Tag Archive


Autumn Kitchen Basics Class

Left to right: Janeen Rockwell-Owens, Gail McGaster, Victoria Hahn, Instructor Sydney Ferrario, Holli Clark work on two acorn squash soups.

Sweater-season is approaching, and an appetite for heartier meals beckons us inside and to the kitchen. Using a variety of tasty and interesting recipes for soups, one-pot meals, sauces, entrees and desserts, in this class, beginning October 11, you’ll learn cooking strategies with an emphasis on non-visual (tactile, auditory, olfactory and gustatory) techniques and create healthy, cost-effective and delicious meals.

Who: This course is designed for the beginner and intermediate level home cook.
When: October 11 through November 3. These eight class sessions occur every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Where: The LightHouse Building, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, 94103
Cost: The class fee is $600.00. Those persons who are 55 and older, not a consumer of the Department of Rehabilitation and living in the counties of San Francisco, Marin or Alameda counties may be eligible for scholarship.
There is a materials fee of $50 for all students.
Space is limited to 5 students per class.

In this class we’ll use a variety of tasty and interesting recipes for fall soups, one-pot meals, sauces, entrees and desserts. Students will have the chance to learn, develop and practice kitchen skills such as:

  • Knife skills, safety strategies and professional level techniques
  • Measuring wet/dry ingredients confidently and accurately
  • Organization and labeling ideas for your kitchen, including setting up your workspace and cleaning strategies/techniques
  • Navigating oven and stovetops and testing for done-ness
  • Easy ingredient swaps for dairy/wheat-free diets, and how to boost nutrition

There will also be a technology overlap where students will practice accessing recipes via smartphone, Victor Reader Stream, or CCTV.

If you are a current student at the LightHouse, contact Sydney Ferrario to register for this class, at sferrario@lighthouse-sf.org.

If you are new to the LightHouse, please contact Debbie Bacon at 415-694-7357 or dbacon@lighthouse-sf.org. Please let us know at the time of registration if you have special dietary needs or food allergies so that we may accommodate recipes as much as possible.

Hear the Sounds of the New LightHouse with our Acoustic Designers

Good acoustic design benefits everyone – that’s the best takeaway you could have from experiencing the new LightHouse for the Blind headquarters. San Francisco-based  Arup, the consulting firm of engineers who fine-tuned the LightHouse’s new facility in downtown San Francisco, worked hard to ensure that not only does our new space assist in wayfinding and orientation for blind people, but that it is inviting, logical and appealing for people with all kinds of vision.

Watch the in-depth interview below, featuring LightHouse CEO Bryan Bashin and Arup Senior Acoustics and Audiovisual Consultant Shane Myrbeck.

World of Sex Workshop Series

Photo: Portrait of Workshop Leader Laura Millar

Join LightHouse Sexual Health Services Program Coordinator Laura Millar, MPH, M.A., as she guides you in our groundbreaking series focusing on sex and sexuality. We will explore different sex-positive communities, lifestyle sub-cultures and the organizations that serve them.

To start the series off we invite you to the following workshop and field trip this month.

Introduction to BDSM
Adults (ages 18 and older) who are blind or have low vision. You may bring an adult guest with you.
When: Thursday, September 22, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Where: the new LightHouse Building, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103

This workshop is designed to demystify BDSM and introduce participants to topics related to BDSM. The presenter is a member the Society of Janus. There will be plenty of time for discussion and Q & A.

For more information or to sign up, please contact Laura Millar via e-mail at lmillar@lighthouse-sf.org or telephone 415-694-7345.

Field Trip to the Folsom Street Fair
For those still curious and wanting to learn more about BDSM and the fetish community, we will be taking a group of participants, and sex positive volunteers out to the Folsom Street Fair.

Folsom Street Fair is an annual BDSM and leather subculture fair that takes place every September. It provides a safe space for self-expression and entertainment and is open to the public. Please note that this event is for adults only and is mature in content. If you are unfamiliar with BDSM or the Folsom street fair and would like to go with us, we highly recommend you attend the introductory workshop on Thursday, September 22. Also please note, there is a $10 suggested donation to enter the fair; proceeds raised benefit local sex positive charities and public health agencies.

