East Bay Center for the Blind


Fall 2012
Newsletter of
The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc.
2928 Adeline St.
Berkeley, CA 94703
Phone: 510-843-6935
Fax: 510-843-6006
E-Mail: ebcb@pacbell.net
Web site: www.eastbaycenterfortheblind.org

Editor's Corner

by Daveed Mandell

Welcome to the Fall 2012 issue of "Keeping in Touch".

In this issue, Center President Steve Fort tells us about recent Center activities; after the Upcoming Events and Center Announcements, Senior Computer Instructor Leah Gardnger informs us about the Smart Voter Guide website; Patricia Nash updates us regarding the Center's Book Club and Writing Group; Center member Dorothy Donaville inspires us with how she has learned to live with vision loss; Center member Loralee Castner writes about an accessible monument which is being constructed in Oakland; and Sandra Kramford offers us a New Alphabet.

Please send those much appreciated newsletter contributions. Contact me by email at ebcb@pacbell.net, or by phone at 510-843-6935.

Here's wishing all of our members and friends an enjoyable Holiday Season and a happy, healthy and productive New Year.

President's Letter

Dear Members and Friends:

Summer has flown by, and fall 2012 is fast approaching as I write. EBCB Berkeley Adult School classes are already in session as scheduled, thanks to a concerted effort by Center members and others throughout the community for continued funding of Berkeley's Senior Adult Programs.

In addition, EBCB's Senior Computer Instructor Leah Gardner has collaborated with Sterling Adaptives, who installed two new windows 7 Dell computers in our computer lab. Students who have reached the end of the training period allowed by the State Department of Rehabilitation can now obtain Windows 7 training at EBCB, as well as those who are not clients of the Department. Working along with Leah is Assistant Computer Instructor Patricia Nash, who also teaches braille. Braille and computer instruction is available by appointment.

Our summer activities began on Monday, July 9th, with a day at Lake Chabot, in collaboration with BORP (Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program). Center and BORP members brought their own lunches, went on a tour and enjoyed the wonders of being outdoors in a peaceful setting.

Our July Quarterly Business Meeting featured Doyle Saylor with a fundraising presentation, along with Claude Everett, who demonstrated a pill bottle prescription labeling device offered nationally by Envision America to pharmacies and blind and visually impaired consumers, and Peter Pardini, who played a segment of the California Council of the Blind's Mutt Strut fundraising video "What Blindness Isn't", concerning attitudes its members expressed about being blind.

The weather on Saturday, August 25, was cool and breezy for a summer day. Nevertheless, our traditional picnic was a great success, thanks to Pam Almeida, our wonderful cook, and the many volunteers who helped make this event possible.

By the time you read this, another trip down memory lane will have taken place on Saturday afternoon, September 22, at our semi-annual Oldies Dance Party with none other than our deejay Mike Gorman, who will have honored our requests. No, he didn't have a pile of records to spin, just a laptop with thousands of billboard country, rock and RandB songs that charted from 1900 to 1978. To top it all off, we will have had a picnic style meal of fried chicken, potato salad and a host of other goodies and lots of fun.

EBCB's Board of Directors, at its October Board meeting, will elect two members who will serve on the Nominating Committee for the January 2013 annual Election of Officers and Board members. The remaining three members of the Nominating Committee will be elected by EBCB members at the fall quarterly business meeting. Please consider who you would choose to elect to serve on the Nominating Committee.

All Board meetings, as well as Quarterly Business Meetings, are open to members. Input is not only welcomed, but encouraged, during the public comment period of the Board meeting. After all, EBCB, a Center for blind people, run by blind people, belongs to all of us, and membership participation is needed!!! With all of us working together and contributing financially, as much as our means will allow, EBCB can thrive and prosper, even through difficult times.

Finally, I wish to thank Jan Santos, EBCB's General Manager, who, along with EBCB staff, coordinates the day-to-day operations of the Center, as well as Center activities. I also wish to thank all of the committees working on special projects and all of our wonderful volunteers, without whom the Center could not continue operating. My thanks to all of you for your comments, suggestions, support and encouragement. It has been my pleasure to serve as EBCB President.

Steve Fort

Upcoming Events

Quarterly Business Meeting: The Center's next Quarterly Business Meeting will take place on Saturday, October 27, from 1 to 4 PM. Those present will elect three members of the Nominating Committee, which will offer a suggested slate of officers during the Center's January 2013 elections. (Two other committee members will be elected by the Board.) Lunch will consist of pasta with meat sauce, salad, rolls and pie. The meal costs $10 across the board, and must be reserved no later than Wednesday, October 24.

