East Bay Center for the Blind


Spring 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

Editor's Corner

By Maureen Schulz

I hope readers will not mind that I dedicate my editor's column in this issue to somebody who has shaped my vision of this country and of community as a whole.

Pete Seeger: A Life of Song and Activism Comes To an End

Last night (February 3) I had the great privilege to be in the audience when a noted group of musicians helped us bid farewell to one of the most dedicated song leaders and songsmiths this country has known. Pete Seeger died on January 27, 2014, at the age of 94, but his influence on folk music and his message of world peace and solidarity is felt across the globe. His performances encouraged people literally to "find their voice," and to put into words what moved them, to sing about their struggles, and to find the common ground and humanity we all share.

Pete Seeger's biography and music form a living history, and indeed as a young student just arrived from Europe, they helped me learn and appreciate the history of this country's people: the great depression, the labor movement and its songs, the ongoing struggle for racial equality, symbolized by names like Woody Guthrie, or that of the unforgettable Paul Robeson. Pete early on, around 1942, was singing in a group called "The Almanac Singers" writing, together with Lee Hays, songs like "If I Had a Hammer" which would become an anthem in the 60s civil rights movement.

Then in the late 40s and 50s, the McCarthy era and resulting blacklist led to the infiltration of many progressive organizations, which barred Pete, who was then with the group "the weavers" from mainstream media and concert halls but, as his friend Lee Hays so wonderfully put it, "if it wasn't for the honor, we'd just as soon not have been blacklisted."

So Pete continued singing in schools, in churches and on college campuses instead of on television. Young people started singing his songs and writing their own. From the 60s into the 90s and beyond, he participated in every conceivable cause, one of the most noteworthy the clean-up of the Hudson River. He kept on writing and updating his songs, such as his Vietnam-era "Bring Them Home", which he sang during the Iraq invasion.

Pete's work is done now, and it will stand as a monument to what can be accomplished when we keep the faith. It is up to us to build on it and to keep it going.

President's Message

By Anita March

Hi Everyone,

Great news to report! After hours of research and many meetings, we have purchased a new stove for the Center. It has six burners, a griddle and two large ovens. Depending on the installer's schedule, we should have the stove in place in a month. The Stove Committee worked hard, and many thanks go to Lizz Deeff, Dorothy Donaville, Claude Everett, Jan Santos and Connie Skeen.

One of my favorite projects is supporting the Alameda County Food Bank. Members brought food items to the Center, and we filled three food barrels. Congratulations to all!

It's time to update our Emergency Contact List, so be thinking about who you want as your contact person. We have had members that had medical problems at the Center, and we want to be sure to get in touch with loved ones or friends who need to know this as soon as possible. We will be discussing this in greater detail at the April Business Meeting.

Looking forward to seeing all of you at the Center!

Upcoming Events

Quarterly Business Meeting: The Center's next quarterly business meeting will take place on Saturday, April 26, from 1 to 4 PM. Lunch (to be announced) will cost $10 across the board. Please sign up by Wednesday, April 23.

New Exciting Event: Sunday, May 25, from 5 to 9 PM. The "Arts and Entertainment Salon" is hosted by Yolanda Gonzales, and will feature music, poetry, spoken word, comedy, and more (see later in this issue). The cost is $10, covering the entertainment only. Food and drinks will be sold separately. This event is not appropriate for children. Call the Center for more details closer to the time of the event.

Bake Sale: Our annual bake sale will take place on Saturday, June 28, from noon to 4 PM. Lunch (to be announced) will cost $6, to be reserved by Wednesday, June 25. Please let the Center know if you would like to prepare baked items or casseroles for sale.

Book Club: First Friday of the month, 10 to 11 AM.
Books to be discussed:
April:  Family Tree, by Barbara Delinsky.
May:  Ken and Joni--A Love Story, by Joni Erickson.

Writing group: Third Friday of the month, 10 to 11 AM.

Bingo: First Thursday of the month, 1 to 3 PM.

Schedule of Classes

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

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

Music Appreciation: Friday, 1 to 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.

