Category Archives: LightHouse News

For Ears Only: LightHouse Listenings presents podcast ‘The World According to Sound’ on March 8th and 9th

Ever wondered what bridges sound like? Or ants? In a new event at LightHouse, we’re offering an opportunity to relax, join friends for a drink and simply enjoy the act of listening.

On March 8th and 9th, the LightHouse for the Blind in San Francisco will host its first-ever LightHouse Listenings — a live listening party for ears only — featuring San-Francisco based podcast The World According to Sound.

When: Wednesday, March 8th and Thursday, March 9th at 7 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m.

Where: LightHouse Headquarters, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco

Cost: $10 in advance. $15 at the door (cash only). Visit our Eventbrite page to purchase tickets online. If you experience any difficulties purchasing tickets through Eventbrite, contact LightHouse Events Manager Dagny Brown at dbrown@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7311.

The World According to Sound (WATS) takes you on an hour-long jaunt through sound and space. Auditory hallucinations, cityscapes of bygone eras— these are the sonic oddities you might experience (or just truly pay attention to) for the very first time. Think 100 people sitting in a dark room equipped with sleep shades as they listen to a selection of choreographed sounds coming from eight world-class speakers placed throughout the room.

If it all sounds a little curious or experimental, we’ve got you covered: come straight from work for a beer on us. Doors open at 6. We think letting your mind do a little wondering and wandering might just be the perfect way to unwind after a long day in the office.

Not only are podcasts an inherently accessible medium for the blind and low vision community, but The World According to Sound is perfect for our audience of radio, recording and audio enthusiasts. So we’re teaming up with the podcast to bring the event directly to a local live audience for The World According to Sound’s east coast tour sendoff. It’s your chance to lean back and listen to the sound of blackholes, auctioneers, the Golden Gate Bridge and more — the eyes have no place at this event.

The two public radioheads behind the WATS, Chris Hoff and Sam Harnett, are no strangers to their live event’s popularity in the blind and low vision community — that’s why they approached us to host their east coast tour sendoff. The podcast’s very first donation, back in 2015, came from a blind listener in Nevada, who loved the evocative nature of the 90-second sound show. They have since received recurring praise from other blind and low vision attendees who were refreshed to find an event so tailored to a non visual medium.

Hoff and Harnett also have some interesting theories about sound and visual culture. They think that non visual mediums, like sound, might create a little more room for a special mental state to creep in – one might call it luxurious boredom – a kind of freeing opportunity for the always-spinning brain.

“Visual culture in America is so dominant and controlling,” says Sam. “But when you present sound in the right way, you create a space where your mind is invited to meander.”

“We’re looking for a sound that can communicate to the listener in a new way, evoke something and making you think about the world differently,” says Chris. “Our jobs in public radio have made us pay attention to sound — we’ve been conditioned to listen to spaces.”

You’ll probably walk away from the event thinking about audio in a whole new way. We certainly did after digging into a few episodes on the World According to Sound’s SoundCloud page.

LightHouse Listenings

We present live listening parties for ears only, from live podcast recordings to pre-recorded material, hosted by LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco. We’ll host panels, album releases, live musicians, you name it — if you’re into listening, we’ve got the venue. If you’re interested in staging your event for LightHouse Listenings, contact LightHouse Events Manager Dagny Brown at dbrown@lighthouse-sf.org.

About the World According to Sound

Sam Harnett and Chris Hoff started the World According to Sound show with one idea: to make radio that’s about sound, not storytelling. They both tell stories in their public radio day jobs — Sam as a reporter at KQED and Chris as a sound engineer at KALW. But they believe the medium has potential for so much more. That’s their bigger goal—to bring more sound, more experimentation, and more weirdness to mainstream public radio in their 90-second podcast.

WATS East Coast Tour

Starting on March 25, the World According to Sound will be touring the east coast and presenting their live event at colleges and universities including Skidmore College, University of Vermont,  Boston University and others. First stop? UVM on March 25th. Visit www.theworldaccordingtosound.org to stay updated.

A special thanks goes to BBI Engineering Inc. for sponsoring this event with the donation of eight world-class speakers. 

