East Bay Center for the Blind


Summer 2016
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
Website: www.eastbaycenterfortheblind.org
Facebook: facebook.com/eastbaycenterfortheblind
Twitter: twitter.com/ebcbberkeley

Daveed Mandell, Editor

Editor's Corner

By Daveed Mandell

Welcome to the Summer issue of the EBCB Newsletter. Much has happened at EBCB during the past quarter, and I'm quite pleased with the progress we've made.

Thanks to the diligent efforts of our senior technology instructor and First Vice-President Leah Gardner, and Technology Guru Kelly McCarthy, EBCB has at last joined the 21st century and is now on Facebook and Twitter. Our Administrative Assistant and Treasurer, Doyle Saylor, has been hard at work recording audio and video interviews with Center members to be put on our social media outlets and YouTube. Leah and I participated in these interviews.

Several people have worked with me to write the text of our new brochure, including General Manager Jan Santos, President Dorothy Donaville, Recording Secretary Connie Skeen, Board member Claude Everett, Leah and Doyle. We are delighted to be working again with graphic artist, Deb Sibony, who produced our brochure in 2011.

A volunteer has been working on making our website accessible with WordPress, so that blind people can administer it. We very much appreciate his hard work on our behalf. Mark Greeley is working with Doyle to start a campaign on the Go Fund Me site. We hope to raise $30,000, which is now our approximate deficit. In addition, I am compiling a list of Center supporters and hope to launch a direct mail campaign, possibly via email, to solicit further donations.

Last month several of us visited the Orientation Center for the Blind in Albany, and the Hatlen Center in San Pablo, to talk with the students about EBCB. Participating were Dorothy, Leah, Kelly, Board members Marie Jenkins and Ray Marcus, Membership Committee and Telephone Sub-Committee Chair Connie Thomas, Doyle and myself. We enjoyed meeting and talking with the students, and they appeared to be quite interested in what we had to say and actively participated in the discussions.

We would like to express our gratitude to Michelle Muennig who, under the auspices of the Berkeley Adult School, has taught ceramics at the Center for nearly eleven years. She will no longer be our ceramics instructor. We do not yet know who will replace her.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed money, time and equipment to the Center. We are grateful for all financial and in-kind donations. Without your support we couldn't continue to function.

Our recent Movie Day event was a resounding success, largely due to the delicious homemade pizza of which we were privileged to partake. We gratefully acknowledge the effort and skill of chef Nick Wellhausen. Our heartfelt appreciation also goes to Center member Marijo Swearingen's brother, Chuck Adams, who generously provided a pizza oven and pizza ingredients.

Thanks to Maureen Schulz for submitting her article for this issue. I am always happy to receive contributions to the newsletter. Please send them via email or bring them to the Center.

Here's wishing all of you an enjoyable summer.

President's Letter


It is with sincere and heartfelt goodwill that I acknowledge our former president Anita March for her valuable service over the past two terms. Together, we served on the Board of Directors for a number of years. As many of you know, Anita resigned because she relocated to the East Coast. We wish her the very best experiences in her new environment.

Due to Anita's resignation, there were changes in the Board of Directors. As the new president of the Board, I appointed Leah Gardner to take my former seat as First Vice-President, and Marie Jenkins to become a Director to fill Leah's vacancy as Director. I am certain these individuals will do an excellent job for our Board.

Since I have taken the gavel, we have accomplished several great things in the past three months. I wish to thank the following people for the wonderful job they are doing in launching a Facebook Page, a Twitter account and working towards developing Podcasts for EBCB. Kudos to Daveed Mandell, who has motivated and inspired Kelly McCarthy, Leah Gardner, Mark Greeley and Doyle Saylor in their work with him on these projects. We appreciate all that each of you is doing. Keep up the good work.

Daveed has been working as EBCB's Public Relations Officer for the past three months. We acknowledge Daveed for his endeavors to provide public relations, visibility and a greater sense of community to our Center.

