[Nfbc-info] {Disarmed} LightHouse News: Monthly Edition, December 2010

Lisamaria Martinez, NOMC lmartinez217 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 14 18:00:06 UTC 2010

The LightHouse newsletter for those who are interested.
----- Original Message ----- 

      For a more accessible version of this email screenreaders click here  


                              In This Issue  
                              1. LightHouse Launches Employment Program 
                              2. Blind Brewers Brew Up Blind Skills 
                              3. Mike Roth, Centenarian on the Go 
                              4. LightHouse to Host Braille Challenge 
                              5. Focus on Youth: Nick Helms 
                              6. Featured Volunteer: Roy Younger 
                              7. Reminder: LightHouse Providing Navigation Information for Temporary Transbay Terminal 
                              8. LightHouse Advises SFO on Access 
                              9. Thank You, Dr. Fung 
                              10. Glow in the Dark - A Public Art Project 
                              11. Dialogue with the Director 
                              12. Calling All Blind Gadget Gurus 
                              13. Learn, Connect...Thrive: Sign-up for Upcoming San Francisco Workshops and Classes 
                              14. Do You Ski? Would You Like to Learn? 
                              15. NFB Youth Slam: A STEM Leadership Academy for Blind High School Students 
                              16. Airport Security Checkpoint Screening - If You Use a Service Animal, Know These Tips! 
                              17. Downloadable Eyes 
                              18. Focus Group: Researcher Looking for Participants 
                              19. Gear up for Cycle for Sight by Learning to Race! 
                              20. Help the LightHouse Purchase New Cookware 
                              21. We have a new Facebook page and we want you to "Like" us! 
                              22. We Tweet Too! 
                              23. Do You Have Feedback for Us? 
                              LightHouse Highlights
                              LightHouse Closure: Please note all offices of the LightHouse will be closing early at noon on Friday, December 17. 
                              1. LightHouse Launches 
                              Employment Immersion Program

                              "This is great information. But tell me more about successful blind people."

                              These were the words Kate Williams heard during a recent convention about workforce development in the blind community in Washington, D.C. Williams, a trainer and coach for blind and visually impaired jobseekers, will lead the LightHouse's newly launched Employment Immersion Program, which is made possible through American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds awarded by the California Department of Rehabilitation. 

                                Blind employee works on challenging Braille translation project for the LightHouse 

                              Williams first became passionate about workforce development in the blind community when she began acquiring blindness more than 10 years ago. With more than two decades of high-level human resources and executive recruitment experience, the transition to employment training was a natural one. She joins the LightHouse as part of a partnership with Adaptive Technology Services (ATS), where she has been conducting employment workshops for over a year. Williams will team up with colleagues Julie McCarthy, LightHouse Human Resources and Employment Immersion Director, and Kathryn Kemp, consulting job-placement provider, in facilitating workshops across five locations in the Bay Area, including San Francisco and the LightHouse's new office in Berkeley at the Ed Roberts Campus.

                              A cornerstone of the program will be connecting blind and visually impaired jobseekers with successful blind professionals through formal and informal mentoring opportunities, as was the call to action in Williams' recent workshop. She welcomes sharing strategies for building productive mentor-mentee relationships.

                              "There is no substitute for seeing what success looks like for a blind professional," Williams says. "Whether by observing how someone uses adaptive technology in the workplace or how they graciously navigate questions and curiosity about their blindness, the firsthand perspective of issues like these is critical."

                              Williams added: "This program will not only cover the nuts and bolts of employment training, like resume writing and interview skills, but will also address the 'hidden messages' of landing a job: accountability, chemistry with hiring teams, personal presentation. Successful employees know that these hidden messages are often more important even than hard skills." 

                              Workshops, one-on-one meetings and phone-based follow-up will ensure the success of this high-contact model program: no more than 72 hours will pass without a connection between McCarthy, Williams or Kemp and program participants. And successful job placement is the ultimate goal against which the success of the program will be measured. "By remaining in constant contact and delivering consistent support, we can be sure that jobseekers are not only meeting all of the key objectives needed to secure jobs, but also that they are fully supported along the way," McCarthy said.