Stride Into Valentine’s Day with Professional Photos and a New Workshop from LightHouse

This February, LightHouse is feelin’ the love! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and even if your “new year, new me” mantra isn’t quite sticking, we want to give you the shine and swagger you deserve.

On Thursday, February 9, we’ll open up a pop-up portrait studio at the LightHouse for those interested in adding a fresh new photo to their personal or professional profiles. The studio will be open prior to our World of Sex workshop, which is led this month by Life Coach Jan McClain and LightHouse’s Laura Millar. This month’s theme is all about confidence, so what better time to join us for a candid chat  about dating, intimacy and social situations in general. And if you want, you can leave with some professional photos that you (and others) will love.

Love is Blind: Update Your Dating Profile Pic with a Free Photoshoot at LightHouse

Ready for your close-up? Come hang out at our pop-up portrait studio, listen to some good tunes and get a few new snaps that you’re proud to share. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and beautiful — our photographer Renae will do the rest!

When: Thursday, February 9, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

Who: Adults who are blind or have low vision

Where: LightHouse Headquarters, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, tell reception you’re here to have your photo taken in the fitness studio.

Cost: Free!

RSVP: Contact Renae Davidson at jdavidson@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7370 to set up an appointment.

 

World of Sex: Navigating Social Situations with Ease

Does the idea of navigating the dating world scare you? Do you shrink when you think about putting yourself “out there” at a social event or party? Do you sometimes stay home even though you wish you had gone out? Managing your social life can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Want some tools on how to do it? Or want to share what’s holding you back? Let’s talk!

Join us at our “World of Sex” workshop with Certified Life Coach and NLP Master Practitioner Jan McClain. This workshop aims to have individuals work towards confidence and security, by instilling a safe place for open conversation about issues and barriers he/she/they may be facing.

When: February 9th from 6 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Who: Adults who are blind or have low vision

Where: LightHouse Headquarters, 1155 Market St, 10th floor

Cost: Free!

RSVP: Participants must RSVP Laura Millar lmillar@lighthouse-sf.org or call 415-694-7345.

Through an approach that uses humor and normalizes the often-stigmatizing feelings about social situations, Jan helps people establish common ground, no matter who they are. For this February’s workshop, Jan promises “body-centered techniques” for feeling at ease, regardless of the situation. “It’s a chance to try things out,” she says, “to see what works and what doesn’t.”  Her goal is for participants to walk away with confidence and an eagerness to try new things in social situations.

This workshop provides a safe space for people who are blind or low vision to share their experience navigating social situations as blind individuals, and to explore areas where they might be holding themselves back. Then, Jan will provide participants with concrete tools for feeling good and calming anxiety.

“These discussions are not typically held,” says Laura Millar, our Sexual Health Services Program Coordinator, “so this takes things a level deeper and allows us a space to be honest, curious and ultimately well-informed.”

LightHouse Kitchen Recipe of the Month: Julia Child’s Reine de Saba Cake

To give you a little taste of what we’re cooking in our Betty Ruhland Teaching Kitchen, we’ve decided to publish monthly recipes that you can come learn to bake in one of our two-day cooking classes. 

We’re coming up on Valentine’s Day, which seems as good a time as any to treat your sweetheart (or yourself) to something delicious. Here’s Julia Child’s Reine de Saba (French for Queen of Sheba, and a luscious chocolate cake) to motivate you and your tastebuds to stop by the LightHouse Kitchen in February.

We’ll be baking this recipe at our February What’s the Scoop? Measure and Mix Class on February 14 and 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

This two-day course is designed to help you learn and practice measuring with confidence as we explore techniques for measuring both liquids and dry ingredients in both large and small quantities. We will measure those tricky things like brown sugar, flour, flavorings and oils as well as common conversions and strategies for tricky ingredients.

Come prepared to try new ideas and practice the following skills:

  • Avoiding spills, working in an orderly and tidy fashion
  • Time worn techniques with common household equipment
  • Explore new gadgets and technologies
  • Mixing, blending, beating, whisking, folding, stirring and more

If you have questions about the class content please contact Sydney Ferrario, Instructor, at 415-694-7612 or sferrario@lighthouse-sf.org. Let the baking begin!