Who: Adults (ages 18 and older) who are blind or have low vision. You may bring an adult guest with you.
When: Sunday, September 25
Where: We will meet at the LightHouse Building, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103
The fair location is on Folsom Street, between 8th and 13th streets.

Pre-Opening Tour: All who wish to do a guided tour of the fair before it is open to the public, please meet at the LightHouse between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. We will walk about 15 minutes and then take a 45 minute tour of the fair. We will then return to the LightHouse to pick up those who wish to experience the fair itself.

Attending the Fair:
If you would like to attend the fair itself, meet at the LightHouse at 10:30 a.m. We will walk about 15 minutes and then meet up with sex-positive LightHouse volunteers who can be your sighted guide as you explore the fair. At 12:30 p.m. those who wish to return to the LightHouse with the group will meet while those who wish to stay may do so.

For more information or to sign up, please contact Laura Millar via e-mail at lmillar@lighthouse-sf.org or telephone 415-694-7345.

About the Workshop Leader

Laura Millar joins the LightHouse team as the Program Coordinator for Sexual Health Services. Legally blind herself with a Master of Public Health as well as a Masters in Sexuality Studies, she will be conducting research that examines how individuals with vision loss learn about and navigate the world of dating, sex and intimate relationships. In this role she will be offering 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.

The LightHouse is pleased to be in a unique position to expand its services in this area. We know that for many, just talking about sex and sexual health can make many people feel uncomfortable. For people experiencing vision loss and the professionals that serve them, navigating these sensitive conversations poses its own unique set of challenges. Laura is here to help make those conversations a little easier for everyone. If you have questions about Laura’s role, the work she will be doing, or would like to talk to her please feel free to e-mail her at lmillar@lighthouse-sf.org or call her at 415-694-7345. She would love to hear from you.

If you have other topics you would like to propose for the World of Sex series, or ideas about how to be more involved with this series please contact Laura Millar via e-mail at lmillar@lighthouse-sf.org or telephone 415-694-7345.

LightHouse Expands to Support East Bay

Photo: The front of the Ed Roberts Campus.

With the imminent closure of the Lions Center in Oakland, the LightHouse has stepped up to bring services to those who are blind or have low vision in the East Bay. To do this we’ll be expanding the services we offer at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. We sent out a press release earlier in the month and have received the attention of major bay area outlets such as KCBS and the East Bay Times.

Listen to Holly Quan’s report which aired on KCBS on August 29, 2016.

Read the article in the East Bay Times.

Employment Immersion Trainer

POSITION:           Employment Immersion Trainer

REPORTS TO:       Employment Immersion Manager

STATUS:              Exempt


LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is looking for a professional, engaging and student-oriented Employment Immersion Trainer to join the LightHouse team as we embark on a fresh journey in our new building in the heart of downtown San Francisco. With 90 employees and an annual budget of $12.5 million, the LightHouse has the resources and imagination to help change the lives of the blind and low vision population of the greater Bay Area and beyond. One of San Francisco’s oldest and best-known philanthropies, we now have expanded into our brand-new, state-of-the-art  headquarters on Market Street, where we coordinate volunteers, big tech, teachers, families, students and a caring staff together to design and build new ways to help people with visual impairments.

The primary purpose of this position is to ensure that blind and visually-impaired students are provided practical, accessible and required training and support for their job search and application process.  The Employment Immersion Trainer will work closely with the EI Job Developer to ensure that timely encouragement and support is given to participants during formal class sessions and the subsequent job search phase.

The Employment Immersion Trainer will coordinate and teach standard aspects of career exploration, job search, interviewing, networking and job-carving.  This position will develop and maintain a system to keep every class participant accountable for specific actions throughout their enrollment in the program.

Importantly, however, our Employment Immersion program understands that successful blind jobseekers need to learn something far more profound than résumé writing and practice interviews.  We believe that many of the barriers to employment come from the blind applicant’s lack of self-confidence and often lack of self-respect.  The successful trainer will know how to teach and communicate a sense of blind history, empowerment, and will work to ensure that jobseekers meet, engage and connect with blind people already doing the kinds of work the jobseeker aspires to gain.  Consequently the trainer’s role will be often as a catalyst to connect mentors, to use video and literature and social media to empower jobseekers with a practical view of the employment possibilities ahead of them.