                              "Through this program, we hope to teach blind jobseekers and prospective employers enough about accommodation so that it becomes a non-issue," Kemp adds. "We look at it as though we're teaching about blindness in the workplace so that we can then take blindness out of the equation."

                              * * *

                              Stay on the lookout for competitive employment opportunities highlighted in the Employment section of the LightHouse blog: www.lighthouse-sf.org/blog. Additionally, look out for a new "All Jobs, All the Time" section in our monthly LightHouse News email newsletter to stay up-to-the minute on the latest job opportunities. To sign up for our monthly e-news, go to www.lighthouse-sf.org. If you are a blind or visually impaired jobseeker or an employer interested in learning more about the Employment Immersion program, contact Kate Williams at kwilliams at lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7324.

                              Click here to return to Table of Contents
                              2. Blind Brewers Brew Up Blind Skills

                              Despite her family's century old connection with beer brewing, Dorothy Barta had never had the chance to carry on this tradition, until she learned the LightHouse was offering a very special class.

                              Dorothy Barta's family hails from southern Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic), home of the pilsner and situated just miles from the original Budweiser Brewery in Ceske Budejovice. Her family has a deep brewing heritage stretching back for generations, and her father, a passionate homebrewer, was no exception.   

                              Upon deciding to move to the United States, her great-grandparents on both sides of the family chose Green Bay, a small town in northern Wisconsin. Her mother's side arrived in 1859 and her father's side shortly thereafter in 1878. This choice of locale comes as no surprise, given the large Bohemian population and firmly rooted brewing history the state had already fostered.

                              By the time Dorothy's relatives arrived, there were already 200 breweries operating in the state and countless homebrewers populating every town. Dorothy fondly remembers Green Bay and appreciates being raised amongst the friendly folks living in her small, charming Midwestern town. In fact, it was never a surprise to hear a knock on the front door from a neighbor stopping by "just to say hello." She also remembers a noticeable increase in the frequency of neighbors dropping by right around the time a new batch of her father's homebrewed beer became ready to drink.

                                Dorothy Barta, blind brewer, enjoys a glass of beer 

                              In 1990, Dorothy, who is now in her early eighties, was diagnosed with macular degeneration. As her vision diminished, she quickly sought out the LightHouse for guidance. Dorothy took advantage of our offerings, such as computer training courses specializing in adaptive software, visits to our Low Vision Clinic, and volunteering for our gardening program. Thanks to the training and support she received, Dorothy maintained her active and independent life, and she has found herself "among all these new friends."  

                              Recently, Dorothy enrolled in our four-week homebrew workshop. Although the workshop was a first for the LightHouse, the blind have a long history of brewing, particularly in France, where blind monks have been brewing beers inside monasteries since the 14th century. Dorothy quickly rekindled wonderful childhood memories with a group of friends, some new and some well-known.

                              During the four-week period, the Blind Brewers, as the group has been dubbed, learned to craft a batch of beer from start to finish. From mashing the specialty grains to Brailling the beer bottles, the class explored and executed each and every step of the homebrew process.  "It was a wonderful time," Dorothy proclaimed. "I think I made my sisters jealous."

                              LightHouse staff member Rich Russo, who coordinated the class with Darren Cummings, an avid homebrewer and volunteer brewing instructor, recalls mentioning his workshop to friends while it was still in the planning phase. Their initial reaction was generally, "Wait, how do blind people brew beer?" Rich's response was "Well, the same way anyone else would."

                              Rich explained: "All that was necessary for this group to brew a batch of beer was the implementation of a couple of pieces of adaptive technology. For example, we used talking scales to measure out the hops and talking thermometers to be sure essential ingredients were added at just the right temperature. In short, it was a piece of cake."

                              "Rich and I were as hands-off as possible [during the brew process]," Darren added. "Everyone jumped right in and got their hands dirty. These are their batches [of beer]; they did a wonderful job."

                              The group truly turned heads, especially during a Sunday brew session on the back patio of the Rogue Public House in North Beach, San Francisco. Pub manager Ryan recalls feeling "really honored" to host the group. "It was wonderful to see such a diverse group of people brewing beer," he said. "They are welcome back anytime." Rogue graciously donated two Rogue Homebrew Kits as well. That day, the group brewed Rogue's Morimoto Soba Ale, a collaboration brew between Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Rogue head brewer John Maier.

