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MIRA Foundation USA

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Human Services

Mission: To provide eligible blind children between the ages of 11 and 16 MIRA guide dogs and training free of charge. We are the first organization in the United States that provides guide dogs to children under the age of 16.

Results: Blind children across the United States have benefited from our program and with their MIRA guide dogs have gained self-confidence and independence, developed responsibility in caring for their guide dogs and become more involved in the schools, communities and interact more successfully with their peers. Having a guide dog is a life altering experience for our young children at an age when social interaction is vital to healthy development. Go to our website www.mirausa.org and go to Success Stories to see what our young students say.

Target demographics: blind children

Geographic areas served: the United States

Programs: MIRA guide dogs and training to qualified blind children between the ages of 11 and 16 without charge.

Community Stories

46 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Mira Foundation has been a Blessing to Marie Villaneda. Her getting her guide Dog has given her so much more.

lvjulieboo

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Mira USA is an amazing foundation which assisted my daughter, along with many other children, in obtaining a guide dog!

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter was there for a Minth to train with her new guide dog and everything about the experience was amazing!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My granddaughter had a great experience at Mira and brought her first guide dog home! I look forward to seeing the impact on her as her independence grows.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Mira foundation USA is a first class organization that provides guide dogs to kids. Our daughter just returned from a month long training. Her confidence, independence and mobility are striking. Mira has created an option for kids who are considered too young by other organizations but are mature enough to have a guide dog. Our family is so grateful to the entire Mira family.
They treated our daughter so well, she did not want to leave!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

One of the best non profits around. The people involved and the things that they do for children is so wonderful

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a great organization! I absolutely love what they do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is such a great charity. MIRA USA changes the lives of blind children forever by providing them with guide dogs.

Donor

Rating: 5

Doing great things to help young children in the contiguous United States.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

MIRA is the first and only organization to provide guide dogs to blind children in the contiguous United States. I have met some of these children and their parents. They say the difference that a guide dog makes in their lives is immeasurable. How can one not support the ONLY organization to offer these children hope?

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MIRA is a wonderful organization who help fulfill a great need for blind children.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great organization. Only organization to place guide dogs with blind children living in the US.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It is a wonderful organization that brings blind children back into the social environment and also teaches independence and self-esteem. What a worthy organization and so glad to know about it. With the help of the guide dog, the children are provided a freedom and independence that they would not otherwise experience.

Elaine T B.

Board Member

Rating: 5

MIRA USA is a one of a kind organization! It opens up a whole new life for blind children and their families. For the first time in their lives the kids gain confidence, independence and friendships that many have not experienced before. To see the smiles on their faces as they go through evaluation weekend and then on to Canada in the summer to be trained by the professional trainers and then to get their dogs, is a treat to see!! The Director, Richard Chatham is a great addition to the organization , always helpful and easy to get along with

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Mira USA is a great organization. They are caring, helpful and knowledgable. This organization gives children a chance to live their lives. Without MIRA seeing impaired children wouldn't be able to be independent and confident. This organization is truly amazing! The new director is so willing to help each child and their family in every way possible. I greatly recommend and encourage MIRA USA, whether you are applying for a guide dog or looking for an organization to donate to or volunteer with. Amazing organization and great people!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to watch MIRA at work. It was evaluation weekend for a number of possible MIRA students. The instructors were kind, calm and made the children (and parents) feel at ease. Over the weekend I even found myself getting a little emotional watching these new students open up to the possibility of what life could be like with a dog. MIRA is an AMAZING organization that allows seeing impaired children, ages 11 to 17, to move with confidence and independence in their world. What could be more worthwhile than giving a child the ability to lead a full and independent life. This is what MIRA does. They give these dogs, free of charge, to children who qualify for the program. This is done through donations and events. So if anyone feels so inclined, please consider a donation to MIRA,every little bit helps.

Donor

Rating: 1

I just heard that Dr. Doonan resigned. How very sad for this organiztion. She was the light and the brains and the compassion that helped this group.
What a serious loss for this non-profit.
I cannot give it a good rating without her at the helm.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

