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Greenwich Kids Gain Insight Into Guide Dogs

Students at North Mianus School got an in-depth look at what life is like for a guide dog and its owner when the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation brought its interactive "Watch Me Grow" program to the school Friday. Students Ignacio Garcia and Neha Iyer were helpers in showing what life is like for blind people.

"I have been lucky enough to be allowed in [North Mianus] to help out in first and third grade," said Alan Gunzburg , a Fidelco client. "Kids are able to see that blind people are different, but that they can do things everyone else can, too."

Jan Adams, youth coordinator for Fidelco, and Uoshi, her guide dog in training, opened the program by asking students what it means to be blind. She explained that being blind doesn't necessarily mean see nothing. Adams had the children cover their eyes entirely and then allow just a little sliver of light to show the difference.

"It is great because the children really get a good point of view of how guide dogs work," said Adams. "Now, when they see a guide dog, they know how to behave and what to do. And that is very important."

The "Watch Me Grow" program travels the country teaching young people about guide dogs, how they are trained and how the dog owners benefit. After each program visit, the students "adopt" a litter of Fidelco puppies and follow their progress through photos and email until they become guide dogs. In six years, the program has reached more than 40,000 children from kindergarten through high schools across Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Let's chat: Do you know someone with a guide dog? How has it impacted their life? Leave a comment below or send me an email at acorbett@mainstreetconnect.us .

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