Annual Harvest Festival: The Center's annual Harvest Festival will take place on Saturday, November 17, from noon to 4 PM. We will be selling holiday craft items and baked goods. Please contact the Center if you plan to bring your favorite handmade ornaments or other wares to sell, or if you wish to contribute your most tempting and tasty treats. The chorus will perform songs and readings. Lunch will consist of chili, corn muffins and relish plate. The meal costs $6 across the board, and must be reserved no later than Wednesday, November 14.

Annual Holiday Party: The Center's annual Holiday Party will take place on Saturday, December 15, from noon to 4 PM. The Center will serve a traditional turkey dinner. Lunch costs $5 for those members who pay their 2013 dues before or on the day of the party. Otherwise, the cost for guests and members who don't pay their dues is $10. The Center will sell craft items, and the chorus will perform songs and readings. Lunch must be reserved no later than Wednesday, December 12.

Center Announcements

Dues Reminder: 2013 dues are now due and payable. Please remit your $10 to the Center as soon as possible. If you pay your dues on or before December 15, the date of our Holiday Party, your meal will cost $5.

Center Closures: The Center will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday from Wednesday, November 21, through Friday, November 23. It will re-open on Tuesday, November 27. The Center will be closed for the Winter Holiday from Tuesday, December 18, through Friday, December 28. It will re-open on Wednesday, January 2.

Insulated Bags: The Center is still selling insulated shopping bags as an ongoing fundraiser. Each bag costs $10. If you want bags shipped, please add $3 per bag.

Candy Orders: Charlotte Criddell is now taking orders for boxes of See's Candy. Charlotte's email address is ccriddell@sbcglobal.net, and her phone number is 510-632-0917. Orders must be received by Saturday, November 17.

The following 1-lb. boxes and/or cans, and gift certificates, are available for $16.90 each: soft center chocolates, assorted chocolates, bridge mix, milk chocolates, dark chocolates, nuts and chews, Victorian Toffee, Almond Royale, and Toffeettes. An 8-oz. box of assorted peppermints or molasses chips costs $8.45. A 1-lb. box of assorted truffles costs $19.40. A 12-oz. can of fancy mixed nuts costs $9.20. A 24-oz. box of peanut brittle costs $16.50. A box of eight awesome bars (walnut squares, nutty chewies or chocolate-covered peanut brittle) costs $9.50. A 21-oz. box of thirty lollipops (assorted, chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla or cafe au lait) costs $16.20.

Smart Voter Guide Website

Submitted By: Leah Gardner, Senior Computer Instructor

Do you want to view a copy of your ballot for Election Day, see all the state and city propositions and measures that you will need to make critical decisions on? Thanks to the League of Women Vots' Smart Voter Guide website, it's as easy as typing in your zip code to bring up your local ballot and polling location for November 6th. Here is the link to accomplish this in the comfort of your own home.


If you would like assistance in finding your ballot or brailling it out for your reference, the East Bay Center for the Blind is offering assistance in using the Smart Voter online guide on two days prior to the election. Please make an appointment with Leah Gardner for either October 26 or November 2. Slots are available from 10 AM until 2 PM on each day. This is a first come, first serve opportunity, so space is limited. Please call to make an appointment with Leah at 510-843-6935, or email us at ebcb@pacbell.net.

Invitation to Our Book Club and Writing Group

If you love to read, and you want to discuss a book with others who feel the same, we invite you to join us the first Friday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., here at EBCB. The upcoming books will be:

October: TILL WE MEET AGAIN, by Judith Krantz—DB28013 November: RIDING LESSONS, by Sara Gruen—DB6046 December: TRUE BELIEVER, by Nicholas Sparks—DB60188

Past selections have been THE HELP, BY Kathryn Stockett; TALL GRASS, by Sandra Dallas; and THE BELIEVERS, By Janet Holt Giles, to name a few. We welcome suggested selections. We hope to see you here!

Additionally, our writing group meets the third Friday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. If you're an aspiring writer, or if you need inspiration, bring your work and join us. We discuss topics of interest to writers, and we read from books on writing technique, and we choose monthly topics for writing.

-- Patty Nash and Dorothy Donaville

Facing the Unknown

Submitted By: Dorothy Donaville

Faithfully I made my yearly visits to my doctors and optometrists for my annual physical and eye examinations. The reports had always been very good, causing me to believe I had nothing to worry about. I just needed to continue doing whatever it took to remain healthy. Although I had noticed at times I would see halos or dark spots floating before my eyes, I really did not take this to be serious and passed it off. Not once did I think this could be a warning or symptom that could lead to a serious eye problem, because I had what was assumed to be perfect vision (20/20).

