, Kathy Zubrycki. “We hope that the Guiding Eyes for the Blind Youth Program makes the idea of caring for and using the services that a guide dog provides one day more accessible to children with visual impairments, and that they will one day come back to Guiding Eyes for their very own guide dog.”

The dog and training will be provided free of charge by the organization, while each recipient’s family is asked to provide dog food, shelter, and care in accordance with Guiding Eyes standards of care. The parent or guardian of the child will be the dog’s primary caregiver, and is responsible for the health and wellbeing of the dog including all necessary caretaking: feeding, watering, grooming, exercise, and more, while the child becomes accustomed to the companionship of their new best friend.

Unlike a guide dog, the career change dog is not trained to perform any guiding tasks or functions that a service dog has been trained to perform. Therefore, the Guiding Eyes for the Blind Youth Program 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.

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 Dog Application. Submit completed form by email to youthprogram@guidingeyes.org or by mail to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, attn: Youth Foster Program, 611 Granite Springs Road, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598.

Media Contacts:
Hayley Strichman | (212) 413-0856 | hayley.strichman@civic-us.com
Emily Litt | (914) 924-1094 | emily.litt@civic-us.com

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