East Bay Center for the Blind


Summer 2009
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

Happy Summer 2009 to everyone! It is hard to realize that there are only six more months till year's end.

I am particularly proud of this issue of "Keeping in Touch," because two Center members -- Maureen Schulz and Preston Moses -- have submitted interesting and thoughtful articles. Please keep those contributions coming!

I want to apologize to our members and friends who receive the e-mail edition of this newsletter. We have been having serious problems assembling and implementing a distribution list, in order to send it to everyone at one go. So far, we have encountered problems doing this. However, thanks to the help of the Center's computer instructor, Connie Skeen, I hope to have this problem solved very soon.

As always, please send newsletter contributions to me via e-mail, at daveedm@sbcglobal.net, or phone me at 510-665-9260. Many thanks in advance.

Presidentís Letter

Dear Friends,

My thanks to all of you who made our June bake sale such a success. We certainly have good cooks and bakers at our Center. Our volunteers and members all pitched in to do the many jobs necessary to carry the event. We made $636.00.

Thanks to Charlotte Criddell for continuing to work so hard selling See's candy. During the Bake Sale, she sold $163 worth of chocolate.

It was great to have our chorus bring us their wonderful songs, and Grace's story-telling was fabulous as always. Our chorus also took their show on the road and did a performance at Berkeley Pines Assisted Living, as well as at Chaparral House Nursing Home. It's great that Center members are able to make this contribution to the community. We also had fun, and we were well received. The people at both facilities seemed to very much enjoy the music.

We're continuing to gather bids and information for our kitchen remodeling. We are making steady progress on this, but are taking the time to do thorough research, in order to do things in the best way possible.

Our Outreach Committee is setting up places for outreach visits to let people know about our Center. Also we're developing a needs assessment to better provide what people want and need at EBCB. We will be sending this survey out to all our members as soon as it is completed. I hope each of you will take the time to fill out this short questionnaire, and help us develop Center activities and classes

I hope each of you has a happy and healthy summer, and I look forward to seeing you soon at the Center.

-- Jan Santos

Upcoming Events

Quarterly Business Meeting: The Center's next quarterly business meeting will take place on Saturday, July 25, from 1 to 4 PM. The guest speaker will be a representative from Tele-Care (see separate article below). Lunch costs $8 for members, $9 for guests. The menu is yet to be determined. Please reserve your lunch plate no later than Wednesday, July 22.

Annual Picnic: The Center's annual picnic is set to take place on Saturday, August 22, from noon to 4 PM. The menu is yet to be determined. Lunch costs $9 across the board. Please make your reservation no later than Wednesday, August 20.

September Event: (To be announced.)

Center Announcements

Summer Classes: Ceramics will be held from 10 AM to noon every Tuesday in July; the specific dates are July 7, 14, 21 and 28.

Exercise will be held on Tuesdays, July 7, 14 and 21, from 2 to 3:30 PM.

New Class: Diana Perry will be teaching a new class at the Center for those interested in learning how to play music keyboards. That class will take place from 10 AM to noon every Friday in July; specific dates are July 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31. The Keyboards class will continue in the fall; day and time to be announced.

Center Closure: The Center will be closed during the first two weeks of August. The Center will re-open on Tuesday, August 18.

Important Reminder: Shopping and cooking for our events takes lots of money, time and effort. Please sign up no later than the Wednesday preceeding each event. If you decide not to attend, please let us know as soon as possible. If you do not sign up by the preceeding Wednesday before an event, you will most likely not be served.

Tele-Care Presentation

The Center's Quarterly Business Meeting on Saturday, July 25, will feature a presentation by an organization called Tele-Care.

Tele-Care is a free telephone contact service serving clients in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco Counties since 1970. Its volunteers offer daily check-in calls, friendship and caring. The group also sends greeting and birthday cards and a monthly newsletter.

Tele-Care's goal is to provide clients a feeling of care, assurance of safety, support, staying in their own homes as long as possible and access to services and resources they may need or want. Clients choose the days and times they would like a call, and the organization follows up with alternates the client provides, should we not reach them.

For more information, please call Tele-Care at 510-204-4487.

