East Bay Center for the Blind


Fall 2014
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: eastbaycenterfortheblind@gmail.com
Web site: www.eastbaycenterfortheblind.org

President's message

By Anita March

Hello everyone,

It is with great sadness that I have to tell you of the passing of one of our members, Harriet Mathews. We will greatly miss her thoughtfulness and her generosity. She always lent a helping hand and offered a kind word or a warm hug. Harriet loved coming to the Center, and we will miss seeing her at the activities here.

Are you ready for a busy Fall Schedule at the Center? Great social activities and many classes are happening. So come and participate. I think you will enjoy!

October events include the business meeting, where we will elect three members who will serve on the nominating committee, which will then present a slate of officers at the January 2015 business meeting. Nominations will also be taken from the floor, and The President, second Vice President, Corresponding Secretary and two board members will be elected at that time.

November brings one of our biggest fund-raising events, the harvest festival. We will have two tables full of baked goods, hand-made jewelry, and other crafts made by members of the Ceramics class. Lunch is $6, and you purchase your own desserts.

In December, we will hold our annual holiday dinner celebration. The festivities will include entertainment and drawings for cash prizes. Tickets for the drawing will go on sale this month at $1 a ticket, or a book of six tickets for $5. For dates and times of social events and classes, check our events calendar.

See you at the Center!


Submitted By: Leah Gardner

To all of you who are double tapping, one-finger swiping and triple home clicking, the following applies to you:

Would you like to learn about new apps you can download? Would you like to create ring tones? How do you setup Facebook and Twitter?

Please join Leah Gardner and your fellow iPhone users for this iPhone workshop beginning October 23rd at 1 PM. We will meet the second and fourth Thursday of each month after that from 1 to 3 PM.

This group is for iPhone users who have some experience with this device. If you need help setting up your iPhone or working with basic applications, please contact Leah Gardner for individual training.

The workshop is limited to eight participants. After the first eight slots are filled, you will be put on a waiting list for a slot to open.

If you want to be part of this new, innovative opportunity at the East Bay Center, call Leah Gardner at 510-843-6935 or email her at eastbaycenterfortheblind@gmail.com to sign up, and let the tapping and swiping begin!

Upcoming Events and Class Schedule

Closures: The Center will be closed for Thanksgiving from Wednesday, November 26 through Friday, November 28, re-opening on Tuesday, December 2. We will close for the holidays from Tuesday, December 23 2014 through Monday, January 5, 2015, and re-open on Tuesday, January 6, 2015.

Next quarterly business meeting: Saturday, October 25, from 1 to 4 PM. Menu to be announced. Lunch will cost $10 across the board. Please reserve by Wednesday, October 22.

Harvest Festival: Saturday, November 22, from 12 to 4 PM. We will be serving chili. Cost is $6 across the board. Dessert will be your purchases of baked goodies for our fund raiser. Please reserve your meal by Wednesday, November 19.

Holiday Party: Saturday, December 20, from 12 to 4 PM. On the menu will be a traditional holiday meal. Cost is $10. Make your reservation no later than Wednesday, December 17, and we advise reserving as early as you can, as reservations fill up quickly for this event.

Special Meditation Class offered by Center member Laurel Largent: every third Wednesday of the month, from 10 to 11 AM. Dates are October 15, November 19 and December 17.

iPhone users' workshop for those with some experience (see detailed announcement above): second and fourth Thursday of the month from 1 to 3 PM on days that the Center is open, starting October 23. Please sign up as soon as possible.

Memory Class with instructor Carol Kehoe: Thursdays from 10 to noon weekly. Exceptions are Thursday, October 9, that class moves to Friday, October 10 instead. Also November 27, December 25, and January 1, when the Center is closed. Note that the memory class on Friday, October 10, will host speaker Dannie Van Deventer, a sleep expert currently with Kaiser Permanente. And On October 16, speaker Karen Marshall, "the gadget lady" will return to show the Pocket Talker, a hearing device, and other interesting aids.

Book Club: First Friday of the month, 10 to 11 AM. Dates are October 3, November 7, and December 5. There will be no book club in January, as the Center will still be closed on January 2. For a list of books to be discussed, please call the Center.

Writing Group: Third Friday of the month, 10 to 11 AM. Dates are October 17, November 21, December 19, and January 16.

Bingo: First Thursday of the month, from 1 to 3 PM. Dates are October 2, November 6, and December 4. There will be no bingo in January.

Ceramics with Michele Muennig: Weekly on Tuesdays from 9:30 to noon. Exception is December 23.

Exercise with Kathleen Davis: Weekly on Tuesdays from 2 to 3:15 PM. Exception is December 23.

Music Appreciation with Diana Perry: Weekly on Fridays, from 1 to 3 PM. Exceptions are November 28, December 26, and January 2, 2015.

Amazing Grace, Our Mentor: An Inspiration to Us All

By Daveed Mandell and Patricia Nash

Grace Rodriguez began teaching independent living skills at the California Orientation Center for the Blind in 1955. She soon became aware of the East Bay Center for the Blind, which was then located on Opal Street in Oakland. It was there she helped OCB cooking instructor Sally Jones make turkey dressing for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner.

