SERVICE FOR SIGHT | JOINING FORCES
Service is at the heart of our chapter’s ideals. Our passion for service began in 1936, when a blind member, Ruth Billow, Eta-Akron, petitioned for Delta Gamma to adopt “Aid to the Blind” as our official philanthropy. Ever since, Service for Sight has been at the heart of our philanthropy, as it supports five schools across the United States for the visually impaired. Under Service for Sight, we also support other North American organizations that promote sight preservation and aid children and adults who are visually impaired.
Service for Sight has many branches, including Joining Forces and the Golden Anchor Program. The Joining Forces program allows Delta Gammas to help soldiers and veterans who have become visually impaired during combat. Our chapter supports the Joining Forces aspect of Service for Sight by writing cards, making blankets, and tabling on campus to support our servicemen and women. The Golden Anchor Program involves working with senior citizens to help preserve eyesight, as the likelihood to develop visual impairments increases with age. Our members help the senior citizens of the Athens-Clarke county community by volunteering at a local retirement home.
Hands-on service is extremely important to our chapter members. Each semester, we have a week filled with service called “Do Good Week,” which helps us live out the Delta Gamma motto to Do Good. This week is filled with volunteer activities that help spread awareness for not only people with visual impairments, but also to promote eye health. During this week, we write thank you cards to military men and women, make interactive crafts for the children at the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta, GA, and have local eye doctors come and give presentations about eye health. These are just a few of the ways we Do Good by volunteering in our community. Beyond Service for Sight, many of our members are involved with other service organizations such as UGA Miracle, Extra Special People, Relay for Life, UGA HEROs, and many more!
Another prominent way our sisters are involved with Service for Sight is through the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. Several of our sisters over the past year have raised and trained guide dogs for this Foundation. These women socialize and teach basic obedience to these dogs from the age of about 10 weeks to around 16 months. Each year, a member of the sophomore Member class raises a puppy in the house! This past semester our sister Holly had the honor of raising Giselle in the Delta Iota house! Giselle was originally in training with the Guide Dog Foundation to be a service dog, but recently she was matched with a detection dog program for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Virginia! She will be evaluated
to see if she is fit for their explosives detection program, and if she passes she will remain at ATF until she graduates in the spring. We will miss Gigi, but wish her the best of luck in her new program! While raising is an essential aspect to the success of these dogs, they can’t do it all on their own. Around 40 women are involved with the Guide Dog Foundation as campers, in which they help raisers with their dog when they might be unavailable. Guide dogs are present at pretty much every Delta Gamma event!
As Delta Iota sisters, we produce 18% of the service hours of the entire organization, ranking #1 in service in Delta Gamma and receiving a service award through UGA Panhellenic as well! This past fall, we had our first annual socially distanced Slices for Sight drive-thru event that successfully raised over $10,000 in 3 hours! This is the most Delta Iota has ever raised in one event with half of the proceeds supporting Service for Sight directly and the other half supporting the Guide Dog Foundation. During the spring semester, we hosted our first ever DG Diner philanthropy event that served over 500 people (drive-thru style) and raised over $9,500 for Service for Sight and the Atlanta Center for the Visually Impaired.