Message from the President

Vision for the Future

Published in: Update - Issue 1 - 2012 »     Listen to Article ♫

Reflecting on the past year and all that we've accomplished together, I am reminded of the many amazing things about this organization. One of the most meaningful is the passion and dedication of the people who work so hard to support our mission. Every day our team members train and care for our dogs, instruct our clients, maintain our facilities, raise money to support our operations and fulfill many other equally important roles. Every day we experience the dedication of our board members, the generosity of our donors, the perseverance of our puppy raisers and the loyalty of our volunteers who work in a myriad of crucial roles. Collectively, about 1,100 individuals work to support our mission each year. That being said, I would like to start 2012 by thanking each of you for being part of the Leader Dog community and for your continued dedication. Before we look ahead to 2012, I would like to update you on some accomplishments at Leader Dog during our last fiscal year. "The Year in Review" on page 8 spotlights some achievements, but there was other important progress in 2011 that I would like to share. We have improved the quality of our dog training and client instruction by hiring a Director of Education and Training to implement programs that will advance our guide dog mobility instructors' skill levels. We've introduced formalized standards into our programs, including a rigorous interview process for apprentice instructors and obedience and socialization standards for our puppy raisers. We've become more efficient allowing team members to focus on their core jobs, involved more volunteers, engaged more donors, worked hard to reduce kennel stress in our dogs and held the best attended kids' camp since its inception! Again, kudos to all involved! So, what's our vision for the future? Together, we will continue this forward momentum by streamlining our priorities and focusing on key objectives. We are currently working on our next three-year strategic plan which will include input from many people devoted to Leader Dog. We've completed visioning sessions with team members; are conducting focus groups with our clients; are holding town hall meetings for volunteers, puppy raisers, and breeding host families; and are discussing key objectives and future strategies with our board of trustees. So, we will continue to embrace change, strive for excellence and provide highly-trained Leader Dogs to our clients. This will continue to be a collective effort—as Helen Keller said, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

Sincerely,

Susan M. Daniels