By Jennifer Bernstein
GDB's Campus Volunteers/Guest Relations Manager
In January of 2010, we launched a new program called "Good Dog!" - the aim of which was to reach new groups of young people and introduce them to dogs, the organization, blindness, and how any of those concepts might apply to their communities and future careers. We partnered with Terra Linda High School’s AVID program, which supports high school Juniors and Seniors who are the first in their families to be college-bound. These young people learned about safe interactions with dogs, training methodologies and responsible breeding of dogs, in addition to meeting with GDB graduates to discuss blindness and access issues.
One particularly memorable day was one of the rainiest in February, when about ten dogs were brought into our board rooms to teach the students a little bit about dog training using a clicker. Many kids had never walked a big dog on leash before, much less worked with clickers, and by the end of the session some of them had really shown a talent for dog training! Some kids were shy, unsure, even afraid of working with large breed dogs, and even the most unsure student that day was able to make strides in her ability to communicate with her canine charge.
Many, many GDB staff took time out of their busy days over the course of five months to work with the students and provide unforgettable educational experiences for them. As many of them go on to college we hope that they will remember us and consider us in their futures - for members of their communities who might benefit from our services, for careers, for volunteering, or for whatever inspires them. They certainly inspired me!