Additionally, many jobseekers may be blind but still uncomfortable with their disability.  The trainer’s job will be in part to connect these students to Lighthouse services and other activities which will strengthen their understanding of the normality of blindness and their right to participate fully in the world of work.



Education or equivalent: Bachelor degree or equivalent and relevant work experience

Experience:  Experience working with disabled community highly preferred. Experience with delivery of program content to diverse audiences

Other: Superior communication and interpersonal skills are essential.  Must be a skilled computer user, particularly with Microsoft Suite programs including Outlook, Word and Excel.



Able to sit at a desk and perform computer-intensive work for long periods of time; operate standard office equipment; move 20lbs independently.



  • Collaborate with Senior Director Programs and Employment Immersion Manager to create Job Preparation components and curriculum
  • Establish and foster relationships with Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) staff to influence Client referrals to program
  • Meet with DOR Counselors regarding Individual Plans for Employment/Goals for students and determine appropriate training
  • Conduct Vocational Assessments in collaboration with appropriate LightHouse Departments
  • Conduct Workshops
    • Deliver curriculum based on Job Preparation track
    • Integrate curriculum into session agendas
    • Recruit and arrange guest speaker participation
    • Collaborate with Employment immersion Coordinator in the execution of job seeker resumes, on-line applications, etc. when indicated
    • Collaborate with Employment Immersion Coordinator to ensure authorizations, workshop attendance, consolidated placements, assignment tracking  and grant tracking are current
  • Triad with EI Job Developer and student prior to conclusion of Job Preparation to prepare for launch into Job Development
  • Plan and implement regular EI Alumni events in collaboration with EI Manager, EI Job Developer and EI Coordinator
  • Ensure integrity of EI Library. Select and categorize new materials
  • Compose timely Progress Reports
  • Support students with Personal-Vocational-Social-Adjustment (PVSA) and Job Retention activities when requested (May be shared responsibilities with EI Manager and Job Developer depending on calendar availability)



LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is an equal opportunity employer to all.  We strive to maintain a scent-free environment and a drug-free workplace. We also operate under a mutual “employment at will” policy.



Please submit a cover letter and résumé as Word attachments (no .PDFs please), to hr@lighthouse-sf.org, including the job title in the subject line. We will not consider videos or hyperlinks to online profiles. Due to time constraints we will only respond to complete submissions in which there is serious interest; thanks for your understanding.

Major LightHouse for the Blind Expansion to Serve the Blind and Visually Impaired of the East Bay


Contact: Bryan Bashin, CEO

Scott Blanks, Sr. Director, Programs

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Northern California’s oldest and largest nonprofit serving the blind, today announced a major initiative to aid hundreds of East Bay blind and visually impaired students affected by the scheduled closure of the Oakland Lions Center for the Blind.

“This week we’re signing a long-term lease to quadruple the size of our Alameda County office, effective August 31, 2016, the announced date of the Lions Center closure” said LightHouse CEO Bryan Bashin. Throughout its 114-year history the LightHouse, though headquartered in San Francisco, has served students mostly from the nine-county Bay Area outside of San Francisco proper. Recognizing the unmet needs in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, the LightHouse first opened a satellite office at Berkeley’s Ed Roberts Campus in 2011, providing employment, tech skills and mobility training. In 2014 the California Department of Rehabilitation awarded the LightHouse a key contract to serve older blind adults in Alameda County. Today’s announced expansion will allow the organization to support up to 30 teachers for working-age blind and visually impaired people in Alameda County, where most LightHouse students live.

The new Ed Roberts Campus training facility will complement the greatly expanded teaching capacity of LightHouse’s new 40,000 square-foot Market Street headquarters in San Francisco, opened just three months ago. The Ed Roberts Campus, built directly on top of Berkeley’s Ashby BART station, houses a renowned group of disability organizations in a safe and transit-friendly location. Nearly a dozen progressive disability organizations have discovered that the Ed Roberts campus is an ideal place to gather people with disabilities, and their friends and family.

