Izzy 11Alive’s “Puppy with a Purpose” visits VRS

We were fortunate to have a visitor here at VRS today…Izzy from 11Alive.  He is a 5 month old male Labrador who joined the 11Alive staff back in February.  He appears each Wednesday on the show, arriving at 5:30AM to the studio.  Izzy joined our  local NBC station who is one of only a handful of NBC stations across the country participating in NBC’s TODAY Show program ‘Puppy with a Purpose’.

11Alive is working with the Guide Dog Foundation who will help them raise and train Izzy for about 16 months.  In the end, Izzy will become a guide dog for an individual who experiences low vision and is legally or totally blind.  To learn more about Izzy joining 11Alive take a look at this video:  https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/meet-izzy-11alives-puppy-with-a-purpose/85-523447701

Our own instructor here at VRS, Jamie Marks, has a guide dog that also came from the Guide Dog Foundation .  Her name is Frenchie and she and Jamie have been together 5 years this July.  There are a few mis-conceptions about a guide dog and a lot of unknown etiquette tips that VRS can share.  For instance, the purpose of the dog is to only guide the person around obstacles and indicate the location of steps and curbs, they may even be trained to find a few specific objects such as “Find the door” or “Find the elevator”.  But, the person actually directs the dog and must possess their own orientation and mobility knowledge.  In fact, the dog doesn’t know when it’s safe to cross the the street, he/she merely stops or tries to move the person if they see a car approaching too close.

A few etiquette tips from The Guide Dog Foundation include:

  • DO NOT pet or make eye contact with a working guide dog, especially when the dog is wearing it’s harness.  The dog is on duty and should NOT be distracted as the person is depending on the dog to do it’s job
  • Speak directly to the person not to the dog or another person accompanying the visually impaired person
  • Be specific when giving directions such as go left or right
  • DON’T grab the arm of a visually impaired/blind person to guide them, allow them to take your arm and walk a half-stp behind to anticipate curbs and steps.

While there are a number of types of service dogs, a guide dog is the top elite position.  Not all service dogs, of course, can be guide dogs.  Guide dogs are specially bred and trained for their positions.  Being a puppy raiser for a guide dog or service dog is a very honorable and fulfilling position.  So, if interested, contact the Guide Dog Foundation for more information.

It was a pleasure having Izzy visit VRS today and Frenchie certainly enjoyed meeting him.  It was nice for all of us who hadn’t met Frenchie as a puppy to see and hear how he started.  We’re sure Izzy appreciated meeting Frenchie too so he could see what his future holds for him!

Happy Memorial Day

“May we never forget freedom isn’t free.”

VRS will be closed for Memorial Day on Monday, May 28th.  As you enjoy time with friends and family, please take a moment to thank those who have given so much to our country.  

 Shared by our Executive Director, Sharon Croyle:
“My now deceased Aunt Grace was an Army nurse.  She spoke of traveling on a hospital train with our wounded WWII soldiers as they traveled to Army hospitals or home.  I don’t think she ever thought of how much she meant to those boys.  But I know from stories about my Dad, also a wounded WWII soldier just how meaningful it was to him that those doctors and nurses healed not only their wounds, but their spirit as well.
 
Many serve and it is not always in combat.
 
Wishing you a relaxing and safe weekend”

A Published Celebrity here at VRS

We’d like to share a little news about one of our VRS family members, Nancy Parkin-Bashizi.  While those of us who work with her or are clients of hers already know how caring a person she is, we’re proud to share she’s been acknowledged in Our Town Monthly Magazine this month.  She is one of only 5 recognized in The Love Your Neighbor Project sponsored by Maryann Davidson PhotographyNeighbors Feed & Seed, and Our Town Monthly.

It is through the dedication of our teachers, such as Nancy, that we are able to assist individuals of all ages who are blind, have low vision, or are deaf-blind.  We provide access to tools and techniques for living independent, vibrant and productive lives once an individual’s eyesight is no longer able to be corrected with glasses, surgery or medication.  The loss of sight may be from an illness, accident or injury, a stroke, or simply aging eyes we may all experience one day.  VRS is available to assist and provide training in support with regards to daily living skills, orientation and mobility lessons, access technology training as well as job readiness preparation and practice.

As a non-profit 501c(3) organization, VRS operates on a tight budget and maximizes the revenue delivered in direct client services.  Unfortunately, vision rehabilitation is NOT covered by insurance.  In fact, if an individual has a heart attack or falls and breaks a hip, insurance covers their rehab.  But, have a stroke or accident resulting in vision loss requiring vision rehab…the cost is not covered.  While we work through various programs to assist individuals, funding is not always available to cover the expense of vision rehab. So, VRS holds various fund raisers to raise money to cover this gap in funding.

We’d like to invite you to our May 6th Dining in the Dark Event.  It is a unique sensory awareness experience that will give you a glimpse into the lives of those who are blind. Enjoy a culinary encounter while your table host shares their intimate journey of vision loss.  Tickets are $75 each and available online or just call us at 770-432-7280.

If you enjoy running or walking, join us at the 10th annual Spooktacular Chase 10K/5K, October 13, 2018.  This is a Halloween themed event so we’d love to have you join us all dressed in costume.  For more information on this even please visit SpooktacularChase.com.  Registration is open on Active.com now.

What’s on Your Plate?

From an anonymous submitter…

“The truth is that I have always hated talking about nutrition. This was mostly because I wasn’t good at it; I wasn’t one of those people who loved nutritious snacks and grabbed an apple out of the fridge if I was hungry. My mother made me cinnamon toast on white bread for a snack. My first instinct was always to grab potato chips or chocolate bars as snacks. After years of growing up with this pattern, how could I not be pounds and pounds overweight and physically weak. When my diabetic mother came to live with us, and she began struggling with all the repercussions of an unhealthy diet including vision and circulation problems due to her diabetes, I knew it was time to take a serious look at my own diet. Through Weight Watchers and a lot of family support, I have lost 75 pounds and am still on my way to my goal weight. Nutrition and exercise are no longer words I avoid.”

National Nutrition Month® is in March. It is a nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
This year’s theme is “Go Further with Food” and focuses on the many different lifestyles of Americans and specific food requirements for those lifestyles. According to registered dietician Jim White, of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there’s no one diet that is right for everyone. “It’s important to follow a healthful eating plan that’s packed with tasty foods and that keeps your unique lifestyle in mind,” said White.

For example, if you live an on-the-go lifestyle, like many Americans, it is important to plan ahead and pack fresh fruits or vegetables to eat throughout the day. Don’t assume that you can find the healthy choice you need at a restaurant nearby. Check the menu first.
Athletes should eat protein-filled food like peanut butter and yogurt, in order to have the fuel they need for their daily activities.
Students should turn to the healthy options in their school cafeteria like baked chicken and the salad bar. Avoid the popular favorites like French fries and other fried foods.

Vegetarians and vegans should include protein-rich foods like beans, lentils, nuts and soy products.  Because lifestyles vary so widely from person to person, White recommends seeking the guidance of a registered dietician to develop a food plan that’s right for you. Find a registered dietitian in your area by visiting www.eatright.org.

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