In 1957, there was a conflict between the Lions Clubs and the East Bay Center's membership. The Lions thought that since they had collected money on behalf of the blind to build the Center, they should also run it. The Center was forced to move into an old, dilapidated building on Shattuck Avenue in North Oakland. Grace remembers attending a speech and drama class there given by an instructor from the Berkeley Adult School.

Thirty years later, the Center again moved, this time to Adeline Street in Berkeley. During most of those years, Grace was too busy to become involved in the Center. She was giving the gift of independence to hundreds of men and women who came to OCB to become self-sufficient blind people. She feels they are living proof of what we can accomplish when we believe in ourselves. Many have held jobs, married, established homes and raised children.

Grace is particularly pleased that a number of her former students have become active members of the East Bay Center. Current General Manager Jan Santos and former Board member Daveed Mandell attended OCB in 1966. Daveed remembers being an immature 16-year-old refusing to learn how to iron his clothes. In the end, however, despite his protestations, Grace prevailed. Thanks to her firm persistence, he was able to iron his handkerchiefs, shirts and pants and to wear them with pride.

Current Braille Instructor Patricia Nash remembers learning how to iron a man's shirt and to fold clothes correctly to be packed into a suitcase. These skills were of great help to her as a mother of three children.

Jan, Daveed and Patty are examples of loyal Center members who are always eager to share their skills, talents and know-how with other people who are experiencing vision loss. Grace taught them to assist others to learn to live as independently as possible.

Grace retired from OCB in 1983. She became increasingly involved in the East Bay Center. Grace is largely responsible for the effort to revitalize the Center. For years, very little activity took place there. But that changed dramatically in the mid-1990s, when several classes were initiated and more members joined.

Grace has always had a flair for performing. During her years at OCB, she was instrumental in producing numerous plays, pageants and variety shows. When she became an active member and President of the East Bay Center in 1997, she organized and participated in various musical performances and readings. She planned and wrote magnificent narrations for many of them.

Since the late 1990s, the Center has grown by leaps and bounds. It has added classes in Braille and computer instruction and has made necessary improvements to the premises. Its Braille and audio library has been organized and catalogued. Grace has enthusiastically supported all of these efforts. She has especially promoted the Center's library and urged members to avail themselves of its hundreds of mostly hand-copied Braille volumes and recorded books on cassettes and CD's.

Grace's wholehearted dedication to improving the Center has long inspired many of us to ensure its continued growth and encourage more member participation. Grace's infectious sense of humor and her seemingly infinite repertoire of jokes and stories have kept us laughing for nearly two decades.

Grace is no longer making her home near the Center. But when she is able to join us, we are always delighted to welcome her.

EBCB Fundraising Committee News

By Dorothy Donaville

Holiday raffle tickets will be available at the Center for distribution early October. Tickets cost $1 each or $5 for a book of six. First prize is $200, 2nd prize $150, 3rd and 4th prize $50. The drawing is to be held on December 20.

Our goal is to raise $1,250. To help obtain this goal, we encourage each member to purchase at least one book, more if possible, and to ask family, friends and daily contacts to buy books as well. Let's work together to reach our goal!

Also don't forget our 2nd Friday Lunch. The cost is $7. Space is limited to 20 people, and the last day to sign up is the Wednesday before the lunch.

If you have any fundraising suggestions, please contact Dorothy Donaville at the Center.

BART Stop Announcement Investigation

Disability Rights Advocates is investigating complaints from persons who are blind or have low vision reporting that BART stops are not reliably announced on BART trains. BART conductors should announce each station both shortly before arriving at a station and after arriving at a station while the train doors are open. We would greatly appreciate speaking with you if you are blind or have low vision, regularly ride BART and are interested in assisting with this investigation by providing input concerning the reliability of stop announcements on BART trains. To share your experiences, please contact Layla Aghabian by phone at 510-665-8644 or by email at loghabian@dralegal.org

Recipe for Super Moist Chocolate Bundt Cake

Submitted By: Sandy Kramford

1 Devil Food cake mix
1 (4 servings) instant chocolate pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
½ cup warm water
½ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Baking Instructions:
Place all ingredients except chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Blend with electric mixer for 1 minute. Stir down the sides. Continue to mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 450 degrees. Let cool for 20 minutes. Invert onto serving plate.

8 tablespoons butter (not margarine) 4 tablespoons cocoa powder 1/3 cup evaporated milk (I used 2%, it worked great) 4 cups sifted powdered sugar

Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in cocoa and milk. Bring mixture just to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar with electric mixer until thickened and smooth. Pour warm frosting over warm cake. Or you can just sprinkle powdered sugar on top. Enjoy!

Know Pun Intended

Submitted By: Preston Moses

Why was Santa depressed on the day after Christmas? Because he had low elf esteem.

Why are cats seen running across the desert on Christmas? Because they have sandy claws.

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: Anita March
First Vice-President: Dorothy Donaville
Second Vice-President: Steve Fort
Recording Secretary: Connie Skeen
Corresponding Secretary: Patricia Nash
Treasurer: Elizabeth Deeff
Directors: Michael Castner; Claude Everett; Leah Gardner; Ida Johnson; Katrina McCurdy


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 ___) to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons." Thank you for your tax-deductible donation.

"Just as a painter needs light in order to put the finishing touches to his picture, so I need an inner light, which I feel I never have enough of in the autumn."
-—Leo Tolstoy