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First Fridays program to feature leader dog 'puppy raiser'

First Fridays LogoRELEASED: Feb. 18, 2011

EAU CLAIRE — A March 4 presentation titled "Leader Dogs for the Blind: Being a Puppy Raiser" will continue the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's First Fridays program for senior citizens.

Karen Voss will discuss her experience with Leader Dogs for the Blind, one of the largest guide dog schools in the U.S. The puppy counselor for Western Wisconsin, Voss has raised 19 puppies, working for a year socializing and teaching the basics to each dog before it returns to Leader Dogs for the Blind to receive specialized training to become a service animal.

A free continental breakfast will precede the formal program at Christ Church Cathedral, located on the corner of Lake and Farwell streets in downtown Eau Claire. Doors will open for breakfast at 8:30 a.m., and the presentation will begin at 9 a.m. For the safety of the program's senior citizen audience, the event will be canceled if the Eau Claire Area School District has canceled or delayed classes due to hazardous weather.

First Fridays occurs on the first Friday of each month October through May, with the exception of January, at no cost to the senior community. Those who have season passes stamped each month will be eligible for a grand prize drawing at the May presentation. The program is funded in part by the UW-Eau Claire Foundation Community Outreach Program for the Arts.

Now in its ninth season, First Fridays is coordinated by Jennifer Brockpahler of the UW-Eau Claire Activities and Programs office and is hosted by Christ Church Cathedral. Scott and Heather Kirby are First Fridays' community partners. The mission of First Fridays is to provide no-cost entertainment and educational experiences for senior citizens of the extended Chippewa Valley community through shared community and university sponsorship.

For more information about the program or to be placed on a mailing list, call 715-836-2787 [ARTS] or visit the First Fridays website.

-30-

JS/DW

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