Shortly after the Lions Center closes, the expanded LightHouse staff will take up the slack by teaching braille, adaptive computer skills, personal and home management, how to find employment and Orientation and Mobility to hundreds of students throughout the east bay.

“While we’re sorry the chaos around the Lions Center closure has affected several hundred blind students in the east bay,” Bashin said, “the new extra capacity of the LightHouse and its 100+ employees will provide them services and to fulfill our organization’s core mission to train and empower all of the region’s visually-impaired residents.

The LightHouse has chosen to announce its new expanded Berkeley office in advance of the Lions publicized closure to allow time for current Lions students to plan for a seamless continuation of their studies in September. Displaced blind students, rehabilitation counselors and concerned families can contact the LightHouse directly to arrange for uninterrupted training. Former students of the Lions Center for the Blind are welcome to continue their studies at any LightHouse facility. To make arrangements please contact LightHouse Rehabilitation Counselor Debbie Bacon at 415.694.7357, or email her at dbacon@LightHouse-sf.org.

About the LightHouse
LightHouse for the Blind is one of the nation’s strongest organizations serving the blind. With six locations throughout northern California, the LightHouse now serves 3,000 people annually. A vital community of innovation, mentorship and community since 1902, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is the place where people who are blind or have low vision come to learn skills and gain confidence. LightHouse staff, senior management and Board of Directors are either blind themselves or have significant professional experience in the blindness field, a unique strength of the organization for decades. LightHouse Employment Immersion program participants earn a collective $2.5 million annually, the most successful blindness employment program in California.

Next Mind’s Eye Therapy Group Series Starting in September

PHOTO: Rachel Longan

LightHouse for the Blind’s Counseling and Psychological Services program is offering the next Mind’s Eye therapy group beginning September 7. This group is intended for individuals who are moving forward in their lives with recent changes in their vision.  Group facilitator, Rachel Longan, has thoughtfully designed Mind’s Eye for adults who are navigating this very personal journey.

When: Wednesday mornings, from September 7 through November 16, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Where: The new LightHouse Building, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103

Sudden or actively progressive vision changes can affect many aspects of a person’s life. Group participants are able to process their experiences in a safe and understanding setting.

Ms. Longan incorporates a variety of techniques and experiential exercises into each session. Some of the topics the group is covering include new challenges in relationships, social participation, and emotional factors commonly associated with adjusting to vision changes.

Please be aware that this is not a drop-in group – there is a registration process and a nominal fee for participating in this group. People who are interested in enrolling in the group are urged to contact Ms. Longan at 415-694-7302 or email her at rlongan@lighthouse-sf.org.

About the Therapist
Rachel Longan has over 10 years of experience conducting support groups in a variety of settings.  Rachel herself has low vision and has designed and facilitated the Mind’s Eye group specifically for individuals experiencing recent changes in their vision.

Ms. Longan has guest lectured at the International Conference on Costello Syndrome and at UC Berkeley.  She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, conducts a parent group for the City of Berkeley, and has a private psychotherapy practice also in Berkeley.

Changing Vision Changing Life II – A New Addition to Our Immersion Training

PHOTO: Cooking Instructor Sydney Ferrario preps food with students.

Are you ready to kick your skills up a notch? We’ve added a brand-new session to our Changing Vision Changing Life Series of small group trainings: The Changing Vision Changing Life (CVCL) II Immersion.

This motivating six-day overnight session is designed for students who may have participated in CVCL instruction in the past and are now focused on practicing the skills they’ve learned in a more intensive and structured manner.

Note: You don’t need to have attended a previous CVCL session to attend this one. However, you need to have had some basic training in Orientation and Mobility, independent living skills and/or access technology.

This session is great for students who are currently training in all of the areas above and can benefit from multiple days of one-on-one and small group instruction.

In this session, students will work on all of the following:

Access Technology, including

  • Computer training (Mac or PC) – using the software you are currently learning
  • Smart Phone Training – Apple or Android
  • Tablet Training – Apple or Android

Peer Group Support – Moving Forward
Advocacy – Taking Control
Orientation and Mobility Training 1:1
Introduction to Braille
Smart Cooking for Independence
Low Vision Training – Using your Tools to Your Benefit
Physical and Recreational Exploration to Enhance Mobility

When: This session will run from Sunday, September 18 (arrival at 3:30 p.m.) through Friday, September 23 (leave at 10:30 a.m.)

