NACURH Winner
Month: January 2019

NACURH, INC.

Community Service Program of the Month
Guiding Eyes for the Blind

School: The Ohio State University Region: CAACURH
Person in charge: Chloe Ittel Nominator: Zachary Johnson

Target Population: Time Needed to Organize:
Number of People in Attendance: 45 Date(s) of Program: January 20th, 2019
Number of People Needed to Organize: 3 Cost of Program: $100
On-Campus Population: 15000 Chapter Size: 40

Origin of Program:

As Resident Advisors (RA) in Taylor Tower, our Community Development Plan (CDP) requires every RA to complete one faculty connection from Ohio State’s campus, within the academic year. Chloe Ittel decided to use her faculty connection to promote a community service organization on campus. With help from Honors Community Advocates Hailey and Shanna, Chloe brought in Guiding Eyes for the Blind. The Ohio State University advisor for this club is a political science professor, Christopher Gelpi. Along with Gelpi, multiple volunteers for the organization came to help with the program and explain their jobs in Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

Word Count: 101


Please give a short description of the program:

The program began with Gelpi introducing himself and his wife, who works closely with Guiding Eyes for the Blind. After the introductions from all of the volunteers, Gelpi proceeded to describe the process a dog goes through from start to finish. Once a breed of puppies is identified as a breed for Guiding Eyes, in the first couple weeks and months, the puppies are prepped. This includes getting them use to various surfaces, surrounding and other stimuli. After a few months, they move on to “puppy trainers,” who help train the dog with the essentials. These include teaching good social skills and house manners, give the puppy a variety of experiences and educate themselves on puppy training. Now, the puppy will go through a few tests to be cleared for training. Training is split into 4 phases, each with a specific purpose. The first phase consists of the guide dog learning the basics of clicker work and targeting behaviors. Phase 2 is a continuation of Phase 1, but also includes addressing any residual behavioral problems (such as animal distraction or scavenging for food). Phase 3, the dogs are now asked to perform learned tasks on their own with less assistance from the trainer. Praise and hundreds of repetitions in different situations are required before the dog really understands what is expected and can respond reliably to the cues provided. And lastly, phase 4, the dogs refine their skills. Gelpi also included the differences between, emotional support animals, service animals and therapy animals. At the end of the presentation, residents were able to go around and pet the dogs in training and ask specific questions.

Word Count: 275


Goals of the program:

The goals of this program were very clear. The first and main goal of this program was teaching residents of what Guiding Eyes for the Blind is. Every Ohio State student sees a service dog or dog in training on campus every day. However, very few people know the organizations that train these dogs. The second goal was to teach residents how to get involved in the process of guide dog training. As seen in the presentation of the full training of a service dog, there are many instances residents can get involved in the process. They can be puppy trainers and care for a dog every day, volunteers at facilities, or even just be a puppy sitter to give trainers a break.

Word Count: 124


Positive and lasting effects of the program:

The lasting effects of this program might not be seen at surface area, but are extremely important. As residents get involved, they are participating in something that is bigger than themselves. They a helping someone in need, specifically someone in need of a service dog to help them see. There are also minor lasting effects. This includes how you should approach service dogs in training and giving residents a chance to play with puppies (often attributed to stress relief). This program opened the eyes of everyone there, on ways they can help a good cause while at Ohio State.

Word Count: 100


Short evaluation of the program:

This program was very successful. The turnout of residents was amazing. It seems that most programs only include a handful of residents, around 15 residents, but this program included around 45 residents. All of these residents stayed for the whole program and listened to the presentation. Afterwards, I heard multiple residents asking how they can get involved and that they were interested in becoming a trainer. Chloe made an excellent choice to do this program and her donation of $100 to Guiding Eyes for the Blind went very far. She also included the HCAs, since one of the HCAs, Hailey, is a puppy trainer. This gave residents a chance to meet their HCAs more.

Word Count: 115


How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

This program can be adapted on almost every college campus. Gelpi, the presenter, expressed the importance of allowing dogs to experience different environments and stimuli, and a college campus is perfect for this. Dogs will have to navigate large groups of people, buses and staying still/ quiet during classes. Another perfect reason why this program (or the Guiding Eyes for the Blind organization) should be on other college campuses, is that college students love dogs. This mainly comes from stress relief, but dogs often remind people of their homes since they might have a dog at home. I hope every campus brings the Guiding Eyes for the Blind to them.

Word Count: 111



Date of entry into database: 2019-01-30 19:49:43

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