CNIB volunteer puppy raisers lined up with their guide dog puppies for a picture at CNIB Nova Scotia's Annual Community Meeting

CNIB honours exceptional volunteers for changing what it is to be blind

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(HALIFAX – Oct. 8, 2019) The CNIB Foundation Nova Scotia honoured 14 exceptional volunteers today at its annual community meeting. 

Thirteen volunteers were recognized for their dedication to raising, obedience training, and socializing guide dog puppies – a 24-hour-a-day, 365-days-a-year commitment.

"In addition to providing safe and loving homes during the puppies' first year, these extraordinary volunteers have been responsible for setting CNIB Guide Dog puppies up for success," says Pamela Gow-Boyd, executive director for the CNIB Foundation Nova Scotia. "The first puppies to be raised in Halifax are now graduating and being matched with their handlers in communities across Canada – thanks to our amazing puppy raiser volunteers here in Halifax."

CNIB’s Outstanding Volunteer Award recognizes exceptional service; defined as consistent, selfless giving of time and effort to Nova Scotian's who are blind or partially sighted fully participate in life. This year, the award is shared by each one of CNIB’s volunteer puppy raisers: Alice Aylott and Andrea Giusto (Potter), Christina Bowie (George),Yuko Imai (Rhonda), Dawn MacNeil (Ray), Elaine Mattatall (Dunstan), Alicia Newton (Marion), Dan O'Brien (Lewis and Luna), Maja Packer (Lily), Michelle Peddle (Weasley), Patti Sullivan (Daisy), and Jill and Chris Wagner (Eric).

CNIB presented its Holly Award to a woman who is passionate about raising the profile of sports for blind athletes as well as her efforts to improve fitness opportunities for Nova Scotians who are blind or partially sighted.

Since 2013 Jennie Bovard has volunteered with Blind Sports Nova Scotia – first as Treasurer then as Director of Communications. An athlete herself, Jennie is a runner and plays goalball. She started and continues to run the tandem bike club, matching cyclists with sighted volunteers. She also provided training to the Canada Games Centre staff to help make their fitness classes more accessible to individuals who are blind or partially sighted.

In 2011, CNIB established the Holly Award as a tribute to the memory of Holly Bartlett. Holly Bartlett was a remarkable woman. She was bright, talented, funny, independent, and she had an incredible zest for life. Holly loved to laugh, and she never let sight loss hold her back from living life to the fullest.

“Like Holly Bartlett, Jennie is a very independent young woman who leads by example and inspires others,” says Ms. Gow-Boyd. “Jennie lives life to the fullest and is very passionate about helping others with vision loss do the same.”

CNIB also presented its Outstanding Community Partner Award to Dalhousie University’s School of Social Work and College of Pharmacy for their significant contributions to ensure that Nova Scotians living with sight loss continue to live independent and holistic lives.

About CNIB

CNIB is a non-profit organization driven to change what it is to be blind today. We deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower people impacted by blindness to live their dreams while tearing down barriers to inclusion. Our work is powered by a network of volunteers, donors and partners from coast to coast. To learn more or get involved, visit cnib.ca. 

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