MIRA USA 11/04/2015

I would like to clarify that Dr Doonan did not resign. Her position was terminated by the Board of Directors. I can assure you that she was not the person she appeared to be. MIRA USA's board members are dedicated to our cause. Some of them have been with us since our inception and they have been instrumental in guiding our success.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Solene Malkamaki reviewed MIRA Foundation USA — 5 star
Dr. Marijanet Doonan, the President of Mira USA, and her team are doing an exemplary job at making so many kids' dreams come true. It's obviously a lot of work to raise funds and the least Theo and I can do is bring awareness to what this amazing organization is doing and how they're giving blind youth the key to open new doors through these dogs....
Absolutely amazing people, dogs and foundation! My son's life is changed forever thanks to Mira USA.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We applied to MIRA USA for a guide dog for our young child. These are AMAZING people who truly care. They listened to us, asked very relevant questions, explained the process clearly, asked if we wanted to speak with other parents and/or students who had received MIRA guide dogs....Honestly, these are the most caring people I have ever come across.
We submitted the request for an application on line and we quickly received the information they needed in carefully explained language. We had questions, they answered them all. They work hard to raise money from volunteers to provide guide dogs for young children. They are the only ones in the United States who do this. Everyone should help them by donating. Young blind children are a truly unserved population and these people at MIRA have filled a much needed void. I am truly grateful for their kindness and knowledge and truly hope that our child will be able to have a MIRA guide dog.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I attended MIRA's event, Dining in the Dark, last evening at the Pinehurst Country Club.
In the midst of all those who attended, there were several young children with their guide dogs. I was amazed at the incredibly good behavior of the MIRA guide dogs.
In addition, the evening was elegant. Videos helped all of those attending to understand what MIRA USA is about - children and their guide dogs.
The final slide show was absolutely incredible. It showed the children, the process of getting their guide dogs and the things they had to learn. I am a professional in the visual field and I have not seen a more touching or well done slide show that captured so much emotion and joy. This was done by Dr. Doonan, the President of MIRA USA. She also moderated the evening. MIRA should clone her. She is one exceptional young woman with a ton of talent in many areas.
Thank you MIRA for the work you do, for the most enjoyable and professional and fun evening I have had in many years.
I will spread the word and I will donate. Your cause is sterling!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Fabulous organization with fabulous people who change the lives of blind children. These guide dogs are beautiful and smart. These children are determined and intelligent. The match is super.

I came away from their website with a new view of blindness and a new appreciation for what a guide dog can do for a child.

I will donate only to this organization from now on due to their incredible success with children, their determination to help this underserved population of blind children and because of the way in which a child and a guide dog can change the views of the people they come into contact with.

Thank you, MIRA for your unique work.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

If you want to see excellence in action, check MIRA's facebook page, D Jay Baillie. It is fantastic!
Follow the students as they train with their new guide dogs. Honestly, I have tears and goose bumps when I see the photos.
I have met the staff.....Absolutely Amazing. DJ, Bob Baillie's guide dog is the best I have ever met and I have met many guide dogs. Baillie is pretty good himself! :-) Dr. Roy Ehrlich, the psychiatrist who works with the team, is so down to earth and so caring. He is a real find and such an asset to the staff and the families and the students. Dr. Marijanet Doonan, the President of MIRA USA....I just can't say enough about this talented lady...kind, friendly, down to earth and able to balance all the work required to keep this marvelous organization functioning smoothly and efficiently.
This is one truly great non-profit that I support with donations and with time. They rock!
www.mirausa.org

2

Client Served

Rating: 5


Deb Smith reviewed MIRA Foundation USA.

★★★★★ MIRA Foundation has changed the life of my oldest grandchild, Lexi who was born blind never had let her stop from trying new things. But the one thing that did hold her back and set her apart from her friends, was that she always had to have a family member or a guide to hold on to, Now with her Awesome Guide Dog, Cruz she has a whole new self confidence, The first time I saw Lexi walk down the sidewalk with Cruz, with her two younger sister's following them, I cried because I thought this is how it should be, her in the Lead not her little sisters leading her !!! Please donate to this Amazing Foundation, And help another Blind Child take the Lead !!!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been associated with the national MIRA USA Foundation since Dr. Guy Bouvier and Bob & Lanie Baillie founded this wonderful non profit organization in 2009. Since then MIRA has given 16 guide dogs to blind young people. The changes I've seen in them with their dogs is truly amazing, they have confidence, and independence and have been mainstreamed into their schools and day to day lives. They have become super achievers in school and outside in their social lives. The dogs are bought from MIRA Canada. With 35 years experience in the breeding and training guide dogs and with professionals teaching the blind to handle them, this is a very expensive operation, $60,000 a dog.
Dr. Marijanet Doonan, President and Dr. Roy Ehrlich are kind and compassionate and work tirelessly for this great life changing non-profit.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

MIRA is FANTABULOUS! I love the people, love what they do for blind children, want everyone to contribute something.
Never have I seen such dedication as the people in the MIRA Office. They are exceptional. They are so kind. They always have time for questions, for visitors, for people asking about guide dogs, and especially for the children.

