Monday, July 18, 2011

Congratulations to Our Puppy Raising Youth Scholarship Winners!

Annually, Guide Dogs for the Blind awards scholarships to puppy raisers in their senior year of high school. This year, 19 raisers submitted applications, all of whom have outstanding scholastic achievements and community service experience within Guide Dogs and their communities.

For 2011, we were pleased to award four $1,000 scholarships totaling $4,000. Congratulations to our winners:

Elizabeth Kaufman with yellow Lab puppy at beach
Elizabeth Kaufmann
Elizabeth, a Southern California native, has been raising Guide Dogs since she was 9 years old. She has raised four puppies as well as puppy sat countless others. Throughout her years of service to GDB, Elizabeth has earned the 4-H Golden Clover Ironstone Concours Service Dog Scholarship as well as the Presidential Gold and Lifetime Service Awards. She has served as treasurer, vice president, and president of her puppy raising club. In addition Elizabeth was able to combine her passion for medicine and service to others when she was selected for the two-week, 80-hour internship in the GDB California Campus Veterinary Department. She came home with a new proficiency and the understanding that the impact her work will have on enhancing the independence of people who are blind.

Elizabeth balanced her lifestyle of raising Guide Dogs with a rigorous academic schedule. She participated in California Scholarship Federation, National Honor Society, was an officer in Mu Alpha Theta, and was part of both the Health and Medical Occupations Academy and SOCSA (South Orange County School of the Arts) during her time at Dana Hills High School. She graduated in June as a valedictorian with AP Honors with Distinction. Elizabeth will be attending UCLA to pursue a career in medicine.

Kayla Hufford with yellow Lab puppy
Kayla Hufford
Kayla, of Newport Beach, California, started raising puppies when she was 11 years old. Over the past six years, she has raised 5 puppies with her 4-H Paws for Independence Puppy Raising Club. Two of her dogs have become breeders, two are guides and her last puppy was recently career changed.

Kayla has taken on many positions in her puppy-raising club, including: hospitality, secretary, treasurer, vice president, president, and is currently a co-president of her club. Kayla is a part of the National Honor Society and the Invisible Children Club at her school, as well as an Athletic Council Representative for Girls’ Track and Field. Kayla writes letters and sends care packages to soldiers that are in Iraq and Afghanistan, has helped teach disabled kids to ride horses, and spends her free time riding horses and playing with her pet dog. Over the summer of 2010, Kayla was selected to be an intern in the Veterinary Clinic at the Guide Dog campus in San Rafael for two weeks and got to spend her time helping out in the clinic and with all of the dogs.

Kayla will be attending Washington State University in the fall and will major in animal science, with the plan to become a veterinarian. She also plans to continue volunteering with GDB after she graduates.

Taelor Michehl with black Lab puppy
Taelor Michehl
Taelor, of Sacramento, California, was 8 when she decided she wanted to raise a puppy, though her parents said she had to wait until she was 12. At 12, she began attending the weekly meetings of a puppy club in her area and she was hooked. Over the last six years, Taelor has raised five dogs, started a sixth, and is currently a puppy-sitter, providing “puppy boot camp” for the dogs in her club as she prepares to attend college in the fall.

As a puppy raiser, Taelor participated as a junior leader in her club, organizing events, leading meetings, and sending out weekly emails informing the club of outings as well as including weekly training tips. She was also able to talk frequently about Guide Dogs for the Blind and her puppy raising experience through her participation in competitive speech and debate, and interviews with local news stations.

Taelor has participated in a national speech and debate league, competing at the national level; AWANA ministries, earning her Citation Award; and community service, making heart shaped pillows and blankets for the cardiac patients and premature babies of her local hospitals.

This fall, Taelor will be attending William Jessup University as a freshman, majoring in psychology and music, with a minor in Bible studies and theology with plans to eventually receive her Certificate in Guide Dog Mobility from San Francisco State University.

Devin San Jose with two yellow Lab puppies
Devin San Jose
Devin, of Alameda County, California, is currently raising her sixth puppy. Raising puppies has reinforced her passion to serve others. In addition to puppy raising Devin had the opportunity to serve as an intern on the GDB California campus last summer. She was able to narrow her focus of potential careers to working with physically disabled people.

Devin has been privileged to serve as a team member and leader on a Mexico Mission Team for four years and is currently in Malawi, Africa as part of a mission team helping to establish micro-businesses in impoverished areas. She worked as a volunteer on a campaign for a U.S. Representative through Generation Joshua. She was a member of Know Me Service Club and participated for three years in the Homeland Security Institute Leadership Camp sponsored by Sandia National Labs.

As a home-schooled student, Devin was able to take college courses and earn college credits while completing her high school career with 4.69 GPA. Devin plans to spend a year playing soccer at Las Positas College before transferring to San Diego Christian College where she will major in kinesiology.

Honorable Mentions
Alyssa Gagnon
Chelse Bulthuis
Russell Bryan

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