Chocolate Almond Cake

  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 T rum or brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup plus 1T sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • Large pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup finely ground almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup sifted cake flour

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour and 8-inch cake pan. Combine chopped chocolate and rum in a medium metal bowl. Set bowl over medium saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Cool melted chocolate, stirring occasionally. Using electric mixer, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar in large bowl until fluffy and pale. Add egg yolks and beat until blended. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and pinch of salt in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and beat until stiff but not dry.

Fold chocolate mixture, then almonds and almond extract into yolk mixture. Fold in 1/4 of whites to lighten batter. Fold in 1/3 of remaining whites. Sift 1/3 of flour over and fold in. Fold in remaining whites alternately with flour in 2 more additions each. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Push some batter 3/4 inch up sides of pan with rubber spatula (batter will slip down).

Bake cake until puffed and gently set in center and tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Cut around pan sides and carefully turn cake out onto rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

Chocolate Butter Icing

  • 1 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rum or brewed coffee
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Combine chocolate and rum in small metal bowl. Set bowl over small saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Using wooden spoon, beat in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until icing is smooth. Place bowl over medium bowl filled with ice water. Continue to beat until icing is cool and thickened to spreading consistency. Place cake on platter. Scrape icing onto top center. Using small offset spatula, spread icing evenly and thinly over top and sides of cake.

The Summer 2017 Enchanted Hills Camp Schedule is here!

For those of you who have been waiting with bated breath, 2017 Enchanted Hills Camp registration is now open! See the full schedule of sessions below and follow the links for descriptions of each.

We’re also offering a  few new adult sessions in February and March, including our Adult Music Session in mid-February and an additional Woodworking with Wurtzel session in March, to accommodate the folks who missed out on the February session.

Adult Music Session – February 16 – 19

Woodworking with Wurtzel – February 16 – 19 (FULL)

Woodworking with Wurtzel  – March 16 -19

Baking with Dan – March 16 -19

Cycle for Sight – April 22

Family Camp I – June 8 – 11

Blind Babies Family Camp – June 16 – 18

Adult Session – June 24 – 29

Adults with Developmental Disability Session – June 30 to July 5

Family Camp II – July 6 – 9

Youth Camp – July 10 – 16

STEM Camp – July 12 – 15

Teen Camp – July 20 – 29

Family Camp III – August 2 – 5

Horse Camp – August 7 – 13

Youth Music Academy – August 7 – 13

Deaf-Blind Session – August 14 – 18

Chemistry Camp – October 20 – 22

Register here for all of the 2017 Enchanted Hills Camp Sessions.

If you have question regarding camp sessions or registration, contact EHC Program Coordinator Taccarra Burrell at tburrell@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-863-7568.

The LightHouse Community to Join the 47th Annual PRIDE Parade

We’re excited to announce that LightHouse will march in the 47th annual San Francisco Pride parade on June 24th and 25th! On February 18th, we invite you to join us at the LightHouse headquarters at 6:00 p.m. to participate in a community led effort, get to know each other, share dinner together and discuss how we want to be represented in the parade, and the events leading up to Pride.

The San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest gathering of the LGBT community and allies in the nation. The mission of the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee is to educate the world, commemorate LGBT heritage, celebrate LGBT culture, and liberate LGBT people.

The LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is proud to support this mission and invites our LGBT community members, their families and allies to join the LightHouse and participate in this year’s Pride parade and events leading up to the parade!

We need your participation, but first we need your voice!  Please tell us how YOU would like to participate by filling out the 3 question survey in the “Community Pulse Check” below and attending the kick off dinner to share your ideas.

Please email Laura Millar at lmillar@lighthouse-sf.org or call 415-694-7345 to RSVP for the kickoff and planning dinner, February 18 at LightHouse.

Community Pulse Check

Welcome to our first community pulse check!  The community pulse check is a short poll that will help us better understand the community we serve at the LightHouse and to hear your voice. Fill out the survey below or visit the external link to submit your input!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LHPRIDECommunityPulseCheck
Create your own user feedback survey

LightHouse to Provide Apple Technology for Students with Low Vision

 Reading is a simple pleasure; it’s also an educational necessity and a human right that millions of people with low vision are denied worldwide. Today, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco is pleased to announce an initiative that will put new technology into the hands of students with low vision, ensuring they have easy, continuous access to books.

