We are delighted to introduce this new series of stories from IB World magazine that bring to life the wonderful initiatives undertaken by IB students and educators from around the globe. The stories focus on community activity and really bring service learning to life. Follow these stories on Twitter @IBWorldmag #IBcommunitystories and share your own great stories and experiences by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alyson Galow wants to reduce the amount of time visually impaired people have to wait before receiving a guide dog
Currently there are not enough guide dogs to meet the needs of the millions of visually impaired people in the US. On average, a person would need to wait nine months before receiving a guide dog.
This inspired IB Diploma Programme (DP) student Alyson Galow, from St George’s School in Washington, US, to raise a guide dog puppy for the charity Guide Dogs for the Blind as part of her Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) programme.
Limerick, a golden Labrador, attends many of Alyson’s classes and school outings. She has taught him basic obedience skills as well as how to keep calm in all situations and how to relieve on command. This gives Limerick the necessary skills needed before formally training to become a guide dog.
Alyson also designed informative school posters and has inspired others to take action. “There are a few parents that are interested in joining Guide Dogs for the Blind’s puppy raiser programme, and have recently started training and education,” she says.
“When I go out in public or on outings with my puppy, people generally will ask me about the program and sometimes about how they may get involved. I explain to them how it makes a difference in our community.”
She adds: “Much of my community is proud of me for working on such a project. They know that it has the capabilities to change someone’s life and because of that, they love the project.”
Alyson says she learned that raising a puppy takes a lot of hard work and time. “I have learned that, by raising a puppy, you have the capability to positively change someone’s life forever. You have the chance to give a person independence.”