Memory Support: Thursday, 10 AM till noon. Instructor: Carol Kehoe

Community Involvement and Outreach

By Jan Santos

I am pleased to report some exciting news about EBCB's current outreach and community involvement.

First of all, we have been fortunate to have received some funding for the past three years from the Red Oak Opportunity Foundation (R.O.O.F.), which focuses on funding local small nonprofit organizations. Not only have they assisted us with funding, but this foundation is committed to building connections in the community. They have sponsored several meetings of the groups they fund, to allow us to get to know each other, to exchange resources and to give suggestions as to how R.O.O.F. can better serve the community. These meetings have been very informative for us at EBCB, and have allowed our Center to become more widely known to other local agencies. Many thanks go to our dedicated volunteer Elaine Gerber and her husband Jimmy Reina, for putting us in touch with R.O.O.F. We are most fortunate to be involved with this foundation, and wish to acknowledge and recognize them for their fine work.

In addition, we are continuing our outreach to organizations so that we can introduce EBCB to others in the community. Anita March is arranging outreach visits. Anita, Ray Marcus and Leah Gardner will start with Our next outreach to The Orientation Center for the Blind. We plan also to contact The Hatlen Center and other locations. Please pass on any places you think would be good to contact, and let us know if you might be interested in helping with our outreach work.

Now, get ready for something new! On Sunday, May 25, from 5 to 9 in the evening, EBCB will be introducing Yolanda Gonzales who will host a Salon featuring five Local artists. The entertainment will consist of music, poetry, spoken word, comedy, etc. and is geared toward adults. Cost is $10 per person; this covers entertainment only. Food and drinks will be sold separately.

This event will be another way to have fun and to introduce our Center to the wider community. for more information, call the Center.


Return of Some Medi-Cal Adult Dental Benefits as of May 2014

On June 27, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 82 (AB 82), which restores some adult dental benefits to the Denti-Cal program beginning May 1, 2014. These services include: Exams and x-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings, anterior root canals (front teeth), prefabricated crowns, full dentures, and other medically necessary dental services.

To learn more, call the Denti-Cal program at 1-800-322-6384, or Go to the Denti-Cal Website: www.denti-cal.ca.gov

A Very Special Encounter

Submitted By: Anita March

Steve Fort, Past President and long-time member of the East Bay Center for the Blind, met two U.S. Presidents in June of 1962, while on a historical tour of the United States, sponsored by the Foundation of the Jr. Blind in Los Angeles.

President John F. Kennedy was warm and gracious, as Steve remembers. He shook everyone's hand and spent a minute asking them questions and answering theirs. The meeting took place in the East Garden at the White House, and the President apologized for Mrs. Kennedy's absence.

Past President Harry S. Truman, on the other hand, was just the opposite when meeting the group of teenagers. He hurried through the meeting as fast as he could, barely touching anybody's hand, and saying only: "How do you do?" He seemed anxious to leave. They met him at his home in Independence, MO.

The bus tour with 12 girls, 12 boys, 6 counselors, 2 photographers and a Tour Director, had started their 10-week tour by spending their first night on the road in Needles, CA, with a temperature of 119 degrees. Their accommodations did not have air conditioning and were most uncomfortable.

Steve enjoyed seeing all the Washington, D.C. monuments, and also following the trail to the Old North Church and seeing Old Ironsides in Boston Harbor.

Hershey, PA, was fun and delicious, with the chocolate factory giving the students candy bars. Steve remembers that the whole town smelled like chocolate. Some of the other highlights of the trip were standing in front of the Whispering Bell at the Tech Museum in Chicago, IL, and talking; everyone in the area could hear what you were saying. Climbing the hundreds of steps inside the Statue of Liberty was quite a challenge but well worth it, and stepping out on the 84th floor of the Empire State Building, where tourists look out over the city, was thrilling.

35 years after the adventure, the students and leaders met in Los Angeles for a reunion, and enjoyed reliving their experiences.

Steve has much more to tell, so if you see him, ask, and he will be happy to remember more of this great trip.