Partnering with LightHouse Guild and the San Francisco-based American Academy of Ophthalmology, the LightHouse will train qualifying low vision students to instantly access over half a million books and read text with a whole new comfort level. Each student who meets income and eyesight requirements will receive an Apple iPad loaded with Spotlight Gateway, a new app designed specifically to expand access to digital reading materials for people with low vision. The program also includes complimentary trainings at LightHouse’s new headquarters at 1155 Market Street in San Francisco.

“The highest priority for a young person is a level playing field for learning,” says LightHouse CEO Bryan Bashin, “and we won’t take exception to that for students with low vision who need better tools for reading. This is a program to ensure that hundreds of students across the West Coast get access to the printed page through the latest software.”

The LightHouse is launching its West Coast iPad Program in tandem with Lighthouse Guild’s program in New York as well as VisionServe Alliance members, who also provide services for individuals who are blind or have low vision throughout the United States.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology’s community of member ophthalmologists — physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care —  will support this effort by certifying qualified students across the country for the program. Participation in this program is part of the Academy’s ongoing effort to quickly refer low vision patients to vision rehabilitation services that lessen the impact of their change in vision, providing them with tools for greater literacy and, consequently, a fuller life.

“Patients can learn how to maximize their potential by using assistive devices and techniques,” says Philip R. Rizzuto, MD, American Academy of Ophthalmology. “This initiative supports ophthalmology’s commitment to helping these young people in every possible way.”

Apple Inc., has become a leader in the field of accessibility, ensuring that every one of their products functions off the shelf for blind users: Bookshare® is the national leader in providing texts to K-12 blind students; and Spotlight Gateway is built to utilize the full, vivid screen of the iPad. The combination will facilitate a huge leap forward for many struggling and underserved students across the country.

LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco and Lighthouse Guild in New York City will distribute a limited number of iPads in their respective regions, and VisionServe Alliance members (with offices across the country) will provide locations where students can access iPads if they are not in NYC or Northern California.

February 1, 2017: Ophthalmologists may begin registering students at the AAO website’s low vision rehabilitation page.

Mar. 1, 2017: Distribution program begins with tech trainings at LightHouse in San Francisco and Lighthouse Guild in New York City.

For more info on referrals, contact sblanks@lighthouse-sf.org. For press, contact press@lighthouse-sf.org.

 

About The LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Founded in 1902, San Francisco’s LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired promotes the independence, equality and self-reliance of people who are blind or have low vision. LightHouse offers blindness skills training and relevant services such as access to employment, education, government, information, recreation, transportation and the environment. LightHouse also pursues the development of new technology, encourages innovation, and amplifies the voices of blind individuals around the world. Headquartered in downtown San Francisco, the LightHouse offers training programs and short term residences to accommodate students from the San Francisco Bay Area and abroad. LightHouse also runs the Superfest International Disability Film Festival and Enchanted Hills Camp in Napa, and the newly announced Holman Prize for Blind Ambition. Visit lighthouse-sf.org or call 415-431-1481 for more information.

About American Academy of Ophthalmology: The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, the AAO protects sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit aao.org.

About Bookshare®: Bookshare®, a Benetech initiative, is the world’s largest online library of accessible ebooks for people with print disabilities. Through its extensive collection of educational and popular titles, specialized book formats and reading tools, Bookshare® offers individuals who cannot read standard print materials the same ease of access that people without disabilities enjoy. The Bookshare® library has over 500,000 titles and serves more than 450,000 members. Access to Bookshare® is free for all U.S. students with a qualifying print disability. Bookshare® is an initiative of Benetech®, a Palo Alto, CA-based nonprofit that develops and uses technology to create positive social change. For more information, visit bookshare.org.

