The voice of the student body

The Dial

The voice of the student body

The Dial

The voice of the student body

The Dial

Club Spotlight: Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Giulia Sorvillo and Donia Karandikar help wash the dogs at the Yorktown Guiding Eyes for the Blind facility. After they washed the dogs, they gave them treats.

Early this year, students piled into room G112 excited to learn about upcoming events for the Guiding Eyes for the Blind club and what they can do to be more involved in the up-and-coming club.

Regarding how the club leaders feel, club leader Carly McKirgan said, “We are so happy that we get to share our club with the Hackley community and we get so excited when our committed members are as excited as us about helping guiding eyes!”

Club members travel to Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, NY once every month to help wash the dogs. This is important because the dogs there only get washed four times a year, and volunteering their time allows the dogs to get washed more often and helps the employees with washing the dogs quicker.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind is a non-profit organization founded in 1956 by Donald Z. Kauth. They train guide dogs to assist visually impaired people. Each year there are approximately 500 puppies bred at Guiding Eyes and roughly half of them will become working dogs.

Club Leader Donia Karandikar said, “These dogs are very important to the people who receive them because having a guide dog can greatly impact a blind person’s life and make everyday tasks much easier than before.”

Guiding Eyes provides specially bred Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds. The most common breed is the Labrador Retriever which can be placed in any environment due to their versatility.

When guide dogs are born, they begin training immediately. The dogs are born in the Whelping Kennel facility of Guiding Eyes for the Blind which is located in Patterson, NY. The first and most important part of a guide dog’s training is socialization. Trained volunteers foster the dogs to begin this socialization process. Every day, volunteers engage with the dogs, strengthening the link that is necessary between guide dogs and their human companions.

The Guiding Eyes For the Blind club at Hackley is run by juniors Alessia Sorvillo, Giuila Sorvillo, Donia Karandikar, and Carly McKirgan. The goal of the club is to work with Guiding Eyes to help our community and provide aid to the organization in any way they can. This includes washing the dogs, raising money for them, and collecting things such as old towels and dog toys to donate to the shelter.

The first time the club visited the facility in Yorktown, ten members vacuumed and washed the cars, creating a clean environment for when the staff transports the dogs.

Explaining this experience, Junior Fox Quattrone said, “At first it was kind of gross to scrape dog hairs from the vans, but then everyone really got into it and it was really fun to work together for a good cause.”

Junior Jasper Quattrone attended this event and said, “It was a cool experience working together with my friends to help the organization. Washing the vans was fun and I learned a lot about working together from that experience.”

Similarly, Junior Annabel Previdi said, “It was fulfilling and rewarding to clean the vans and then see the dogs after which let us directly see who we were helping impact.”

Due to the limited space in the washing room, only six club members are allowed to attend the dog-washing sessions. Due to this rule, at their last event they were only able to bring two members since there are four leaders, but going forward, the leaders plan on taking turns attending the events so that they can free up more spots for their members to attend.

On December 9th, they visited the Yorktown facility and were able to meet many of the dogs, learn more about the goals of the organization, and wash some of the dogs.

“At our last event, we washed around eight dogs and learned more about the shelter and their goals. We got to take a tour of the kennel and got to learn how to wash them,” said Donia.

An event at the center occurs once every month and the club meets beforehand in G112, on day six during the first half of lunch before their next upcoming event. They discuss upcoming events and their plans such as bake sales and dog toy drives. Their next club event is February 3rd where they will visit the Yorktown shelter to wash the dogs.

“We hope to have a bake sale in the future to raise money to buy toys, blankets, and towels,” said Donia.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Dial Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *