Jean Peyton is blind and travels with her guide dog, Lander. Since moving to Nevada in 1994, Peyton has served as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), a volunteer mediator with the Clark County Neighborhood Justice Center and as a Board member and officer of Mediators of Southern Nevada. As a blind individual, she currently represents the disability community on the Nevada State Workforce Investment Board, Nevada State Rehabilitation Council and the Interagency Transition Advisory Board. She chairs the Regional Transportation Commission’s Older American/Disability Transportation Advisory Committee. She also worked during the 2005 Legislature to strengthen the Nevada statutes regarding the safety of guide dog teams.
In 1998, Peyton founded Blindconnect, a nonprofit organization that provides information, referral, and peer support to blind and visually impaired adults in Clark County. Its genesis was in the lack of coordinated information and access to blindness services. Working collaboratively in the community, Blindconnect became, in many ways, the one-stop for those with vision loss. It has become a premier organization as it has met its mission to connect blind people to other blind persons, to available services and resources, and to their community at large.
During her presidency, Blindconnect has grown from 5 to more than 80 members, has a fully-equipped office where those with vision loss may try accessible equipment and talk with blind volunteers, and offered educational programs both in elementary schools and in senior housing facilities. Peyton developed the concept of Camp Independence, the first-in-Nevada overnight confidence-building program for blind seniors. She secured funding, developed collaborative partnerships with State agencies and other nonprofits, and provided onsite leadership for three sessions.
Peyton developed the idea to create Vision Forum, a one-day conference for blind and visually impaired adults and children. She invited public and private agencies to partner in the planning and implementation of this inaugural event. This project will reinforce the collaborations within the blindness community that allow limited resources to be maximized to meet needs.
Peyton is proud that under her leadership Blindconnect has been a long-term United Way accredited agency. Peyton’s volunteerism has had a positive impact on the lives of many blind and visually impaired adults. Though deeply involved on an organizational level with Blindconnect, she takes time to mentor those who seek independence. Moreover, she educates the community-at-large on the abilities of blind persons, the value of service animals, and the rights and responsibilities of blind and sighted individuals as they interact in daily life.