It's been an exciting few months for participants of all ages at CNIB.
Ten young people were thrilled with the Odysseo Touch Tour Experience by Cavalia this summer, guided through a sensory experience, created especially for their needs. The children stroked the horses' soft coats, smelling their warmth, touching their feed and brushing and grooming the horses. They enjoyed the sounds and smells of a matinee performance, leaving with big smiles and a plush toy horse of their own. As one young girl said: "Sometimes I like to be with other kids just like me."
The Trio Bike was out and about all summer, offering rides to those who are unable to cycle on their own. Trained volunteer pilot/guides cycled around town on the Danish-built tri-shaw sharing the opportunity to "feel the wind in your hair".
During Bike Week, CNIB had its own Pit Stop in front of 1080 Portage Avenue with cyclists stopping by for refreshments and learning about the programs and services at CNIB. The Trio Bike also participated in the annual Ciclovia, a Spanish word meaning "cycleway".
The CNIB Walking Group, in tandem with sighted volunteers, were spotted enjoying the sounds of the Wolseley neighbourhood and a breakfast club started up.
Peer to peer counselling continues to support those new to the challenges of sight loss. The regular sessions are an important opportunity to listen, share, learn and build friendships.
The Youth Engagement Council hosted evening sessions for parents to share with other parents what it is for a child to lose their sight. As one parent said:
" Hi Ann, I know I have said this before, but I just wanted to say again your Youth Council does an excellent job hosting these parent panels. They are so well spoken and each one reminds me to have more grace, slow down and think a bit deeper. Kevin and l always go away feeling inspired (and) have good conversation after."
You can feel the excitement as CNIB participants arrive at the CNIB office ready to embark on another great outing. Many thanks to the great corporate and community leaders who donated tickets to the Winnipeg Goldeyes, the Blue Bombers, the Folk Festival and to Rainbow Stage.
The annual Bob Cameron Fishing Tournament, a fundraiser for CNIB, was another resounding success. Kudos to Brian Fawkes and Ken Curtis for a great day of fishing with proceeds going to CNIB programs.
September is Guide Dog Awareness Month. We now have eight pups raised by carefully selected loving volunteer Winnipeg families. The eldest, "Joycie and "Lulu", are nine months old. They are learning good manners, avoiding distractions and obstacles and walking longer distance without a bathroom break. In about five months, they begin intensive training. These specially bred and trained "Made in Manitoba" Guide Dogs will then be matched with a CNIB handler to enhance confidence, mobility, orientation and companionship.
CNIB fielded an energetic team in the annual United Way of Winnipeg Campaign Launch and Plane Pull. Due to the great folks at Red River College's Stevenson Aviation Field, participants had the opportunity to walk around and touch the Boeing 727, check out the cockpit and learn about the workings of a plane.
It continues to be an exciting Centennial Year for CNIB and we couldn't do it without you.
I look forward to sharing more news and progress with you over the coming months as we continue to change what it means to be blind.
Garry Nenson, Executive Director