With these new changes our Center continues to evolve, but our vision, mission and desire to progress and create mutually beneficial opportunities for all will not change. I look forward to giving my very best service and attention to EBCB as I have in the past.

With kindest regards,
Dorothy Donaville, President

Upcoming Events

Breaking Point Storytelling Evening: We are pleased to initiate storytelling evenings at the Center. The first such evening is called Breaking Point, which will take place on Saturday, July 9, from 7 to 9 PM. People will tell stories about reality-changing events that have dramatically reshaped their lives. This is a strictly adult event. Raw language will not be censored. Light refreshments will be available for a donation of $10. Please sign up for this event by Wednesday, July 6, at 3 PM.

Quarterly Business Meeting: The Center will hold its next quarterly business meeting on Saturday, July 23, from 1 to 4 PM. Jennifer Lazo, Director of Berkeley's Office of Emergency Services, will give a presentation on fire safety. In October she will deliver a presentation on earthquake safety. Lunch will be available for a donation of $10. Menu to be announced. Please reserve your meal by Wednesday, July 20, at 3 PM.

Diamond Mines Outing: Thanks to the generous assistance of the East Bay Regional Park District, Center members and friends will tour the Antioch Diamond Mines on Friday, August 19. Participants in this outing must arrive at the Center by 9 AM. The bus will leave the Center at 9:30 AM sharp. Please bring a brown bag lunch. The group will be divided into two tours of the mines — 10:30 AM to noon and noon to 1:30 PM. The bus will leave Antioch at 2 PM and will return to the Center at 3 PM. Please schedule paratransit rides no earlier than 3:30 PM. Please sign up for this outing by Wednesday, August 17, at 3 PM. The bus will hold a maximum of 22 people.

Annual Picnic: The Center's annual picnic will take place on Saturday, August 27, from noon to 4 PM. Lunch will be available for a donation of $10. The menu will include the usual picnic fare — hamburgers, hot dogs, corn, potato salad, baked beans and watermelon. Please reserve your meal by Wednesday, August 24, at 3 PM.

Oldies Dance: The Center will hold an Oldies Dance on Saturday, September 24, from noon to 4 PM. Mike Gorman will be our deejay. Lunch will be available for a donation of $10. Menu to be announced. Please reserve your meal by Wednesday, September 21, at 3 PM.

Center Announcements

Summer Classes:
The Memory Enhancement class continues during the summer and takes place, as usual, every Thursday from 10 AM to noon.  Technology and braille instruction continues during the summer as well.  iPhone workshops will be held on Thursday, July 14, July 28 and August 25, from 1 to 2:30 PM.

Berkeley Adult School Classes:
Ceramics will resume in the fall on Tuesday, August 30, from 10 AM to 12:30 PM.  Low-Impact Exercise will resume on Tuesday, August 30, from 2:15 to 3:30 PM.  Music Appreciation will resume on Friday, September 2, from 1 to 2:30 PM.

Book Club: The Book Club will not meet in August. It will resume on Friday, September 2, from 10 to 11 AM. The book to be discussed will be "Tides of Love" by Patricia Matthews. On Friday, October 7, the book will be "Torn Away" by Jennifer Brown.

Writing Group: The Center's Writing Group will meet on Friday, July 15, August 19, September 16 and October 21, from 10 to 11 AM.

Bingo: There will be no bingo in August. Bingo will resume on Thursday, September 1, from 1 to 3 PM.

Learn About the UC Berkeley Low Vision Clinic: Low vision services can provide many options for vision support for functional and recreational activities. The UC Berkeley School of Optometry Low Vision Clinic offers a full array of low vision services, including low vision exams to identify an individual's functional vision abilities, optical and electronic low vision aids when appropriate, as well as resources and support. Come to the Center to meet with Liz Barclay, Rehabilitation Educator and Coordinator of Low Vision Services, on Wednesday, August 17, from 1 to 2:30 PM, for an overview of the Clinic's services. Please contact the Center if you plan to attend this presentation.