About Spotlight Text: Spotlight Text, developed by Focus Reading Technology, Inc. and Dr. Howard Kaplan, is the first eBook reader specifically for individuals with low vision. With scrolling text available in marquee or teleprompter mode, The Spotlight Gateway iPad app provides a large, easy-to-use interface for people who require larger text. For more information, visit spotlighttext.com

About Lighthouse Guild: Lighthouse Guild, based in New York, is a leading not-for-profit vision and healthcare organization with a long history of addressing the needs of people who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities or chronic medical conditions. With more than 200 years of experience and service, Lighthouse Guild brings a level of understanding to vision care that is unmatched. By integrating vision and healthcare services and expanding access through its programs and education and awareness, we help people lead productive, dignified and fulfilling lives. For more information, visit Lighthouseguild.org

About VisionServe Alliance: VisionServe Alliance, founded in 1987, and now celebrating its 25th year, provides a forum for top executives of private agencies and organizations specializing in blindness and represents the interests of such agencies before many organizations, professional, governmental and non-profit groups. VisionServe Alliance is the only organization whose members directly represent every aspect of services to people who are blind or visually impaired, including dog guide schools, adult rehabilitation agencies, private residential schools, early intervention and pre-school programs, career placement/employment and manufacturing, membership organizations, advocacy organizations, low vision clinics, and services to those with multiple disabilities. For more information about VisionServe Alliance, visit the website visionservealliance.org or call 314-961-8235.

Have a heart and give blood at LightHouse this Valentine’s Day!

Forget greeting cards and chocolate boxes this Valentine’s Day — give the gift of life in 2017: donate blood at LightHouse for the Blind for the 5th annual Bay Area Blind Community Blood Drive, in collaboration with the American Red Cross.

When: February 14, 2017, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Where: LightHouse for the Blind, 1155 Market Street, 10th floor, San Francisco, California 94103

Stop by and spread the love on February 14 at the LightHouse Headquarters with other blind students, supporters, board members, staff, 1155 Market Street residents and anyone else — all are welcome!

Although you are welcome to walk in the day of the blood drive, we encourage you to schedule an appointment so that you will be seen more quickly. Call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org and enter code DayOfGiving to schedule your appointment. If you have questions regarding your eligibility to donate, please call 1-866-236-3276.

Available public parking garages for donors: SOMA Grand at 1160 Mission St.; California Parking at 1266 Market St.

Street Photography – By and For the Blind

Tim Tonachella’s voice is unmistakable. I’ve learned its texture, its subtle turns and the meaning behind the sounds. It’s got some gravel in it; it throws stones playfully. Over several phone calls with the Michigan photographer this past year, though, when we talked about his life, his approach and his raw, explorative photography – the main thing ringing in my ears was that he didn’t want the first bullet point to be that he’s blind.

We talked a lot about how describing things affects how they’re perceived, and my intention was not to congratulate him for being the first legally blind guy to pick up a camera (he’s not, in case you’re wondering).

I reached out to ask if we could use his work in an exercise to help explore the  process and practicalities of describing artwork for a blind audience. He was kind enough to say yes, and today we’re able to present never-before-seen photos along with a conversational, round-table audio description from a few folks who have spent time at the intersection of blindness and visual art: UC Berkeley professor Georgina Kleege, SFMOMA curator Peter Samis and San Francisco photographer Troy Holden.

Before we dive into the audio, a bit more about Tim Tonachella. He came to photography later in life, and when he first picked up the camera, everyone seemed to scratch their heads. He had gone to the Michigan School for the Blind with the likes of musician Stevie Wonder and our own Enchanted Hills Camp Construction Manager George Wurtzel, and though he still wryly jokes that he “never really liked blind people” much, his legal blindness was a constant throughout his life. When he picked up the camera in his fifties though, he suddenly had access to new worlds. The telephoto lens wasn’t, as many might assume, a confounding tool only for use by sighted folks, but instead opened up environments and enhanced his ability to see much in the way it would for those who clock in at 20/20 on the eye chart.

On January 27, Tonachella’s show “Growing Old On the Street” opens at the Downriver Council for the Arts in Wyandotte, MI. The collection is full of portraits, candid and posed, that reflect  the toughness of Tonachella’s human fabric. The show, which also showcases the interpretative works of dozens of other artists, reflects Tonachella’s core sensibilities: generous, honest and a bit rough around the edges. Tonachella’s process is a labor of love, and often involves sitting patiently to hear the stories and take in the realities of the quietly persevering souls that cities have left behind.

