Dear GDUI Members and Friends,
Membership Committee Update and Request:
Our Membership Chairperson, Dixie Sanderson reports that our drive to
enroll more of you as GDUI members is going well. One of our
affiliates has already turned in their membership roster – Thank you,
Pine Tree Guide Dog Users, so much! – and the rest of you are working
to meet our deadline for submitting your rosters, on or before
One “glitch” that has cropped up involves our online membership
application form. Apparently some of you have figured out a way to
bypass the step of completing the form, i.e., you’re skipping forward
to PayPal and paying your dues – Thank you for that! – but bypassing
the membership application altogether. You guys are pretty clever (Not
even our web master has figured out how you are doing this…), but your
action (or lack of it) is causing poor Dixie huge head aches and
leaving her e-mail inbox bursting at its seams. Please complete the
membership application form! The application includes important
information that we need to maintain our membership database and
allows us to confirm or correct the information we already have on
file for you. Thank you for taking the time to complete this important
The deadline for renewing your membership for 2017 or joining us as a
new member is February 28! Visit this web page,
http://guidedogusersinc.org/join/, or call our Secretary and Office
Manager, Sarah Calhoun, at 866.799.8436, to join or renew your
membership. We are excited about our growing membership, and we
welcome each and every one of you!
Are you beginning to think about the summer conventions? All of us on
GDUI’s board — and especially members of Lillian Scaife’s GDUI
Programs Committee – are beginning to make plans in earnest, to think
about topics and speakers, products and auctions, and luncheon menus
and our Louisville Ladies! While we develop the criteria for utilizing
the proceeds from the 2016 Summer Drawing Fundraiser with the goal of
assisting at least one first-time convention attendee to attend the
GDUI Convention in Sparks, Nevada, another ACB affiliate, the Alliance
on Aging and Vision Loss (AAVL), has already developed guidelines for
assisting an ACB member who has experienced recent vision loss and is
55 or older, to attend the ACB convention, which occurs concurrently
with ours. The 2017 ACB Conference and Convention takes place from
Friday, June 30, 2017, through Friday, July 7, 2017, at the Nugget
Casino Resort, 1100 Nugget Avenue, in Sparks, Nevada. GDUI’s
convention will begin, as usual, with the opening of our GDUI Suite,
on July 2, and conclude with our caucus and business meeting following
the GDUI Luncheon on July 5.
To be considered for the AAVL stipend, you must meet the following
criteria: · You must be age 55 or older.
- You must have been diagnosed as legally blind or have
vision loss within the last five years.
- You must complete an application and include a reference letter
from your eye care specialist or a community professional who is aware of your
vision loss. The application and details are available here:
https://www.acb.org/node/2994. Applications are due by March 15.
Current AAVL members are not eligible to receive the stipend.
- If you are awarded the stipend, you must register to attend
the ACB conference and convention (We would love to welcome you to our
GDUI suite as well!). The stipend will be applied to reimburse ACB
convention expenses when
you arrive at the convention. · If selected to receive the
stipend, you must register to attend all AAVL
Plans for disseminating a GDUI stipend are underway and news about
this year’s first-ever GDUI first-timer’s award will be shared via
these announcements and PawTracks as soon as they are finalized.
April 15 is really not all that far away, and so we share the
following information about assistance which the Internal Revenue
Service makes available for people with disabilities, including those
of us who are blind and visually impaired who may need help completing
IRS Services for People with Disabilities
Hundreds of accessible federal tax forms and publications are
available for download from the IRS Accessibility Web pages. Visit
IRS.gov and select the Forms & Pubs tab to access the Accessible Forms
and Pubs link. You can choose from large-print, text, accessible
PDFs, e-Braille, or HTML formats that are compatible when used with
screen readers and refreshable Braille displays.
People who are unable to complete their tax returns because of a
physical disability or are age 60 or older may get assistance through
the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for
the Elderly (TCE) programs. You can find a nearby VITA or TCE location
by using the available locator tools or calling 1-800-906-9887.
Publication 907, Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities,
explains the tax implications of certain disability benefits and other
issues, and is available at www.IRS.gov.
If thinking about taxes – or anything else – leaves you feeling
stressed, maybe you and your dog could use a break! The organization
called Nature for All has created a useful online resource to help you
connect with accessible parks and braille trails and sensory gardens
that can provide meaningful respite and rejuvenation in The great
Provides a directory of all the existing Braille trails and sensory
gardens in the world, listing them by state and by country. Evan
Barnard, who founded the organization and created the online resource,
estimates that there are 140 Braille trails and sensory gardens in 17
countries around the world, including 89 in the USA.
The website also provides information and links for schools and summer
camps for people who are blind and other educational resources as well
as organizations for blind sports. If you know of any additional
Braille trails or sensory gardens that are not listed on the website,
or if you have other outdoor
and educational resources to share, please email Evan at
Remember, there’s a GDUI Board Meeting on Saturday, January 28,
beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (10:00 a.m., Pacific
Standard Time), at this conference call number: 712.432.0075,
Conference Code 919245-Pound. We hope to find you there!
Until then, find comfort and strength in your relationship with your
guide, and be kind to one another. Thank you for your friendship and
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
Deanna Noriega, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436
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