LOVE their website: www.mirausa.org
Read it ...cry with joy.....and DONATE PLEASE.....

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

For non-profit organizations, this one stands far about the rest. The chance they give to young blind children is amazing. By getting a MIRA Guide Dog early - 11-16 years of age - young blind children develop confidence and security and take responsibility for their dogs. MIRA is one outstanding organization with a group of the most dedicated people I have ever me.
I just saw their video of the Evaluation Weekend that that had in Pinehurst in April 2014. The psychiatrist who is a consultant to the organization stated so clearly what a guide dog can do for these young blind children. He is one outstanding spokesperson for this amazing organization.
I have worked with people who have physical challenges and I have never seen an organization so clearly working toward its goals. Everyone is so dedicated and kind and so willing to help.
If you want to donate, this is the organization that will let you see the true value of your donation.
I truly love MIRA.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I attended the Evaluation Weekend for MIRA in Pinehurst NC in April. It was truly eye opening. T
he work this Foundation does to give a new life to blind children is exceptional. The demonstration they had on the Village Green brought many residents to see their work. The candidates for guide dogs walked with canes and with guide dogs. The difference a guide dog makes in the lives of these children is something that is amazing.
The people who run this organization are extremely talented from the delightful, friendly and brilliant President, Dr. Doonan, to the Co-Founders, Guy Bouvier and Bob Baillie, to the Psychiatric Consultant Roy Ehrlich to the lively and kind Administrative Assistant Pauline Roe, each one is special and cares so much. I had to talk with them all. Meeting the founder of MIRA Canada, Eric St. Pierre and his trainer Pierre and the exceptional MIRA guide dogs was just the best. A
s a donor to this organization, it was so special to see exactly how my donations help these young children. Keep up the good work. It is unique and extraordinary. I will continue to donate and encourage others to do so.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

MIRA USA does amazing work. When you see a blind child walk with a guide dog, when you see the independence and self-confidence this guide dog gives to this child, you are witnessing the result of the work this non-profit does for the children and for the future. You cannot help but be a supporter. I used to donate to several organizations. I have changed that and now give to MIRA USA.

Love the work they do, love the time they spend, love the kindness of the people. I have met several Board members as well as the administrative staff and all I can say is "WOW." What a super group of people, what amazing results.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The people who run MIRA USA are remarkable. The President is extremely intelligent and knowledgeable about disabilities including blindness. She is kind and caring and a font of knowledge and willing to help.
I have met several of the recipients of MIRA guide dogs and their reports are glowing about what this organization has done for them in providing these guide dogs free of charge to children across the United States.
I have worked with numerous organization that help people with disabilities and I can say from experience that this is a five star organization. They have caring, responsible, intelligent people at the helm, have secured the services of a psychiatric consultant to assist families and their outreach is extensive and excellent. Their donations DO definitely go to providing guide dogs to children. As a professional in the field of the visually impaired, I cannot speak more highly about their work. I also donate to this organization because you can see the direct results.

Review from Guidestar

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough about this organization. It is one of the best I have even known. There is an immediate impact on a child's life. If you want to see for your self, look at this video about one of their students. She is just 16 and what she wants for her birthday year is donations to MIRA so another child can have a MIRA guide dog. It is amazing. I will put the link at the end of my review.

The Evaluation Weekend that they have in the Spring brings tears of joy and smiles all around. This is when the children are evaluated for a guide dog and if they will be candidates for the summer training program. The care in the selection of the candidates, the obvious love of the work they do of this staff, the kindness they exude toward the children and their parents is something I have not seen before.

Dr. Marijanet Doonan is the President and she has brought exquisite taste, excellent organization, a friendliness that is ever so genuine. She loves these children, talks about their success with their dogs and has worked on a dynamite new website that shows the qualities that this organization has and highlights the children and their success. Go and see….www.mirausa.org

If you want to donate where it makes an impact on a child's life and your life, donate to MIRA USA.