Throughout all my visits to the optometrist, I had never had a glaucoma test. In 1978 there were medical stations set up on the mezzanine floor of the Kaiser Building where I worked. What a great way to reach those people who neglected to get those important blood pressure check-ups and eye examinations! I decided not to participate, because I had no health issues or eye problems. I thought I was in pretty good health.

However, there was one secretary in our office who thought all of us should have check-ups, because our company had provided this special service for the employees, and she felt we should take advantage of it. I told her I would not be participating, because I had no problems with my health or eyes. This went right over her head. Her reply was, "What have you got to lose? Go anyway." Case closed! Irene had spoken, so what did I do? I decided to go just to please her and get her off my back. How grateful and thankful I am to that secretary for insisting I have the check-ups, for this was the day I found there was a serious problem with my eyes.

I returned to my office not giving any further thought to the eye exam or blood pressure test. Later in the afternoon I received a call from the company doctor asking to see me in his office to discuss the check-ups I had earlier that morning. I became a little nervous not knowing just what could possibly be wrong. Once I was seated in his office, I was anxious and wanted the doctor to get to the point of my being there. He began asking questions relating to my eyes. He asked if I had ever been tested for glaucoma. Of course, my answer was no. His main concern was the high pressure readings that showed up in the examination report. The readings were 38 in the right eye and 35 in the left eye, and he felt I needed to see my personal ophthalmologist immediately for more testing and accurate reading. We contacted my ophthalmologist, who was available to see me right away.

After extensive examinations I was diagnosed with glaucoma, consisting of a combination of all types, which is complicated and not common. Later I found this would be difficult to treat and control. If only the glaucoma had been detected earlier, things might have been different. Needless to say, I did not take any of this lightly. I was scared, bitter, and not a very pleasant person to live with. Eventually I came to terms with myself. It was time to look the bulldog in the face and plunge forward.

In March of 2003 I came to the Lions Center for the Blind in Oakland, not knowing what was beyond those doors. A whole new world was about to open up for me. There I found a most inspiring group of people who would give me the confidence I was lacking, the courage I needed, and the strength to face the unknown. It was in the support and Toastmasters groups that I began to gain knowledge of what it was to live without sight. The people were warm, pleasant, welcoming, happy, and easy-going. It was hard for me to believe how much confidence and courage these people had. I found that I was among some of the most amazing and brave people. To know that some of them traveled to other states, as well as to other countries, alone simply blew me away! There I was with partial vision and would not dream of going out without one of my family members or friends, right in my own city.

What a blessing that I found this place! I could not believe the talents, the skills, among many other things, these people mastered without hesitation. What an inspiring group! How amazing it was to hear mothers taling about caring for their young babies, some much better than those with sight. There were writers, dancers, actors, you name it. There were people from all walks of life carrying on with their lives so independently! How grateful I was to have found the place that would give me the courage and confidence I so needed!

I was encouraged to attend a Convention of the California Council of the Blind held in Newark-Fremont. What an experience! I met many people who strengthened the confidence and courage I was beginning to gain. I attended many seminars to learn as much as I possibly could about programs, opportunities, anything that would give me the knowledge that would become vital to my unknown world. Had it not been for my nephew who lost his sight, I would not have found the Lions Center for the Blind as soon as I did.

Not only did I receive inspiration from the people at Lions, but the East Bay Center for the Blind in Berkeley also came into my life when I was reaching an even more devastating stage of vision loss. The little light perception I had was going rapidly. I became frightened and worried. What would I do when all the light was gone? More confidence and courage was needed. The Center stepped in at one of my most difficult times. I was so grateful for the people who had the patience and understanding, and who sensed my lack of confidence. Their words of encouragement and praise helped me to regain the confidence and courage I was losing. These people helped me by teaching and showing me new ways of doing things. Coming to the East Bay Center for the Blind gave me a different look at what I was capable of doing without sight.

I only hope I can make a difference in someone else's life, to inspire and motivate them as I have been inspired and motivated by these wonderful people who came into my life when I needed someone to understand what I was facing. To the members of the East Bay Center for the Blind I say, you have become a part of my life, and I am thankful and happy to have found you.

Remember Them

Submitted By: Loralee Castner

Helen Keller now resides at the East Bay Center for the Blind. At least, a dramatic profile of her upper body with textured hair, detailed facial features and long-fingered hands has taken residence there. On June 9, 2012, Mario Chiodo, a local artist, presented this model to the center.

That afternoon, Mr. Chiodo and Joseph Haraburda, the CEO of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, attended a meeting of the Bay View Chapter of the California Council of the Blind (CCB), where they shared their dream for and progress in completing the "Remember Them: Champions for Humanity" monument currently under construction in the new Henry J. Kaiser Sculpture Park in Fox Square, Oakland. This bronze sculpture will measure 52 feet wide by 21 feet in height, cover one thousand square feet, and contain sixty thousand pounds of bronze.