Where: The session will be held in our headquarters building at 1155 Market St., 10th Floor in San Francisco. Participants will stay overnight throughout the week in our Student Residences.

Cost: There is a $1300 fee for this training but you may qualify for partial or full scholarship if you are not already working with the Department of Rehabilitation or the Veterans Administration.

To find out if this session is the best fit for you please contact Debbie Bacon at dbacon@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-357.

Scholarships for Grads and Undergrads Now Available through CCB

The California Council of the Blind has extended their scholarship deadline for this summer’s new and prospective students. More info below:

The California Council of the Blind is offering scholarships to college, university, and vocational school students who are legally blind and are either residents of California, regardless of where they attend school, or non-residents of California attending school in this state. Scholarships are for entering freshman, undergraduates, and graduate students. The date by which scholarship applications and all documentation must be submitted has been extended from July 1 to July 15, 2016. The application can be found online at www.ccbnet.org/scholar_intro.htm.

Disney•Pixar Unveils Mobile Audio Description for ‘Finding Dory’

After lots of collaboration, tweaking and testing, the LightHouse is proud to announce that this week, blind people will be able get audio description for one of the summer’s biggest movies, on their own device, without asking for help.

That’s right! Starting on Friday, June 17, blind and visually impaired audiences will be able to get free, mobile audio description to accompany the release of Disney•Pixar’s Finding Dory.

The past year has seen lots of technological advancement in audio description technology, with Disney•Pixar leading the way for film studios with their app, Disney Movies Anywhere. The app was first demonstrated at the White Canes Red Carpet event in December, released at home with The Good Dinosaur, and discussed at length at our SXSW panel in March. Between these events, focus groups, and enthusiastic collaboration with Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Blind Babies Foundation, and other blindness organizations, this has grown much bigger than just one app: it’s a statement of purpose.

Disney•Pixar’s smart-syncing audio description, native to the mainstream app, represents thoughtful design that works for everybody.  When activated, it provides an add-on experience which levels the playing field for audiences who are blind or have low vision.

Paired with any Disney•Pixar film using headphones or earbuds, the app delivers an extra audio track which elegantly narrates important on-screen action for those who can’t always follow along visually. Now tested and available to use with Pixar’s 16 other feature films, the app’s functionality will work for its first new release when Finding Dory hits theaters this week.

Accolades for DMA

Earlier this week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler honored Disney Movies Anywhere with the FCC’s Advancement in Accessibility Award, which recognizes achievements in communications technology for those with disabilities. Alongside other innovators in the accessibility field, Disney•Pixar is proud to guarantee audio description to its fans when it comes to both new and classic films.

How to get Audio Description, anywhere:

1. Download DMA: Disney Movies Anywhere app from the App Store.

2. Make sure the iOS accessibility features are in use, or switch accessibility mode to ON in the DMA settings section.

3. Find the movie you’re watching in the “Audio Description” section of the Featured tab.

4. Hit “sync and play audio” button while the movie is playing. (You need to “Allow” to use your microphone for sync).

5. Sit back and enjoy!

Note: Please be considerate of others – makes sure headphones are connected and always use screen curtain (three-finger triple tap in VoiceOver) at any theater! We recommend using the app to download the audio description track before you go to the movie for best results.

More audio description, please!

The rollout of empowered audio description technology is no small task, and Disney•Pixar needs all the encouragement it can get in continuing its mission to serve blind and visually impaired audiences. Let’s face it, not everyone is totally tech savvy, and theaters are understandably wary of cell phone use in theaters. Not only do we want to show studios, cinemas and distributors that we take theater etiquette seriously, but we need to show them that equal access to movies is a mandate from our community.

Disney•Pixar has set up an open line for your stories, and it’s crucial that you weigh in to tell them how much this matters. Send your audio description testimonials and experiences to dmaappfeedback@pixar.com.