Our guest speaker for this evening came all the way from Michigan! She had already planned to be in North Carolina for our Mid-Winter Convention so we asked her to visit our club as well while she was here. Lion Beth Slade is the Director Of Philanthropy For Lions Engagement at Leader Dogs For The Blind.
Leader Dogs For The Blind was formed in 1939 when three Lions were looking for a way to help a fourth member of their club who was losing his sight. They sought out a dog breeder and asked if he could train a dog to guide their friend. It was a successful venture and eventually resulted in the creation of Leader Dogs.
There are approximately 1.3 Million people in the USA who are legally blind and there will likely be about 75,000 more this year. Guide dogs are also service dogs but they are trained in the specific service of guiding blind and/or deaf people. The Leader Dogs organization’s goal is to help people travel safely, confidently and independently. So in addition to training guide dogs they also work with blind people to train them how to use a white cane and have several other programs as well.
Leader Dogs For The Blind does not receive any government funding but are completely funded by donations from Lions Clubs like ours as well as other organizations and individual donors.
For the past several years our club has made higher than usual donations to the Leader Dogs organization. And there is never a charge for the clients so they depend on fundraising for 100% of their operating costs.
We can help by spreading the word about their services (especially on Social Media), connecting with local agencies, posting brochures, and of course by fundraising!
At the end of the meeting we made a $5,000 donation. This puts our club on the “Top Dog” list for the 3rd year in a row. We are proud to support this amazing organization and hope you will as well. You can learn more about them at LeaderDog.org.