                              Dorothy traveled all the way from her home in Pacifica to congregate with her fellow brewers. The group crafted three different batches of beer during the workshop, and each individual left the class with a cache of ales to take home. Though Pacifica doesn't have the rich brewing tradition of her Wisconsin upbringing, it certainly has the small town charm. Once word gets out that Dorothy has freshly brewed beer in her fridge, it wouldn't be surprising to find neighbors knocking on her door "just to say hello."

                              Click here to return to Table of Contents
                              3. Mike Roth, Centenarian on the Go
                                Mike Roth oyster shucking at Hog Island Oyster Farm 

                              San Francisco is a city known for many things; being health conscious and culinarily refined are two of its most distinctive features. Few of the city's denizens would be particularly impressed by a fellow San Franciscan who has recently taken up yoga and learned to shuck oysters - unless, of course, that individual is a blind centenarian.

                              Mike Roth began practicing yoga at the LightHouse shortly after his 100th birthday, and recently, just days after turning 102, joined fellow LightHouse patrons on a sunny Friday afternoon for a day of shucking oysters at Hog Island Oyster Farm. Mike joined the LightHouse community in 2008 after seeking support and training for his macular degeneration. On Mondays and Wednesdays, Mike participates in the Senior Nutrition Program and yoga classes at the LightHouse and is a regular fixture during group excursions throughout the Bay Area.

                              Mike, with his constant smile and adventurous spirit, warms the hearts of both LightHouse staff and patrons, all of whom can't wait to see what he has up his sleeve for birthday number 103.

                              Click here to return to Table of Contents
                              4. LightHouse to Host Braille Challenge
                                A Braille Challenge participant writes furiously, trying to beat the clock 

                              The LightHouse, in collaboration with the Sacramento Society for the Blind; the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired; and the Braille Institute of America, is happy to announce it will be hosting the 2011 Braille Challenge, an academic contest that rewards students for their pursuit of excellence in the field of Braille literacy. Youth from across Northern California will congregate at the LightHouse on February 26 for this exciting, annual contest. Those interested in competing or volunteering should contact Rich Russo, Community Services Program Assistant, at 415-694-7352 or rrusso at lighthouse-sf.org.

                              Click here to return to Table of Contents
                              5. Focus on Youth: Nick Helms 

                              Lately, Nick Helms seems perpetually cast in the limelight.

                              The junior at Pioneer High School in San Jose has a prominent role in the upcoming documentary film "Do You Dream in Color?" The film chronicles the achievements and hardships of a group of blind and visually impaired teens as they challenge society's perceptions of the capabilities of the blind.
                                Nick speaks emphatically into the microphone during his radio show 

                              Nick is a songwriter and drummer in a "punk-pop alternative garage" band called No Mistake, and the film follows the events leading up to his band's performance in a local show. During the show Nick debuts a new song, "Mistreat Me," which details the underestimations others have placed on his capabilities simply because he has a visual impairment.

                              Furthermore, Nick was recently featured in an article in the Almaden Times Weekly, about the midday radio program he co-hosts alongside fellow classmate Matt Hively from the broadcasting booth at their high school. Their program airs daily on KMTG Radio, 89.3 FM, and is a blend of music and news. Radio broadcasting piqued Nick's interest after he tuned in to a program on acbradio.org, a radio format that "showcases and nurtures the creativity and talents of the blind and low-vision community from many parts of the world."

                              Nick has been a member of the LightHouse community since 2004, when he began attending Enchanted Hills Camp. Enchanted Hills has its own internal radio broadcasting system, and Nick eagerly took the opportunity to hone his on-air skills and develop his radio personality.

                              We would like to congratulate Nick on his recent success! To see a trailer for the film "Do You Dream in Color?" visit www.doyoudreamincolor.org. 

                              Click here to return to Table of Contents
                              6. Featured Volunteer: Roy Younger
                                Roy Younger stands in the LightHouse kitchen 

                              Like all non-profits, the LightHouse for the Blind is fortified by those in the community willing to volunteer their time and energy to support our programs and the clients we serve. We are grateful for each and every one of our 300 plus committed volunteers but would like to take this opportunity to thank one in particular for his hard work and dedication.