Here is the video: I think there is a lead first but do watch it all and enjoy:
www.abclocal.go.com/wtvd/video?id=9482353

3

Donor

Rating: 5

This is one amazing organization. I have donated to it since it began and have always been happy to do so. Their new website: www.mirausa.org is one masterful piece of work that shows what donors do to help young children.
Recently I went into the office instead of just sending my donation. What a wonderful place. I met the new president, Dr. Doonan, and I immediately recognized her passion and her warmth as well as her ability. MIRA is truly lucky to have her in this leadership position. In one year, she has completely upgraded the direction and workings of this organization. She has worked to change the atmosphere to make it a fun place to volunteer, she has super photos around of the students, especially as they spent time last summer getting their guide dogs, and she is responsible for the new website which is dynamite.
I was lucky to have met one of the MIRA students and his guide dog. All I can say is WOW! This guide dog has given this young man a new life. He told me about his Success Story on the website and I cried when I read it and smiled knowing what he feels now.
Congratulations, MIRA! You are creating a new world for blind children, one super guide dog at a time. I will continue to donate with great pride and pleasure.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I walked into the MIRA office and the atmosphere was so welcoming. The people are fabulous here and Dr. Doonan, the President is super great.
I know a blind young girl who received a guide dog from MIRA and the difference this dog has made in her life is just amazing. From a once shy young person who preferred to stay at home, she is now out and about in her school and her community. She participates in runs with her dog, she talks to school groups, her grades have improved and you can see her new confidence in her walk and in her smile.

Guide dogs from MIRA are so well trained. I can't believe it.
I went to their evaluation weekend last spring and there were 14 guide dogs there, all off leash, all sitting on the street waiting for commands. People walked by, trains went by, other dogs went by and these dogs just stayed in place. It was amazing. What training. If I had a blind youngster, I would seek out this organization in a heart beat.

The staff and the director are just super dedicated people and I can't say enough about this organization and the great things they do.

They are worthy of great support. The do change lives.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Working for MIRA USA is one of the most interesting, captivating and rewarding experiences I have ever had. The work done by this non profit for blind children in the United States is both amazing and awe inspiring. The change in a child's life when that child receives a MIRA guide dog is remarkable. It gives a new vibrancy to their experiences. It enhances their self-confidence and their independence. It creates remarkable changes in the child's willingness and ability to interact with others and to be part of the world in which we live. It creates new purposes in their lives in which they are proud to serve as ambassadors for MIRA USA.
This past year, under the direction of MIRA USA's new President has been phenomenal. Dr. Doonan is a dedicated, super able, experienced professional who has brought intelligent and inspired leadership to this organization. She has encouraged new donors through personal relationships and grants. She has recruited new volunteers. She has worked tirelessly to recognize the abilities of the students and present them as the star accomplishments of MIRA USA. Her relaxed and friendly manner is just what MIRA USA needed and one look at the new website that she commissioned shows the change and effectiveness of her work. Thank you Dr. Doonan and thank you MIRA USA.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son received a guide dog from Mira USA one year ago. His dog has changed his life. Our hope was that his dog would aid in his navigating the campus of his High School as a freshman. The reality is, his dog has given him that and so much more. Our son is more confident, he is more approachable by his peers and he is incredibly more independent. I cannot express how grateful we are for this remarkable dog and wonderful organization. They are truly changing lives and we will forever feel that they are family to us.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I actually could not find a specific category for my role relative to MIRA. This is probably because we are a pet-related volunteer organization in the community that MIRA representatives work with and support - and that is unusual and commendable. We educate over 1200 fourth grade students annually with respect to being responsible pet owners and advocating for pets who may be abused or neglected. Beth Daniels, Bob Baillie and his guide dog, Devon, tirelessly support our program by joining us in the schools and demonstrating and describing the human/animal bond. Bob describes how Devon advocates for him and gave him a second chance at life. This is a strong and lasting message for the students. Bob perfectly reinforces our message and is a wonderful and precious asset to our program.

Review from Guidestar

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

MIRA Foundation USA is an amazing organization that excels in i) inspiring volunteers, donors and supporter to become involved, ii) educating the general public to the plight of the visually impaired children and iii) fulfilling its mission by annually providing guide dogs to visually impaired children. The result of the Foundation’s work creates and sustains a tangible and direct impact each and every day for guide dog recipients.

Pamela P.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was introduced to MIRA through Beth Daniels ,Executive Director of this amazing foundation. Her enthusiasm and dedication was infectious and quickly drew me into the circle of people who make this organization so incredible. Bob Baille may be blind, however, he has a vision unlike any other. He saw an opportunity to change the lives of sightless children by raising money to provide theses kids with life changing guide dogs. Along with his selfless staff...this vision became a reality. I am proud to be on the Mira board and only wish that everyone could be a witness to the miracles that happen as a result MIRA .