But the vision for this sculpture vastly exceeds its physical dimension. After the tragic events of 9/11/2001, Mario Chiodo envisioned a means to commemorate the goodness, courage and striving of humanity through sculpting statues of human rights champions from the past and present and positioning them on a stone base. His creation will include depictions of noteworthy heroes like Maya Angelou, Cesar Chavez, Frederick Douglass, Mahatma Gandhi, Helen Keller, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks and seventeen others (25 humanitarians in all).

Of particular significance, this monument will have a unique feature to enhance the viewing experience for those who are blind or visually impaired. The structure will contain a wall with tactile representations of the faces of all 25 champions as well as a quotation in braille from each. For the first time, blind individuals can experience the facial features of many world renown persons all in one location.

So that attendees at the Bay View meeting could perceive the manner in which the figures would be portrayed in the large monument, Mr. Chiodo created the model of Helen Keller, and each person experienced Miss Keller's hair, face, and hands. After passing this model around the room, the artist presented it to the Bay View Chapter who decided that it should be housed at the East Bay Center for the Blind for many to enjoy.

Through his art, Mario Chiodo expresses an ability to see the goodness of humanity and to convey this vision in a unique creation, and Mr. Haraburda speaks eloquently for the Oakland Chamber's support for this dream. Their presentation inspired all in attendance that afternoon, and proves Mahatma Gandhi's quotation which will appear in braille on the monument's wall: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." The statue of Helen Keller serves not only as a reminder of this truth but also of the fact that one man's dream is becoming a symbol of unity in downtown Oakland.

The New Alphabet

Submitted By: Sandra Kramford

A is for apple, and B is for boat,
That used to be right, but now it won't float!
Age before beauty is what we once said,
But let's be a bit more realistic instead.

Now The Alphabet:

A's for arthritis; B's the bad back, C's the chest pains, perhaps car-di-ac? D is for dental decay and decline, E is for eyesight, can't read that top line!

F is for fissures and fluid retention, G is for gas which I'd rather not mention. H high blood pressure -- J is for joints, out of socket, won't mend, K is for knees that crack when they bend.

L's for libido, what happened to sex? M is for memory, I forget what comes next. N is neuralgia, in nerves way down low; O is for osteo, bones that don't grow!

P for prescriptions, I have quite a few, just give me a pill and I'll be good as new! Q is for queasy, is it fatal or flu? R is for reflux, one meal turns to two.

S is for sleepless nights, counting my fears, T is for Tinnitus; bells in my ears! U is for urinary; troubles with flow; V for vertigo, that's "dizzy", you know.

W for worry, now what's going 'round? X is for X-ray, and what might be found. Y for another year I'm left here behind, Z is for zest, I still have -- my mind!

I've survived all the symptoms, my body's deployed, And I'm keeping twenty-six doctors fully employed!


Center Class Schedule

Ceramics: Tuesday, 9:30 AM-1 PM. Instructor: Michelle Muennig.

Exercise and Movement: Tuesday, 2:00-3:15 PM. Instructor: Kathleen Davis.

Music Keyboarding: Thursday, 10 AM-11:30 AM. Instructor: Diana Perry.

Chorus and Music Appreciation: Friday, 1-3 PM. Instructor: Diana Perry.

Braille: Please call the Center for more information. Instructor: Patricia Nash.

Computer Instruction: Please call the Center for more information. Senior Instructor: Leah Gardner. Assistant Instructor: Patricia Nash.

Mission Statement

The mission of the East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., is to develop quality programs and services for blind and visually impaired people by providing a safe and supportive environment, while encouraging one another through leadership, interaction and the sharing of information, resources and skills. The Center's activities enhance independence, dignity and self-determination. As a self-governing organization of primarily blind and visually impaired persons, The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., is committed to remaining a living, working foundation of strength, as we participate in the larger community in all areas of our daily lives.

Center Officers and Directors

General Manager: Jan Santos
President: Steve Fort
First Vice-President: Lizz Deeff
Second Vice-President: Anita March
Recording Secretary: Daveed Mandell
Corresponding Secretary: Patricia Nash
Treasurer: Ida Johnson
Directors: Charlotte Criddell; Dorothy Donaville;
Sandra Fancher; Grace Rodriguez; Connie Skeen


If you or a friend would like to remember The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., in your will, you can do so by employing the following language: "I give, devise, and bequeath unto The East Bay center for the Blind, Inc., a nonprofit charitable organization in California, the sum of $___ (or ___were to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons." Thank you for your tax-deductible donation.

"They said it couldn't be done when it was being done." -- Helen Keller