                              Roy Younger has been volunteering at the LightHouse since March 2009. He is a regular fixture in the Senior Nutrition Program, which he helps to organize on Mondays and Wednesdays. Roy is a tremendous asset and assists in every facet of the program. Early each morning, Roy leaves his home in West Portal in order to get to the LightHouse by 9:00 a.m. so he can brew a fresh batch of coffee to share with clients as they arrive for the day's Wellness and Enrichment programs. "I like being with everybody," Roy says. "I've gotten to become close friends with [a number of the clients]."

                              Roy also finds time to regularly assist with our monthly bingo and dance nights and is also happy to act as a guide for LightHouse clients who may need assistance traveling to unexplored parts of San Francisco.

                              Roy's dedication stems from his experiences as a young visually impaired camper at Enchanted Hills Camp. He loved the freedom of camp, and the opportunity to try new things such as carpentry. Though it has been nearly four decades since Roy's first encounter with the LightHouse, memories of camp still bring a smile to his face, and he is always eager to add evidence to the long-held theory that laughter is contagious.

                              While we're glad we've served Roy by offering experiences, such as camp, that have bolstered his confidence and independence, he has without a doubt returned the favor many, many times over.

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                              7. Reminder: LightHouse Providing Navigation Information for Temporary Transbay Terminal 

                                Fingers reading a public transit tactile map 

                              On Saturday, December 11, the Temporary Transbay Terminal will launch Phase II of its development. Bus drop-offs and pick-ups will now be established throughout the duration of the existence of the temporary terminal.

                              The LightHouse is partnering with the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) to provide enhanced accessibility and safety information about the terminal to blind and visually impaired travelers. Individuals who held off on getting orientation and mobility for the terminal and its surroundings until this phase should now consider contacting the LightHouse. 

                              Certified Orientation and Mobility specialists can provide information, guidance and route training at no cost (by appointment). All Bay Area blind and low vision travelers should consider this training, which includes the opportunity to learn about alternatives to BART, trip planning from Greyhound, taxi pickup locations and Paratransit transfer sites. The LightHouse will also continue to provide Braille and tactile maps of the temporary terminal and its immediate surroundings.

                              For one-on-one instruction with a Lighthouse Orientation and Mobility Specialist, please call 415-694-7302 or email us at temptransbay at lighthouse-sf.org.

                              Order Braille and tactile maps of the terminal by calling 415-694-7302 or emailing temptransbay at lighthouse-sf.org. 

                              Click here to return to Table of Contents
                              8. LightHouse Advises SFO on Access

                                Chris Downey and CEO Bryan Bashin examine proposed access features at San Francisco International Airport 

                              Recently LightHouse CEO Bryan Bashin and blind architect and LightHouse Board member Chris Downey met with the chief architect of San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Jorge Garcia. The airport has asked the LightHouse to consult on ways to increase the accessibility of the terminal for blind and low-vision patrons, as well as for design suggestions that would cause the least trouble to the airport's 40 million yearly users. 

                              We hope that this meeting will begin a relationship which may yield innovative results and possibly develop new technologies for blind navigation of the sprawling SFO complex.

                              Click here to return to Table of Contents
                              9. Thank You, Dr. Fung

                                Photo: Dr. Wayne Fung 

                              Last year, Wayne Fung, M.D., a board-certified ophthalmologist, answered a call to action from his friend and colleague Steve Young to chair a new LightHouse committee called the Medical Community Friends of the LightHouse. Many members of this group of influential physicians and scientists have a keen interest in the LightHouse because of their experience not just with blind or visually impaired patients, but also because they themselves have acquired blindness or have a loved one who has.

                              Dr. Fung has been a board-certified ophthalmologist since 1968. In 1976, he was one of the founding partners of Pacific Ophthalmic Consultants, now Pacific Eye Associates. In addition to lending his time by leading this new and exciting committee, which is helping the LightHouse with friend- and fundraising, Dr. Fung is a generous donor. We appreciate his support of the LightHouse and his enthusiasm for our programs. Thank you, Dr. Fung! The Medical Community Friends of the LightHouse committee welcomes participation from the extended ophthalmological, medical and optometric community. For more information, contact Bryan Bashin at 415-694-7346.