Newsletter Email: Senior Technology Instructor Leah Gardner and Technology Guru Kelly McCarthy are automating our newsletter email system. If you currently receive the newsletter via email, Leah has sent you "invitations" to continue receiving it automatically. As an alternative, for those who find it difficult to "accept" these invitations, Kelly is setting up an email list via Microsoft Outlook. Also, thanks to Kelly, people will soon be able to subscribe to the newsletter via the Center's website. If you have any questions or problems with any of these automated email processes, please contact Leah or Kelly at the Center.

Fundraising Committee: Center Fundraising Committee Chair Claude Everett reports that tickets for our annual Holiday raffle are expected to be available for distribution by late August or early September. Tickets will be sold in books of six for five dollars a book. Four prizes will be offered, as follows: first prize, $200; second prize, $150; third prize, a Holiday basket provided by various East Bay merchants; and fourth prize, $50.

Acupuncture Time Change: From now on Acupuncture sessions will take place at the Center on the last Friday of each month from 9:30 to 11:30 AM. To sign up, please call the Center.

Center Closure: The Center will be closed for the first two weeks in August, beginning Tuesday, August 2. It will re-open on Tuesday, August 16.

The Benefits of Mindfulness

Submitted By: Maureen Schultz

Whether we are relatively new dealing with our disability, or have lived with it a long time, the daily challenges with which it presents us are varied and ongoing. On the whole, we may see ourselves as successful in negotiating these, but is that enough? Is an inner sense of joy, groundedness or stability eluding us in spite of all we accomplish, or is it even possible in the face of, say, realities such as unemployment, decreasing mobility with age, ongoing physical or emotional pain?

The practice and cultivation of mindfulness has its roots in the Buddhist tradition, but an attitude of quiet contemplation and rituals of meditation and prayer are found in most religions. In fact, the very definition of the word "religion", favored by scholars such as Joseph Campbell, is based on the Latin prefix "re" (again) and the verb "ligare" (to bind, to connect), i.e. a re-connecting to "source energy", whether we describe that source as God, love, or as the universal life force.

It is this re-connection then, this process of opening and creating an inner space for quiet reflection or, to take it a step further, for "being", that lies at the heart of mindfulness practices. The present moment, as we experience it, in reverence, without judgment but with a willingness to see, and to value and appreciate what we see, is our point of entry. Slow, deep breaths in and out, in and out, may help to calm and cleanse our system, as we prepare to let go of tension.

From here, we may come to see, with an inner knowing, that our body is a sacred space, and that the actions we take in life are our way of expressing that. We may see the obstacles that can get in our way, as well as those we have overcome and are constantly overcoming, as we deal with daily challenges. We may find areas that need healing, and realize that, as we recognize this, the healing is already taking place.

What do we need to preserve this very personal connection? Do we need a few minutes every day to refresh ourselves? Do we need a regular, ongoing practice of meditation?

Many methods are available, but whatever the method, dedicating time toward cultivating mindfulness may make our days a little easier, our interactions with people a little more grounded, and our life's journey a lot more joyful!

Take Time to Laugh

(Thanks to Dorothy Donaville for sending us this inspirational piece.)

  Take time to laugh.
  It is the music of the soul.
  Take time to think.
  It is the source of power.
  Take time to play.
  It is the source of perpetual youth.
  Take time to read.
  It is the fountain of wisdom.
  Take time to pray.
  It is the greatest power on Earth.
  Take time to love and be loved.
  It is a God-given privilege.
  Take time to be friendly.
  It is the road to happiness.
  Take time to give.
  It is too short a day to be selfish.
  Take time to work.
  It is the price of success.

   — Anonymous

AC Go: More buses, more often

AC Transit expands and redesigns for reliability, starting Sunday, June 26. Details at actransit.org or 510-891-4777.

Starting in June 2016, AC Transit put more buses on the street. More buses means faster service and shorter wait times. The district claims that it has improved weekday and weekend service to better accommodate those who travel outside commuter hours. It has updated schedules to improve service reliability. For more information on route changes and other updates, please contact AC Transit.

