Why CNIB Leaves Me Flat

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Jim Sanders, national CNIB president. I doubt that Jim actually hit ‘send’ himself. This e-mail was soliciting money. It was probably spun out by the CNIB fund raising elite PR machine to everyone within the CNIB data bases, including clients. I don’t fault any organization for being creative with fund raising initiatives. This thing? It offended me to the point where I wrote Jim an e-mail letter this morning. Let me explain the nature of ‘Jim’s’ request.

The e-plea was colourful and filled with lovely photos of guide dogs and blind people with guide dogs. the header stated, “Harnessing Independence begins with your generous support”. It went from bad to worse by asking the question, “How much is your Independence worth to you? Dear Helen, close your eyes for a moment and imagine that you’ve lost your sight”  Hmm, Jim. You’re too late, done deal, been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I AM blind! Then, to really annoy me, it went on to claim that “37 % of Canadians would sell everything they owned to keep their sight.”  I don’t know or care if this is statistically valid. What I DO know, is that these kinds of claims propagate the erroneous assumption that blind people are miserable with their lot. Hey Jim, I’m OK being blind, my life is not horrible, so don’t yammer this defeatist nonsense which only entrenches public misconception about Persons With Disabilities. As for the clever references to guide dogs… “and when we’re ready, some of us may even get a guide dog” …blah, blah, blah, resplendent with pics of the dogs with CNIB clients who are in the CNIB  photo op pocket,  I could vomit. You and I both know (though apparently you’re still milking the sensibilities of a confused public who do NOT KNOW)  that CNIB does NOT train guide dogs nor do they financially support guide dog training. Why go down that murky road, Jim? Why not spend some of your PR money  on CNIB client services (ya gotta know that expensive glossy hard copy of this pitch for donations will be sent out to thousands of Canucks).  I walked into my local CNIB office a couple of weeks ago looking to BORROW a tape recorder. My two recorders are broken, and my Hadley School for Blind Spanish assignment is due. Did I get some of that CNIB ‘support’? No, Jim. I left with bubkis and went home to e-mail Senora Good-Krochuk that I am tostada with my Spanish until further notice. When someone stopped me on the street later that day and asked, “Is that a CNIB dog?”, I promptly took 15 minutes of my time to explain to the deluded individual that ” THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A CNIB DOG!!! CNIB HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GUIDE DOG TRAINING!!! THEY DON’T PROVIDE A SCINTILLA OF THE STUFF TO THE BLIND THAT THE PUBLIC ERRONEOUSLY THINK THEY DO!!!!” Sigh. Jim, I am so dissapointed with this sordid pathetic e-mail. You can bet that I am going to encourage people to respond to it’s lack of respect for people like me…happy, hard-working, tax-paying citizens who happen to be blind. And how, you ask Jim? I’m going to suggest to them that they make their charitable contributions elsewhere...like any guide dog training school, and my pick would be, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind in Manotick Ontario (613-692-7777 link on blogroll).  maybe they should e-mail you about their displeasure too…. jim.sanders@cnib.ca oops, I think I just did. Have a nice day.


3 responses to “Why CNIB Leaves Me Flat

  1. Kris Kernohan

    I came across your website when looking for information about how and where guide dogs are trained because I am currently volunteering to puppy-raise for Pacific Assistance Dogs and wanted to compare the programs.

    I have to say your blog is nothing short of HILARIOUS and simultaneously informative. Thanks for posting your thoughts on the CNIB… sure makes me want to look into what they ACTUALLY do with their money before making any donations!


  2. Thanks Kris, I love to inform, reform, perform, but deffinitly not conform.

  3. I know this was almost a year ago (happened upon this entry while searching for talking GPS), but I just wanted to say, glad we’re not the only ones left with our jaws left agape after every CNIB e-mail. We just don’t feel our experiences as a young family are ever addressed. It seems like all they want to do is sell products. As well they seem mainly interested in preventing blindness more than supporting the existing blind community, which, in many cases, being blind was never something one could prevent.

    I’m glad you’re recommending folks support organizations that actively help. We’ll do the same.

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