                              Click here to return to Table of Contents
                              10. Glow in the Dark - A Public Art Project

                                Future site of the Please Touch Community Garden 

                              The LightHouse, Gk Callahan and California College of the Arts (CCA) are pleased to present Glow in the Dark, a one-night exhibition of student work. The project takes place on the vacant building lot at 165 Grove Street in the Civic Center district of San Francisco, the future site of the Please Touch Garden, a community garden for blind and visually impaired people.

                              When: Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. (rain or shine!)
                              Where: 165 Grove Street (Civic Center)

                              The project features work by the following CCA students:

                              * Nicolas Colon
                              * Elliott De Aratanha
                              * David Elder
                              * Ian Garrison
                              * Yoojin Kim
                              * Fred Kolouch
                              * Blaz Pirnat
                              * Robin Tilby
                              * Ping Zhang

                              The show brings together light sculpture, interactive projects, sound art, and tactile experiences that reflect on the condition of blindness and visual impairment. The exhibition comes out of an ongoing dialog between CCA undergraduate students and the LightHouse community.

                              In various projects, sensory experiences are reevaluated, calling into question common perceptions of what it means to see, feel, hear, and touch. Glow in the Dark promotes the idea that there are many ways of seeing and that the relationships between bodily senses are more intertwined than commonly assumed.


                              For more information, contact Gk Callahan at 858-254-1144 or gkcallahan.com www.pleasetouchgarden.tumblr.com

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                              11. Dialogue with the Director

                              LightHouse CEO Bryan Bashin has established a regular time to personally hear from any community member about LightHouse services and opportunities for our organization. 

                              Meeting: Tuesday, January 11, beginning at 6:00 p.m. 

                              Join us for the third in a continuing series of 'dialogues'. These informal evenings have proven to be very useful as the LightHouse develops new programs and services. Refreshments provided. To reserve your place in the dialogue, please contact Chuck Godwin at 415-694-7348 or cgodwin at lighthouse-sf.org by 5:00 p.m. Monday, January 10.

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                              12. Calling All Blind Gadget Gurus

                              Adaptations, the LightHouse store, is looking for participants for its Products Advisory Committee. The purpose of the Products Advisory Committee is to identify and discover innovative and useful high- and low-tech products that can benefit our community. Prospective members should be able to attend committee meetings every two months. To join, or for more information, contact Sam Rodriguez at 415-694-7360 or srodriguez at lighthouse-sf.org.

                              Click here to return to Table of Contents
                              13. Learn, Connect...Thrive: Sign-up for Upcoming San Francisco Workshops and Classes

                              Write To Connect, Life Writing Workshops
                              Saturdays in January (January 8, 15, 22 and 29)
                              12:00 to 2:00 p.m.
                              Sign up by January 1, 2011
                              Through fun and unconventional experiments, Write To Connect can help you expand and clarify your voice in writing. You can use Write To Connect classes to focus on creative or practical writing, such as:

                                a.. personal statements for jobs and self-advocacy
                                b.. social media to meet new people and express viewpoints
                                c.. poems and stories to give shape to your imagination

                              For more information contact Brandon Young before January 1 at 415-694-7372 or byoung at lighthouse-sf.org.

                              Please note all workshops and classes listed here take place at the San Francisco office of the LightHouse.

                              Click here to return to Table of Contents
                              Community Events
                              14. Do You Ski? Would You Like to Learn?

                                A blind skiier and her guide 

                              Have you always had an interest in learning how to ski? Have you ever sat back and said, "I know I can do that." United States Association of Blind Atheletes (USABA) and Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center have teamed up to provide an outstanding opportunity that will help you achieve your goal of learning to enjoy skiing.

                              Who can attend? Any USABA athlete member (including veterans and active duty service members) may attend.  If you're not a member, go to www.usaba.org, and download a membership form, or call USABA (719-630-0422) about joining. 

                              When: March 11-15, 2011 (March 11 and 15 are travel days)

                              Where: Breckenridge, Colorado 

                              Cost: $200 plus travel expenses. This pays for four nights of lodging, all meals, ski equipment, ski instruction and lift passes, when you sign up for the USABA and BOEC Winter Ski Camp. 

