Being matched with a Seeing Eye Dog is a dream for many people who are blind or have low vision. Most young people have to wait until they are older to be matched, but now, a unique youth program is giving them a chance to understand what working with a Seeing Eye Dog is really like.
Thanks to the compassion of kind supporters like you, an innovative new program has been specially designed to help young participants understand what is required to work with a Seeing Eye Dog and see if this is the best fit for their needs. The program will also help improve independence, orientation and mobility skills.
Seeing Eye Dogs instructor Brooke, and Darren, orientation and mobility specialist, led our first Youth Camp for six young people aged 12-18 with low vision last September, a core part of new Seeing Eye Dogs youth program.
Each young person was matched with a paw-some pal of their own to experience working with a dog guide and improve their mobility skills. Over a week, they learnt how to work with their new companion, including how to groom, feed and maintain a Seeing Eye Dog's training.
"Watching our participants build friendships was lovely to see. One young person said it was the best camp she had ever been on. Being with other people who are blind or have low vision, made her feel accepted and that we understand her low vision, something she hadn't experienced before," said Brooke.
The youth program is going from strength to strength and the next Youth Camp has been scheduled for early 2023.
If you know a young person who is blind or has low vision and would like to experience the freedom and joy of working with a Seeing Eye Dog, you can submit an expression of interest for the youth program to [email protected]