Comments ( 1 )

profile

MIRA USA 02/02/2014

The new President, as of February 2013, is Dr. Doonan who brings incredible enthusiasm and knowledge to the organization and has inspired many to continue to support MIRA's unique work.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Self-confidence, social relationships, freedom; these are all things I have seen grow in the children who have received guide dogs from MIRA USA. You listen to their stories and you quickly realize that MIRA USA is providing a life change service. The spirit of the kids who received dogs is extremely positive. I believe it is important to get guide dogs to visually impaired individuals during their developmental years to help them reach their full potential. There are more than 57000 blind youth in the USA and MIRA USA is the only organization solely focused to provide guide dogs to this group.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Having been in the eye care field for 14 years as a practicing optometrist, I can not explain how valuable the service this foundation provides to the young recipients of the guide dogs. There is nothing worse than to tell a parent and child that there is nothing else we can do to help them. Occupational Therapy as well as Orientation and Mobility training will take you only so far. It does not provide the independence that a guide dog will! It is really shocking that there are no other organizations like Mira Foundation out there servicing kids with this disability. I commend them for the work and effort they put into this! I am not sure if any sighted person can truly understand what a guide dog will do for the confidence, independence, security, and self esteem of a visually impaired child.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The MIRA Foundation USA has provided an extremely bright light in the very dark world of blindness to our son, Maxwell through a guide dog program for children who are eleven years old or older. There are many organizations which cater to late teens who are visually impaired but we only found one, MIRA who strongly believes that young children are responsible and capable of handling this life changing opportunity. We observed the MIRA management team to be quite competent and refreshingly frugal. The good work that the MIRA Foundation is achieving by providing highly trained guide dogs to children is commendable and therefore they should receive recognition commensurate with their outstanding results. Sincerely, The Lamm Family

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a board member I think it is important to support Mira.My wife & I have gone to all the dining in the dark events. The most enjoyable one was in Aiken,SC. The event was held outside under a tent ,the weather was perfect. To see what these dogs do for the kids make you cry.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter, Darcie Crane, received her guide dog from MIRA exactly one year ago. I can not even begin to tell you how lifechanging it has been for her as well as for the rest of our family. After being told by several guide dog agencies that young teenagers don't need that independance, we finally found MIRA..who understood that independance is exactly what they need to start building their happy, successful futures. Before we found MIRA, Darcie was nervous about everything..especially her future. Now, she has so much confidence, she knows she can do anything. And I know she will. MIRA has been so amazing to work with and they still follow up to ensure Darcie's continued success. Everyone at MIRA has a heart of gold and I will never be able to thank them enough or repay them for the miracle they have given my daughter.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son A.J Johnson received his dog nearly a year ago. This is what you call a life changer, has has became more independant, out going person. Things people told him he could never do, well guess what he's doing. Going to college with the help of his Mira dog Martin as well as being on A-B honor roll. Going out with his friends and enjoying life. Martin has made A.J realize that he has an opinion and he has options in life. We as a family just want to say Thank you to the Mira Foundation for giving my son a secound chance at life..........The Johnsons

2

Client Served

Rating: 4

My son Preston Davis III has experience a life changing occurrance because of the MIRA Foundation. I call them MIRAcle Foundation. As Preston's father I have notice an excitement I've never seen in him. Because of MIRA he is going to Canada in July to receive a Guide Dog. The Guide Dog will be of great assistance to him when goes to UNC Pembroke in the Fall. If it wasn't for MIRA USA my son probaly would be still facing the challenges of using "The Cane." Thank you MIRA for all that you do for the children.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to MIRA through the Newcomers Club here in Pinehurst. I called and scheduled an appointment to learn more about MIRA USA and was so impressed that I have done volunteering there ever since. This is a wonderful organization that raises funds to provide guide dogs to blind children. I take great pride in sharing with the team work involved in meeting financial goals in order to give a child the opportunity of being more self reliant and the opportunity to grow in their own personal freedom with the assistance of a guide dog.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been volunteering for MIRA USA for over two years. I first met Bob Baillie while teaching a Pet Responsibility course at one of the local schools. Bob talked with the students about being responsible; who was responsible for whom in his case (Bob for Devon, his guide dog, or Devon for Bob). I was hooked from that moment on. Since then, I have been with Bob in different roles, speaking to church groups and/or schools and sharing his story of becoming blind and how he turned his life around when he decided to take a positive approach and focus upon blind children. I have met with him as a business person who is trying to raise money so that MIRA USA can provide guide dogs to more blind children, and I have watched Bob in his role as a loving father figure to every child who has been lucky enough to receive a dog. At a cost of $60,000 per dog for training and upkeep, one can see why his role, and the role of everyone who works with MIRA USA is an important one. With his wife and MIRA USA co-founder Elaine, Bob attends functions all the while becoming an active member of the community. It has been a privilege and a life-changing experience for me to volunteer for MIRA USA.

Review from Guidestar