                              Scholarship monies and special funding support may be available.

                              Spaces are limited and registration ends on February 11, 2011. Information and the application are available on the USABA website, http://www.usaba.org, under the Headline News section. For additional questions call Rich at 719-630-0422 (extension 15) or email him at military at usaba.org.

                              Click here to return to Table of Contents
                              15. NFB Youth Slam: A STEM Leadership Academy for Blind High School Students
                                Two students conducting scientific experiments at last year's NFB Youth Slam 

                              NFB invites you to attend it's third biennial NFB Youth Slam. Whether or not science or technology is "your thing," there's sure to be something for everyone. Learn the science behind building apps for your iPod, use cutting-edge equipment and technology to determine chemical reactions in chemistry labs, build robots, or learn how to use non-visual techniques to perform a real dissection. We guarantee this summer program will be like no other you've ever been to before!


                              One hundred and fifty blind and low vision students from all across the country will be selected to attend this five-day adventure, to be held in Baltimore, Maryland, that will engage, inspire, and encourage the next generation of blind youth to consider careers falsely believed to be impossible for the blind.

                              While staying on a college campus, students will be mentored by blind role models during fun and challenging activities designed to build confidence and increase science literacy. Participants will also have the opportunity to attend workshops on topics such as leadership, career preparation, and blindness. In addition, students and mentors will take part in a variety of social events throughout the week. Come to the NFB Youth Slam and meet other blind and low vision students from all over the United States!

                              Interested students who will be age fourteen at the time of the program, and are starting high school (ninth grade) in the fall of 2011 or are currently in high school (including those graduating in the spring of 2011) should complete an application online. Students need not have a strong interest in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) in order to participate, enjoy, and benefit from this extraordinary experience.

                              If you are interested in attending the NFB Youth Slam, either as a student participant, or as an adult volunteer, visit www.blindscience.org to complete an online application. Applications are due by March 1, 2011.

                              If you have any questions about the NFB Youth Slam, please visit the Web site or contact Mary Jo Hartle, Director of Education, NFB Jernigan Institute, 410-659-9314, extension 2407, or e-mail YouthSlam at nfb.org.

                              Join participants as they continue to make history at what promises to be the best NFB Youth slam yet!

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                              Noteworthy News
                              16. Airport Security Checkpoint Screening - If You Use a Service Animal, Know These Tips!
                                A guide dog waits patiently at a security checkpoint

                              Recently, advocacy Specialist Ginger Bennett Kutsch of The Seeing Eye (www.seeingeye.org) gave some tips about the new screening technology at airport security checkpoints. Here's a summary of her advice:

                              Lately, a hot topic of discussion has been the Advanced Imaging Technology (full body scanners) we may interact with at airport security checkpoints. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently announced that people with service animals, and those individuals accompanying and providing assistance to people with service animals, are ineligible for screening using Advanced Imaging Technology. This is mainly because the Advanced Imaging Technology machines are too small to accommodate a person and a dog at the same time.   

                              What this means is that [those in this category] will continue to use the walk through metal detector screening or can request a pat-down. A pat-down may be conducted in a private screening area by an officer of the same gender. 

                              When going through the metal detector, be sure to advise the officer on how you and your dog can best achieve screening (walking together or with the dog walking in front of or behind you). 

                              If the alarm sounds when you walk through the metal detector with your dog, both you and the dog must undergo additional screening. If the alarm sounds when you walk through the metal detector separately from your dog, additional screening must be conducted on whoever triggered the alarm (you or the dog). 

                              If the dog alarms the metal detector, the security officer will ask for permission and assistance from you before they touch the dog and its belongings.  The officer will then perform a hand inspection of the dog and its belongings (collar, harness, leash, pouch,, etc.)  The belongings will not be removed from the dog at any time. 

                              At no time will you be required to be separated from your dog. If you run into any problems during the screening process, you can ask to speak with a supervisor. 

                              For more information about tips on how to make traveling through security checkpoints as easy as possible, visit the Transportation Security Administration website at http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1056.shtm.

