[gdum-l] Minutes of GDUM Meeting
deann.elliott at gmail.com
Sun Apr 1 23:26:12 EDT 2012
For those of you who were not able to join us last week at the spring GDUM
meeting in Burlington (and for those of you who were present), Please find
below the minutes for the meeting.
I've truly enjoyed serving as Secretary this term, and am looking forward to
continuing my involvement in the group. Thank you to all of my fellow
officers who have worked so hard and to our new officers who were elected!
DeAnn Elliott and Emmy
Minutes of Spring 2012 Meeting of Guide Dog Users of Massachusetts
This year's annual spring meeting of GDUM was held at the Burlington
Marriott Hotel on March 23rd, 2012. As is our custom, it was held on Friday
evening as part of the annual conference of the Bay State Council of the
Blind. There were 18 participants. Officers present included Carl
Richardson and DeAnn Elliott. Kim Charlson and Nancy Jodoin were not able
The evening began with welcoming remarks by outgoing President, Carl
Richardson, followed by introductions of members present. Carl presented
the Treasurer's report and informed the group that we have 70 members, with
approximately $500.00 in the GDUM account. The group has purchased the
domain www.gdum.org and hopes the next Executive Committee can develop a
website for the organization.
Carl introduced Becky Barnes, National President of Guide Dog Users Inc.
Gdui just finished its membership/dues drive and is Celebrating its 40th
anniversary. The organization has 567 members, and Massachusetts is one of
the largest affiliates, representing about 10% of the total membership.
President Barnes said that at the national level, all offices are currently
open and they are also seeking two new members for the Board of Directors.
There is still time to run for office, and she encouraged GDUM members to
visit the GDUI website for information about how to apply.
There's a lot of work still to be done for guide dogs. Recent advocacy
efforts have focused on work with the Department of Transportation. Denial
of access continues to be an issue, and she cited some recent examples of
cases that were successfully resolved. Although it is not uncommon for
cases to take nearly a year to be resolved after an initial filing of a
complaint with the Department of Justice, she encouraged members to make the
effort when there's a violation. For assistance, please visit the GDUI
website, or you can call her or speak to the Advocacy Director.
Some members reported that their cds for "Paw Tracks" were arriving in the
mail damaged, and members were encouraged to get their copies digitally if
Carl introduced Marie Hennessy, Chair of the Nomination Committee for new
GDUM officers. All positions are for two year terms, and three of the four
current officers are not seeking re-election. Kim Charlson agreed to run
again in her position as Treasurer. Marie thanked outgoing officers and
presented the slate of nominees for the next term:
President Karen Nagel
Vice president Brian Charlson
Treasurer Kim Charlson
Secretary Amber Pearcy
There were no nominations from the floor and all nominees were elected.
Congratulations to our new officers!
Carl introduced our speaker for the evening, Ms. Haben Girma, who is a
second-year student at the Harvard Law School. Ms. Girma, who is also deaf,
gave an interesting and humorous presentation about her training at the
Seeing Eye and her daily experiences with her dog Maxine. In summary, Haben
allows friends and family to call the dog's name in order to get her
attention when someone is calling her, and this practice has not interfered
much with performance and focus. It is possible for guide dogs to be taught
commands to assist as hearing dogs, but Haben got her dog primarily for
additional safety when walking and has not expected this from her dog,
although Maxine has picked up some things naturally, like alerting Haben to
the presence of someone knocking at the door.
Haben provided candid answers to a number of questions from the group about
the ways she handles discipline challenges as a deaf dog handler, the
technology she uses to communicate in class, the way in which she utilizes
the support of services like DBCAN, life at Harvard, the techniques she uses
to cross streets with her dog, and so on. Haben shared some ways in which
her dog has made challenging social situations more comfortable. Haben, who
is considering a career with the Federal Government, is interested in Civil
Rights law and education.
The meeting adjourned to a social networking session with light refreshments
and an opportunity to talk with our speakers.
Minutes submitted by DeAnn Elliott
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