GDUI Announcement

GDUI Announcement

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

February 15!

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,, 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

experienced significant

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: 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

tax returns.

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 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

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

Like and visit us on Facebook:

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

Enjoy the GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio Mainstream, at8:00 p.m., EST,

every Friday of every month, here:

Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here:

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

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