BART Accessibility Concerns

Disability Rights Advocates and the Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center are investigating a variety of complaints about the accessibility of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stations in the following areas: the duration and frequency of elevator service outages, the cleanliness of station elevators, a lack of signage identifying accessible routes, and broken accessible fare gates.

We are interested in learning about the experiences, both positive and negative, of people with mobility disabilities who use BART. If you have a mobility disability and use BART, or if you are deterred from using BART because of accessibility concerns, we would love to hear from you. To share your experiences, please contact:

Sean Betouliere, sbetouliere@dralegal.org, 510-665-8644 or Jinny Kim, jkim@las-elc.org, 415-864-8848 Ext. 269

Rebecca Williford
Senior Staff Attorney
Disability Rights Advocates
2001 Center Street, Third Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704-1204
510-665-8644 Ext. 123 (Tel)
510-66-8511 (Fax)

Thank you for your assistance.

Recipe: Mexican Soup

Submitted By: Jan Santos

1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine; coat meat.

2 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, skinned, boned and cut into bite-sized pieces (could also use chicken breast), or 1 pound beef stew cut into bite-size pieces
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped (I like more)
Brown meat with onion and garlic.

6 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 small or medium can jalapenos or green chilies
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 one-pound can tomatoes with liquid (chopped or broken up)
Add to pot; simmer until tender.

4 cups chopped zucchini
1 one-pound can corn
Add corn and zucchini, cook until zucchini is done, about 10 minutes.

Garnish: Monterey jack cheese grated (optional)
Makes 15 1.5-cup servings.

Remembering Charlotte Criddell

Submitted By: Daveed Mandell

It is with much sadness that we announce that Charlotte Criddell passed away last May 15. She was 89 years old. Charlotte was warm, friendly, always cheerful and witty. She was a caring and giving person.

Charlotte attended the Orientation Center for the Blind in Albany during the early 1990s. Nonetheless, for years Charlotte continued to fight valiantly to save what remaining vision she had. However, after several unsuccessful corneal transplants, she began to study braille and use a white cane in earnest. Charlotte was so motivated that she soon was able to read an entire braille book and even began to learn how to write with a slate and stylus. Charlotte worked as the receptionist at the Lions Blind Center during the 1990s. All of the clients enjoyed interacting with her. She was a source of comfort and encouragement.

Also during the 1990s, Charlotte began to sell See's candy for LBC. A brilliant and persistent saleswoman, she sold hundreds of boxes. After she was dismissed from LBC, Charlotte started selling candy for EBCB and continued to do so until about a year ago. Charlotte also sold World's Finest chocolate bars. She went to the See's wholesale store in San Leandro several times every month to order candy and brought fairly large orders, via paratransit, to EBCB.

We are grateful for Charlotte's tremendous dedication and contribution to the Center. We will miss her smile and her laughter. We are sad to have lost her, but glad that she is no longer suffering. May Charlotte Criddell rest in peace.

Remembering Manuel Arellano

Submitted By: Daveed Mandell

(Manuel Arellano passed away in February of this year. Here is part of a note that I sent his sister Josie.)

Manuel was an incredibly special person — an inspiration to us all — always caring, giving, loving, helping, working hard, passionately devoted to family and friends. Although he did not have an easy life, he was always optimistic. His physical difficulties never affected his warmth, his laughter, his joy and his zest for life. No matter his age and physical difficulties, Manuel always maintained the unflagging spirit of a young man. Were that all human beings were like him! I personally was privileged to know and befriend Manuel and will miss him greatly.

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: Dorothy Donaville
First Vice-President: Leah Gardner
Second Vice-President: Larry Wolf
Recording Secretary: Connie Skeen
Corresponding Secretary: Daveed Mandell
Treasurer: Doyle Saylor
Directors: Michael Castner; Claude Everett; Marie Jenkins; Ray Marcus; Louise Wolf


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.

The cane is a limited eye, but by it we get by.
  — Doug Nash