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September 7, 2016 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Pacific Beach Hotel
2490 Kalakaua Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
Linda Collard

Jeanne TorresJeanne Torres, Executive Director of Guide Dogs of Hawaii

Guide Dogs of Hawaii (Adaptive Aids, Canines, & Advocacy for the Blind) is committed to a strong and practical philosophy relating to mobility and effective communication. Based upon the resources available and the positive outcome of blind individuals using aids and equipment to enhance confidence and independence, GDH believes that given suitable aids and equipment, proper training and opportunity, blind people may be able to lead meaningful lives by fully participating in career opportunities, family, community and social activities.

BIO: Jeanne Torres joined Guide Dogs of Hawaii (then known as Eye of the Pacific, as General Manager in 2005. Four years later, she was promoted to Executive Director. Since joining, she has strengthened guide dog services by including optimal wellness care for active guide dogs and securing safe and comfortable retirement homes for retiring guide dogs.

Her research on available resources and her in-depth outreach efforts to blind individuals of all ages drives Jeanne’s ambitions to seek ways to allow Hawaii’s growing population of blind individuals to lead meaningful lives. From a pilot program, Jeanne launched Get Ahead with Technology, a program that works closely with the Department of Education, providing technology and training to help level the playing field among blind youth and their peers.

Jeanne’s accomplishments include serving as an officer in the Hawaii National Federation of the Blind, where she served on the Committee on Accessible Transportation, and on the Committee for the Protection of Service Animals. Jeanne wrote the bill to protect guide dogs against attacks that was enacted into Hawaii state law in 2002. That same year, she was awarded the Blind Professional of the Year by the Lions Club.

Prior to her employment with Guide Dogs of Hawaii, Jeanne utilized her liberal arts degree in administration for the State of Hawaii Department of Labor. From 1989 to 2005, as an office manager and bookkeeper she coordinated the States Guide Dogs program, administered pre-paid health and temporary disability laws and reviewed employee complaints and resolved or referred them to the Enforcement Division.

Becoming blind herself in 1996, Jeanne has developed an insightful understanding of what it takes to live a different way of life. What it takes for a blind adult to keep one’s independence and dignity and equally important, how to develop a blind child so they can grow up with independence and confidence. Jeanne’s passion is to speak for the blind and obtain the means that will enable them to lead productive lives.