Sunday, August 13, 2017

They're off! New puppies begin their year with adoptive families.

It's a big and exciting day when our puppies are ready to leave their mothers and begin their year with their adoptive families!  By the age of 8 weeks they have already been exposed to various stimuli, walked on different surfaces and stairs, and begun to explore the world.  Now they are ready to begin learning the skills that will prepare them to be guide dogs in the future.  Many of them will be raised by university students at various academic institutions, where they will learn to sit quietly in class. 
Last Friday puppies were distributed to their adoptive families at a special event on campus.  Before they left, some of our older, more experienced dogs showed these little puppies how it's done!  
Good luck to puppies and families, and we hope to see all these puppies as full-fledged guide dogs in two years! 
Ready to begin their year together: Puppies and adoptive families

Hobby, Ran Gornie's guide dog, with Teva, the puppy that will be raised by Ran's daughter

Orna and Hilla with puppy and guide dog in training: Showing them how it's done!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Getting to Know and Appreciate Our Volunteers

Volunteers have always played an important part in the daily life of the Center.  They help in the kennels and kitchen, provide leisure activities for course participants, help in the office, guide tours for visitors, run errands, and ride with the Canvelo cycling clubs.  Some raise puppies and foster pension guide dogs.  They are everywhere every day, and they deserve our thoughts and appreciation!
Gal Lee Danon, who is in charge of volunteers, decided it is time for us to show our appreciation of the work our volunteers do and to get to know them better.  She prepares a short PowerPoint presentation about one or two of our volunteers to be presented at the monthly staff meetings.  The presentations show each volunteer, what they do at the center and outside it, their hobbies, and interests.  This month Gal Lee presented two of our volunteers: Nancy and Eyal. 
Thanks to Gal Lee for her important work and for the thoughtful way of getting to know our volunteers better! 
In other news, work on the construction has been renewed and is progressing rapidly.  Against the background of construction noise dogs are taken to train in the early morning to avoid the summer heat, visitors from Israel and abroad tour the center as families take their children on vacation, and a special summer course will begin next week with three experienced graduates receiving replacement dogs.  We wish everyone success! Drink lots of water, keep cool!   Here is a short video taken by Noach.  As you can see, despite the heat, life at the Center is thriving!







Tuesday, June 13, 2017

IGDCB Graduate Athletes Competing on Land and Water

Last Friday all three Canvelo clubs (Merkaz, Sharon, and Tzafon) took part in the first national championship competition for off-road tandem biking.  The race was held in the Grove for the Blind in the Ben Shemen Forest.    The race was organized by the Jewish Blind Institute and Canvelo and was sponsored by the Jewish Blind Institute, the Israeli Cycling Assosiation, the Israel Sports Association for the Disabled, and the National Insurance Institute.
The 50 tandem bike riders lined up at the starting line to begin the 9-kilometer race that took them through the forest along difficult routes that required not only stamina but extensive technical skill.  Riders raced up and down hills, along winding paths, and over rocky terrain that any cyclist would have found exciting and challenging. 
Trophies were awarded to the all-men and mixed couples who placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in three age categories: under 45, 45-60, and over 60. 
IGDCB graduates from all three Canvelo cycling clubs and their partners took home trophies.  Graduates who won places in the competition were Uri Basha, who completed the race first and won first place in the 45-60 men's category, Bracha Ben Avraham who placed 2nd in the over 60 mixed couples category, and Ruth Nachshon who won 2nd place in the mixed couples under 45 age group. 
And on the water…IGDCB graduate Achia Klein has also made amazing achievements in both international and local rowing competitions. 
Achiya Klein participated in the 2017 FISA International Para Rowing Regatta competition in Gavirate, Italy.  Achiya and Shay-Lee Mizrachi won the silver medal In the Mixed Co-Ed Four category, and Israeli rowers Shay-Lee Mizrachi, Simona Goren, Achiya Klein, Barak Hatzor and Leah Sas won the Bronze Medal.  This is an important competition on the way to qualifying for the World Championship.
IGDCB Graduate Achiya Klein with rowers and his guide dog Night

Cyclists at the Off-Road Tandem National Championship 

                                  


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The 5th MIssion to Poland

I am writing this week's blog after participating in the 5th Mission to Poland sponsored by the IGDCB who returned home yesterday after a six-day tour of historic sites .  The group included six graduates of the Center and their guide dogs and escorts, an additional blind participant and his escort, the tour coordinator, and guide.
During our six day visit to Poland we toured centers of Jewish life in Warsaw, Lublin, and Krakow, and visited  Treblinka, Majdanek, Auschwitz, and Birkenau.  Blind members of the group were able to perceive these places by touching and by listening to vivid descriptions offered by the guide and their escorts.  The group conducted a small memorial ceremony at the crematorium in Birkenau and  members lit a candle and read or recited names of family members who were murdered in the Holocaust.  The visit ended with the March of the living on Holocaust and Heroism Memorial Day on April 24th.  All of us felt that the visit was a difficult but meaningfuland   enlightening experience and that the six days that we spent together in Poland helped us to better understand this period in our history that was characterized by unspeakable evil conducted by the Nazis  as well as heroic deeds of Jews and those who aided them.

The group at Auschwitz with IDF Chief of Staff and IGDCB graduate Achia Klein

Remembering the victims at the memorial at Majdanek

The delegation marching from Auschwitz to Birkenau in the March of the Living


Friday, April 14, 2017

Chag Sameach!



We wish everyone in Israel and abroad a joyous Pesach holiday!  This week the center hosted many visitors who took advantage of the school vacation to arrive with families and children.  Visits took place against the background of the rapidly rising new kennel and puppy development center building under construction.

This week the six center graduates, their escorts and tour guide met for a one-day preparatory seminar at the Yad VaShem Museum to prepare for the 5th mission to Poland sponsored by the Center.  The group leaves Wednesday morning for a six-day tour of historical sites in Warsaw, Krakow, and other cities that will culminate with the March of the Living from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Holocaust Memorial Day April 24th.  

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Our Staff on a Day Off in Ramla

Ramla is a Jewish - Arab city only a half hour's drive from the Center, but it's one of those places in Israel that many people overlook.  On Wednesday the entire center staff took the day off for a guided tour of Ramla.  We soon learned that Ramla is a colorful multi - ethnic city with a fascinating history.
 We began the tour at the Great Mosque where our guide gave us a short history of the building, which was originally built as a Basilica.  We then continued into the marketplace where we tasted samples of some of the local cuisine.  From there we walked to the White Tower and then descended into an underground cavern where we rowed about in small boats beneath the arched ceiling.  By that time we were all hungry and so we made our way to a Bukharin restaurant to end the day with lunch.
Thanks to Efrat for organizing the fun day!  



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Purim Celebration at the Center

Each year at Purim the staff takes a couple of hours to dress up, goof off, and have fun.  This year's celebration began with a festive holiday meal prepared by Ruthi that was enjoyed by everyone.  After that the trainers stopped training, the kennel staff left the dogs to take an afternoon nap in their kennels, the office staff stopped answering phones and typing, and we all gathered in the auditorium as each member of the staff made an entrance in costume. 
Much of the party – which was meticulously planned and conducted by Efrat - was spent attempting to solve a mystery quiz that pitted our logic and mental stamina! 
The staff was transformed into clowns, Lego bricks, a pregnant nun, a bottle of ketchup, and other elaborate costumes. 

The three winners in the costume contest were the Community Service workers dressed as Dalmatians, Rafi dressed as Efrat, and Zipi dressed as Noach.   Many thanks to Ruthi and Efrat for planning and arranging a wonderful Purim celebration!