                              Click here to return to Table of Contents
                              17. Downloadable Eyes
                              By Belo Cipriani  

                                A smartphone analyzes a photo taken of a candy bar 

                              Cell phones do a lot more than send and receive calls in the 21st century. Visual search apps are trendy and are finally making cameras on cell phones useful for the blind. So, it's now possible to use our phones to identify products at a grocery store or get information about a DVD by taking a snapshot of a movie poster. There is a visual search app for every mobile operating system. Android users have Google Goggles, there is oMoby for iPhone customers and now LookTel for Windows.
                              Visual search apps work similar to barcode readers in that they scan items and run a search to acquire product information. However, visual search apps do not run their search on a database, but instead the internet. Visual search apps can also recognize landmarks and dollar bills, but it can be tricky for a blind person to get the shot right. LookTel offers an additional feature where one can remotely connect with someone else for sighted assistance. The blind person can send streaming video of their location and get help finding a bus stop or address with their phone. Although LookTel is the most blind-friendly of the three, some sighted assistance is needed to set up the app.
                              Low vision individuals seem to have the most success with visual search apps as some of them have enough vision to snap the shot properly. Even though visual search technology is still in its infancy, its definitely a low cost alternative to pricy and bulky barcode readers. Both Google Goggles and oMoby are free downloads. LookTel offers a few different packages - one even includes text scanning for access to print media. Also, one can enroll as a tester and receive an additional 30% discount. Please contact them for pricing. For more information about these apps, check out their sites at http://www.google.com/mobile/goggles/, http://omoby.com/ and htttp://www.looktel.com.

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                              18. Focus Group: Researcher Looking for Participants


                              Patricia Yeager, formerly Director of the California Foundation for
                              Independent Living Centers, is conducting her dissertation research on people with disabilities on benefits and work. She is looking for 5-7 participants with physical or emotional disabilities who can communicate their thoughts and feelings about work. Specifically, she is looking for persons who are:

                                a.. Between the ages of 18 and 36  
                                b.. On SSA benefits (SSI or SSDI or application in process)
                                c.. In relatively good health (enough so that he/she could work some hours a week)  
                                d.. Have heard about work incentives programs but reluctant to try work
                              The goal of this research is to understand what, if any, internal barriers some people with disabilities may have toward work. There will be one or two focus groups in the Bay Area the first week of January with a follow-up interview with up to four individuals. All information will be held confidential and will not impact benefits or other services you might receive. 

                              Results will be shared with you and $35 Visa Gift cards will be given to those who participate in the focus groups. An additional $25 gift card will be given to those who participate in the follow-up interview.

                              If you are interested and want more details, please email Patricia at yeag0386 at bears.unco.edu or call 970-356-5521. Additional information including a letter of informed consent will be emailed to you. Thank you!

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                        Monthly Edition
                        December 2010

                        19. Gear up for Cycle for Sight by Learning to Race!  

                        United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) is hosting a series of "Learn to Race" Cycling Development Camps for riders with physical disabilities. To learn more, go to http://bit.ly/hY1RbI. 

                        In 2011 our Enchanted Hills Camp will again be the beneficiary of the Cycle for Sight Fundraiser, taking place on April 16. They will be updating their website soon so that they can take signups, so bookmark http://www.cycle4sight.com

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                        20. Help the LightHouse Purchase New Cookware
                        We need to replace some very old cookware used in our cooking classes. Through February 22, 2011, for every $10 you spend on qualified purchases, Lucky Supermarket is giving out a stamp that can be redeemed for professional cookware. Please consider donating these stamps to the LightHouse. Bring them into our office or mail them to LightHouse for the Blind, Attention Kathy Abrahamson, 214 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, 94102. Thank you for your support! 

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                        21. We have a new Facebook page and we want you to "Like" us!
                        We have a brand new Facebook page and we're ready for you to "like" us for the first time, or again! 

                        Enter Our Special Drawing!
                        If you "like" us by December 15, 2010,  you'll be entered in a drawing to win a "Best of San Francisco" package, including Ghiradelli chocolates and an Adaptations gift certicate.

                        Click below to 'like" the LightHouse enter our drawing!


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                        22. We Tweet Too!
                        Stay up to date on all the latest happenings at the LightHouse.  Follow our Tweets @


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                        23. Do You Have Feedback for Us?
                        Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Let us know! Send an email to:

                        lhnews at lighthouse-sf.org

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