Listen to the whole discussion in the playlist above or click each image to be directed to its associated Soundcloud link. Find out more about Tim Tonachella’s upcoming shows at the end of this post.

Photograph 1: A man sits on a concrete ledge and leans his weight into wrought iron fence. His wears a bucket hat and the smoke from the cigarette curled in his right hand catches in the light. A bottle of hard liquor is perched next to him on the ground, slightly concealed by an angular concrete block. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photograph 1: A man sits on a concrete ledge and leans his weight into wrought iron fence. His wears a bucket hat and the smoke from the cigarette curled in his right hand catches in the light. A bottle of hard liquor is perched next to him on the ground, slightly concealed by an angular concrete block. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photograph 2: An old man clasps a cigarette in his wizened mouth, below his salt and pepper mustache. He wears a bucket hat and a worn polo. His eyes are closed. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photograph 2: An old man clasps a cigarette in his wizened mouth, below his salt and pepper mustache. He wears a bucket hat and a worn polo. His eyes are closed. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photograph 3: An old, closed-down, shuttered candy store. A clutter of old boxes and furniture appear through the gaping window. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photograph 3: An old, closed-down, shuttered candy store. A clutter of old boxes and furniture appear through the gaping window. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photograph 4: A man in a knit cap, denim jacket and hoodie looks at the camera with a steady gaze. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photograph 4: A man in a knit cap, denim jacket and hoodie looks at the camera with a steady gaze. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photo 5: The same man breaks into a toothy grin. The shot is farther away and reveals the piano he sits at, his gloved finger pressing into ivory keys. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photo 5: The same man breaks into a toothy grin. The shot is farther away and reveals the piano he sits at, his gloved finger pressing into ivory keys. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.

Tonachella’s exhibition at The Downriver Council for the Arts runs from January 27 through February 10, 2017. Downriver Council for the Arts, 81 Chestnut Wyandotte, MI 48192

He’ll also be featured in two other shows in Michigan coming up in July and October this year.

July 2017: Village Theater at Cherry Hill, 50400 Cherry Hill Road, Canton, MI 48187 (exact dates to be announced)

October 2017: Tim’s solo show will Exhibit during National Visual Impairment month. Y Arts, The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, 1401 Broadway St, Detroit, MI 48226 (exact dates to be announced)

LightHouse Announces the Holman Prize for Blind Ambition

“The Holman Prize is not meant to save the world or congratulate someone for leaving the house. This prize will spark unanticipated accomplishments in the blindness community. You will see blind people doing things that surprise and perhaps even confuse you. These new LightHouse prizes will change perceptions about what blind people are capable of doing.”

— Bryan Bashin, CEO at LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Meet The Holman Prize for Blind Ambition – LightHouse’s new initiative to support the ambitions of blind and low vision people worldwide. Beginning in 2017, The Holman Prize will announce an annual set of awards funding projects in a range of amounts – up to $25,000 per project – that will finance and support blind adventurers worldwide in pursuing their most ambitious projects.

Chronicled in a 2006 novel by Jason Roberts, the explorer James Holman became the first blind person to circumnavigate the globe in 1832. In his spirit, The Holman Prize celebrates people who want to shape their own future instead of having it laid out for them.

The Holman Prize is specifically for legally blind individuals with a penchant for exploration of all types. LightHouse’s initial 2017 prizes will provide financial backing for a as many as three individuals to explore the world and push their limits through travel, connections, construction and communication. 

The ideal candidate is someone who is willing to probe their environment and eager to savor the richness of a world that is so often thought of as inaccessible to the blind. This exploration may involve travel, community organizing, scholarship, daring art or projects we haven’t even considered. We’re looking for intrepid travelers, creative problem solvers, effective communicators, natural ambassadors, passionate advocates, joyful builders, active boundary-pushers and experience seekers.

