Leader Dogs for the Blind was founded in 1939 by a group of Michigan Lions.Their goal was to train dogs to lead the blind and to provide facilities and means whereby trained dogs could be matched to a blind master. The training and executive offices are located in Rochester, Michigan. Each year over 270 students attend a 26 day residential training program to be paired with a guide dog. Since being founded over 12,000 blind people have gone thru the program.

When not training on the streets of Rochester or other nearby communities, the student and their Leader Dog can practice on their on-site training course. Instructors reinforce lessons to student and Leader Dog alike, and build on each subsequent session to prepare the student and dog for their final street encounter.

Currently, Leader Dog is the only facility in the Western Hemisphere to teach Deaf Blind students to work with a guide dog. There is no charge for a Leader Dog, or for room and board and travel to and from the campus for students living in North America. It costs the school approximately $20,000 for each team.

Leader Dogs is supported by contributions from the public-Lions, Lioness and Leo Clubs,sororities, various public-supported agencies and private individuals.

Leader Dog is recognized as a "Best in America" Charity by the Independent Charities of America (ICA).


Blind Outdoor Liesure Development

It all started when when a Frenchman Jean Eymere, a ski instructor in Aspen, Colorado lost his sight through diabetes. A few years after losing his sight, in 1969, he wanted to ski again. His friends and colleagues at the ski school assisted him and guided him safely down the mountain.

This experiment was so encouraging, that the Aspen Ski School invited a group of blind persons from the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind in Colorado Springs to share their new learned skills.

In 1973/74 during his term as District Governor of District 27A2 Lion Dick Kapp formed Milwaukee Bold.

In 1977 Southeastern Wisconsin Lions Bold, Inc. was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the State of Wisconsin.

What started out in January 1974, nervously, with 5 blind people wanting to go downhill sking has grown into an average of 26 different summer and winter activities. Almost every other weekend some event is scheduled for the VIPs.

BOLD is open to all legally blind people. Event participation is free. The organization is managed by a Board of Directors of ten, of which six have to be Lions or Lioness Club members.

New VIPs find out that not all is despair and that there is some fun left in life. Through the Bold activities they increase their confidence levels and become more productive members of our society. Especially young VIPs benefit greatly by participating in Bold events.

Today Southeastern Wisconsin Lions BOLD Inc. is by far the largest and most active BOLD organization in the USA. Something that all Lions and Lioness of Districts 27A1 and 27A2 can be real proud of.







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