Introducing Blind and Sighted Seniors to Daily Living Skills

Submitted by Maureen Schulz

(Editor's Note: Center member Maureen Schulz is an Information Social Worker at Alameda County's Department of Aging. I believe her insightful comments deserve to be published, because they provide much food for thought.)

Not a day goes by, in my professional work with seniors and their families, that I am reminded about the common sense and skills we as blind people use in managing our everyday lives. We usually take these for granted, but I think they deserve mentioning.

Take, for instance, everyday situations in the household of a senior, as he/she is losing their sight. The task of writing something down is daunting, and most often people will go on for years writing information in their own handwriting that they will not be able to see and read back. The possibility of using a memo recorder or a phone voice mail/answering machine to keep track of information seems completely senseless, because they cannot imagine themselves operating such a machine.

Dialing the phone has always been done by sight. Seniors ask me, "How can I do it if I cannot see it?" -- Sorting papers, or reading written material, is deemed impossible, because "if I do not see it, I cannot keep track of anything."

This total reliance on sight goes much further, I think, than just a lack of knowledge about adaptive technology equipment or household gadgets and appliances. Of course, I always suggest the visit to an access center, but only a minority of elderly individuals wants to look at or deal with themselves in the light of being blind. "I am nothing without my vision" is what their reactions imply.

Those of us who have dealt with a disability all our lives know that we are whole persons, no matter what our abilities are, and that we are responsible for managing our lives, no matter the circumstances. We do not assume that independence means doing everything by ourselves.

In contrast, seniors I talk with see themselves as totally inadequate and useless, when they stop being able to perform the tasks they used to take for granted. They conclude, "If I cannot do it completely by myself, then somebody else will have to do everything -- plan everything. I might as well give up."

Those of us used to planning our daily routines, perhaps hiring help, or experimenting with new ways of doing things -- from mobility to technology -- know that getting stuck in feeling humiliated is not a good option. We plan ahead; we think of backup options for doing things; we interview and learn to screen potential readers and shoppers.

We find ourselves adopting creative approaches to tackling the concerns of daily life; In fact, we really have no choice but to do this. As various services become increasingly fragmented and unreliable, we have to think "outside the box" at all times. We try to do it with a sense of humor, but we also know when we need to fight battles for equality. Yes, so-called "temporarily able-bodied" individuals can surely learn from us as they are getting older.

Recreational Opportunities Abound at BORP

Submitted by Preston Moses

I want to share with center members my enjoyable experience with BORP, Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program. BORP is a recreation program for people with disabilities. We have a lot of fun and adventures. I encourage people to join BORP to participate insome fantastic outings.

In May, we went to Angel Island on the Tiburon ferry for a picnic and a hike to the immigration station where Chinese immigrants were held prisoner many years ago. While smelling the salt water and hearing the waves, we listened to an interesting talk with poetry about the immigrants. We had lunch in the cafeteria. On the day of the trip, we were met at North Berkeley bart and had a wonderful time. The people who volunteered were kind, and we had nice drivers.

In June, we went to the Job Corps Restaurant on Treasure Island, where we had a delicious lunch. During that month we also saw Man of Lamancha on Mount Tam. The mountain play Association has been presenting plays for the past 96 years. I strongly recommend attending their productions.

BORP has plans in the coming year for camping trips and a trip to King Tut. Lori Grey is in charge of planning BORP's outings. She does an excellent job and is well organized. I hope people will join us for future BORP outings.

For more information, visit BORP's website, www.borp.org, or call Lori Gray, after 10 AM, at 510-843-4398.

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

    President:                  Jan Santos
    First Vice-President:       Daveed Mandell
    Second Vice-President:      Steve Fort
    Recording Secretary:        Patricia Nash
    Corresponding Secretary:    Ida Johnson
    Treasurer:                  Lizz Deeff
    Directors:                  Charlotte Criddell, Connie Kelley,
                                Katrina McCurdy, John Morin, 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 ___) to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons." Thank you.

"Reflect on your present blessings,
of which every man has many;
not on your past misfortunes,
of which all men have some."

    -- Charles Dickens