In January 2017, The Holman Prize application process kicks off with a challenge: blind applicants must submit a first-round pitch in the form of a 90-second YouTube video. The deadline for these phase one applications is February 28, 2017 at 12 noon PST. All pitch videos will be compiled into the LightHouse Media playlist below. As an extra incentive, the blind applicant who creates the most popular YouTube video, will secure themselves a spot as a coveted spot as a Holman Prize finalist, to be interviewed this spring by our esteemed committee. Learn more about the submissions process here, and watch our intro video below:

“We recognize that asking a blind person to upload a video may challenge some people’s ideas of what blind people are capable of — of what blind people can or should do,“ says LightHouse CEO Bryan Bashin, “The video uploading and later public speaking will certainly require creativity, and these are the qualities we seek to encourage with the Holman Prize. These are the types of people we want to apply.” 

Semifinalists will be notified in March and go through a formal application process, after which finalists will be notified and a winner will be selected by a committee of leaders, thinkers and explorers from throughout the blind world. We expect the Holman Prizewinners to start their projects in Fall 2017 and they will be recognized at the Holman Prize Gala in 2018.

Follow the Holman Prize on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Visit holmanprize.org for more information.

Join Sexual Health and Disability Advocates and Researchers for a Conversation on Sex, Intimacy and Disability

Join us at LightHouse for the Blind on January 12 at 6:30 p.m. for an open community discussion about sex, intimacy and disability. Through this conversation, we hope to challenge the common misconception that having a disability diminishes one’s sexuality. This panel will create a safe place for people of all abilities to come together and proudly claim that having a disability is a natural and normal enhancement of the human experience.

Who: Members of disability communities and their loved ones, disability rights advocates and allies, members of the professional communities who serve the disabled (e.g. educators, health care professionals, social workers etc.), sexual health and disability scholars, and  anyone else who is interested. Must be 18+ years old to attend.

When: January 12, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.  

Where: LightHouse Headquarters, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103

Cost: Free to Attend.

This conversation is an opportunity to come together and discuss how we can challenge the harmful stereotypes and misunderstandings about disability, disability rights and sexuality. This panel features an incredible lineup of panelists who are all disabled. Many work and/or volunteer their time to promote and educate their communities to improve the sexual rights of individuals with disabilities. See a list of panelists and read their bios below.

Panelists will have the opportunity to share their own experiences, talk about their work and the topics they are passionate about. The remainder of the time will be allotted to and an audience Q&A to invite a community dialogue. We expect people from all walks of life to attend this event and for the conversation to cover a wide range of informative and educational topics. Please note that the conversation is adult in nature and so we are restricting the space to adults age 18 and over.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to explore the impact of ableism on sexuality and the disabled. Come prepared to ask questions, and learn different ways to promote sexual freedom and expression as a human right for all people regardless of their abilities.

To register for this event please e-mail Laura Millar at lmillar@lighthouse-sf.org or call her at 415-694-7345.

Moderator

Laura Millar, MPH, M.A.

Laura Millar is LightHouse for the Blind’s Program Coordinator for Sexual Health Services. Legally blind herself with a Master of Public Health as well as a Masters in Sexuality Studies, she conducts research that examines how individuals with vision loss learn about and navigate the world of dating, sex and intimate relationships. Millar offers workshops, trainings and in-services for individuals who are blind or have low vision, their family members and the organizations that serve them, ensuring that sexual health information and services are comprehensive, inclusive and accessible for everyone.

Panelists

Rafe Eric Biggs, PhD

Rafe Eric Biggs, PhD, is the founder of Sexability, an organization committed to transforming sexuality and disability. He is a sexual health educator working with people with disabilities and healthcare professionals who support them. He earned his Masters and Doctorate in Organizational Psychology from Alliant International University and is a member of American Society of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (ASSECT).

In 2004 Biggs had a life altering experience. While traveling on spiritual retreat in India, he fell from a building and broke his neck. In an instant, he became a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down.

For the last decade he has counseled individuals and educated healthcare professionals on sexuality and disability including San Francisco State University, Alliant International University, UC Berkeley and Alta Bates Hospital. He started the Sexuality and Disability Support Group at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, CA.

Biggs was featured on the TLC show Strange Sex Surrogate Manhood. He is an expert on non-genital orgasms and has been featured in Huffington Post, The Sun, International Business Times, and Chat Magazine. He can be contacted at rafe@sexabilty.org and is based in Berkeley, CA.