The Seat Belts

Submitted By: Nicolette Noyes

I'd like to tell you a story about a few friends of mine and what happens when three of them get into the back seat of my Prius and have to attach their seat belts.

First of all, I must place the heavier folks on the outside seats, and if there is a skinny person, that person definitely goes in the middle. The largest person of the four-person group sits in the front seat, and normally each front seat passenger is happy to have that title, because in the front seat, there is no squishing, pushing, shoving or lack of space.

Some of us don't see too well but that doesn't really matter, because those in the back seat are so squished in that they wouldn't be able to see the seat belts anyway.

Starting out, the person on the passenger side of the back seat has their own seat belt buckle right next to them. However, the one in the middle and the one on the left have their buckles between them. And, just to make things more difficult, the buckle next to the person in the middle is right next to the person on the left side, so of course that person's seat belt is right next to the person in the middle. To complicate things even further, one buckle is rigid and the other is flexible.

So, Sam goes in first and slides over to the left side of the back seat, then comes Grace, who slides over to the middle. The last person to get in is Betty, but Betty must sit with her butt halfway outside the door so that Grace and Sam can get their seat belts fastened. And, very often, the person on the left side also has to put their butt halfway outside the door so that they can fasten their seat belt.

So, they all get in, and mind you, I'm sitting in the driver's seat up front, just waiting for the most wonderful, funny dialogue that will soon take place among these three in the back seat. It never matters which three are in the back seat.... The people change but the experience is still the same for all of them, and for those of us lucky enough to be able to sit in the front seats and be able to listen to them.

Because Betty's memory is sometimes a bit iffy, she gets in, connects her seat belt and closes the door. So, since Grace and Sam are still trying to connect their seat belts, Grace tells Betty to move over, but Betty is comfortable and doesn't want to move over and put her butt out the door because it's cold outside.

So, Grace tells Sam to put her butt outside so that she can attach her seat belt. Sam tells Grace that because she and Grace are skinny, she shouldn't have to open the door and stick her butt outside, and besides, it's cold outside. So Grace reaches for the buckle, but ends up putting her seat belt into Sam's stomach. Sam screams and tries to put her seat belt into Grace's leg. Grace says, "Oh Dear, Oh Dear". Sam tells her that saying that is not going to do any good at all, but to not poke her in the stomach with her seat belt, so Grace tells her not to poke her in the leg.

Please keep in mind that we are all great, wonderful friends! Betty, in the meantime, is laughing so hard that she is shaking the car, which obviously makes it much more difficult for Grace and Sam to connect their seat belts.

So, Grace tells us that she can't get the damn thing in, which makes Lizz and me, in the front seat, start laughing hysterically. Sam tells Lizz to shut up, because we're not talking about sex here, we're talking about seat belts, which sends Lizz and me on another round of laughing our heads off.

So Grace says again, "Oh Dear, Oh Dear, what am I to do?" Sam tells her, as dryly as possible, "Just find the damn buckle and plug the damn thing in." Grace tells her that she did, but it didn't work. Sam tells her that it didn't work because she had the wrong buckle.... Grace says, "No, I don't, I have the buckle right next to me." Sam says, "No, you don't, that one is mine...." Grace says, "No, it isn't, it's mine!"

So, they go back and forth on that topic for about four minutes, and while they are arguing, Lizz, Betty and I are in hysterics, and Grace and Sam cannot, for the life of them, understand what is so funny! Perhaps, when I record them next time, they will see the humor in the situation, hopefully!

So, after fighting over the buckles and sending their very funny barbs back and forth, they finally got their own seat belts connected to the correct buckle. Hence, we all breathed a sigh of relief, and we were finally on our way.

As we crossed the bridge, and I drove everyone home, we spent the next hour or so talking and laughing about their seat belt debacle, and what a wonderful time we had all had together, at the East Bay Center for the Blind.

The story is not quite over, because this sort of thing happens every single time that we have people in the back seat of my car, and I have told people that I will record them from now on, and they have all said okay.

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.

"Behold, my friends, the spring is come;
the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun,
and we shall soon see the results of their love!"

-- Sitting Bull