Ligia Andrade (Zuniga), M.A. 

Ligia Andrade Zuniga, M.A., is dedicated to educating and empowering individuals living with disabilities on various aspects of independent living, particularly in the area of sexuality. She is a Director and Sexuality and Disability Educator for Sexability, an organization providing sexuality education to individuals with disabilities.

Andrade holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services with an emphasis in Administration and Counseling, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California. She became interested in sexuality and disability seven and a half years ago after realizing there was very limited information, accessibility and support available regarding sexuality for quadriplegic women living with spinal cord injury, specifically for young women of color and women in the Latino Spanish-speaking community.

Andrade acquired a spinal cord injury in 2009 following an automobile accident and has since been actively and deeply involved in the community advocating for individuals with disabilities. She has been a peer supporter for seven years through the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Spinal Cord Injury Peer Support Program. For the past three years Andrade has served as a Commissioner for the San Mateo County Commission on Disabilities where she chairs the Legislation, Outreach, and Advocacy Committee, and is the Treasurer for the Board of Directors of the Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities (CID). She also chairs the San Mateo County Public Authority Advisory Committee, and also serves on the San Mateo County Cal-Medi Connect Advisory Committee. Ligia recently joined the United Spinal Association, where she co-chairs the Employment Committee on the Advocacy Alliance.

Alex Ghenis

Alex Ghenis is a long-time Berkeley resident, disability activist, researcher and educator. In his freshman year at UC Berkeley, Alex co-founded the “Are Cripples Screwed?” panel discussions with his close friend, Kash Moore, and has been speaking about sex and disability for the past 10 years since.

Ghenis was also the dating and relationship columnist “Axel Grande” for National Spinal Cord Injury Association’s Life in Action magazine, where he covered topics including meeting people and “getting physical.” His goal is to help people with disabilities have better understanding of our own sexuality – and educate the entire public so that we are viewed as sexy and worthy of love.

Kevin Mintz, Ph.D.

Kevin Todd Mintz is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Stanford University. He holds an AB in Government from Harvard College, an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Doctorate of Human Sexuality from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. His Ph.D. dissertation, Sex-Positive Political Theory: Pleasure, Power, Public Policy, and the Pursuit of Sexual Liberation, focuses on developing a justification for political institutions and civil society taking proactive roles in promoting sexual liberties.

His research interests include the application of sexology to political theory, LGBTQi activism and disability politics.

Senya Hawkins, M.A., MFTi

Senya Hawkins, M.A, MFTi, is a registered marriage and family therapist intern with a master’s degree in psychology. He currently works as the Assistant Director of Progress Foundation’s Supported Living Program. Hawkins’ areas of expertise include systems change social-psychology, vocational rehabilitation, gender and sexuality. He also facilitates groups and workshops on the topics of sex and disability, social and vocational skill building, diversity and managing disabilities in the workplace (www.senyahawkins.com). Hawkins is in the process of finishing his final exams for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

Hawkins is dedicated to demystifying sexuality and providing information about sex and gender to groups who are often under-educated on these subjects. His goal is to help increase accessibility in bedrooms and communities by encouraging communities to become more aware, more empathetic, more experienced and more knowledgeable about sexuality and gender.

Robin Wilson-Beattie

Robin Wilson-Beattie is a disability and sexuality health educator and writer, teaching the world to embrace and explore your sexuality,  regardless of ability. She is a member of the Association of American Sexual Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT), the Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN),  and a certified graduate and member of the San Francisco Sexuality Information Training (SFSI).

Wilson-Beattie has been involved in sexuality education and awareness since high school. After acquiring a physical disability, she began speaking on sexuality and disability topics and issues in 2008. She consults with individuals and organizations on issues of adaptive sexual support, and has had written articles and curriculum on this subject. Wilson-Beattie is a nationally recognized self and systems disability advocate. She is a deep-fried Southern girl, Sex Geek, comic book nerd, mid-century buff and proud Mama of one amazing daughter. Find her on Twitter @SexAbled, or like sexAbled on Facebook.