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Cooking

LightHouse Youth Program – Blind Kids are Doing it for Themselves

Students in our Cooking 101 class, mixing bowls at the ready, stand at their counters waiting to put a recipe together.What are a handful of motivated young blind people doing at the LightHouse early on a Saturday? The LightHouse Youth Program provides programming all year for energized youth who are blind or have low vision. One Saturday last month, the day went something like this:

Starting in the morning, LightHouse Volunteer Robin Patche led that week’s edition of Cooking 101. In this class we aim to teach young blind people how to be competent and confident in the kitchen. On the day’s agenda – how to make simple snacks such as smoothies, trail mix and cheese crackers, using accessible measuring cups, spoons and other cooking tools. Kitchen safety and sanitation were also incorporated into the discussion.

Next up, artist Ruthie Campbell Miller led the young people in an art project that had them using tissue paper to create tactile “paintings”. Why do young blind people benefit from art classes? Youth Program Coordinator Jamey Gump, who has low vision himself, told us, “We’re glad to have been able to offer an art class to the Youth Program and plan to reboot it in the fall. The more exposure students have to experience art their own way, the more they extend this sense of space to exploring and learning about their environment. Creating art can improve a blind person’s spatial acuity which in turn helps improve their ability to travel and to organize their environment.”

In the afternoon, Wells Fargo Personal Banker Nina Toia gave a presentation on how to successfully manage one’s money, including how to create a budget, what a credit score is and how to build credit. She answered both basic and complex questions and led a lively discussion on how the way in which we value the things we purchase can affect our budget.

An important aspect of our classes is introducing our younger blind students to blind college-aged mentors. This particular Saturday ended with a training session for the mentors. Jamey led a discussion about the best ways to make activities enjoyed by entire families work for both the sighted members and the members who are blind or have low vision.

Mentor Nasir, with a big grin on his face, practices how to roll an Oreo cookie from the forehead to the mouth without using ones hands.

Our Youth Program Fills a Great Need
A lot of times young people who are blind may not know anyone in their neighborhood or school system who is blind. While all of our Youth programming promotes the independence, camaraderie and creativity while having fun, perhaps the most important aspect of these gatherings is providing them with the opportunity to meet other blind young people. Likewise, a side benefit to the gatherings is that the parents who bring their kids to these classes and field trips also get the chance to meet other parents of blind youth and exchange advice and solutions about the various challenges they may face.

We plan on having new cooking and art classes for youth in the fall, so stay tuned. To sign up for our Youth Events e-newsletter or for more information about our Youth programs, contact LightHouse Youth Coordinator Jamey Gump at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7372.

Just in Time for Tax Season: Special Pre-Move Sale at Adaptations

We found a way to make tax time a little more palatable for our customers. We’re offering a 10% discount on ALL Products (excluding CCTVs and digital video magnifiers), while supplies last.

This moving sale will run from now through April 22nd (that is, the last day we’ll be open at our current address of 214 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco).

LightHouse t-shirt

Adaptations Store Associate Starrly Winchester holds up a t-shirt emblazoned with the historic LightHouse logo

Historic LightHouse Logo
With our move to 1155 Market Street, our logo will change to reflect this exciting next step in our agency’s growth. Meanwhile during April you have a last chance to get a piece of LightHouse history. We have all kinds of swag branded with the “historic” LightHouse double-yellow-doors logo representing 214 Van Ness Avenue. Our pull-over sweatshirts, ladies t-shirts, water bottles, coffee tumblers and assorted writing guides are all on sale for 10% off through April 22nd, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. (Please note that there are no returns on this merchandise.)

So stock up on everything you need from canes to talking watches, kitchen supplies to lighting needs, plus brailling supplies, magnifiers, color readers, games, sunglasses and more…all at 10% off their regular price.

Stop by the Adaptations Store at 214 Van Ness San Francisco through April 22nd, call us at (415) 694-7301 or email us at adaptations@lighthouse-sf.org.

LightHouse San Francisco Headquarters and the Adaptations Store will be closed from April 23rd through May 1st and will re-open at our new address of 1155 Market Street on May 2nd.

This December: Get Back to the Joy of Cooking with Low or No Vision

Teachers and students from our last cooking class stand in front of an array of dishes prepared to celebrate their last day of class with invited guests.Are your culinary skills keeping you from creating what you want and love to eat? Let us get you back in the groove before 2015 ends with the LightHouse class on Essential Kitchen Skills.

When: Tuesdays and Fridays, December 1 through December 18 (December 1, 4, 8, 11, 15 and 18), 9:45 to 2:00 p.m.
Where: LightHouse San Francisco Headquarters
Full scholarships may be available for persons who are not consumers of the Department of Rehabilitation and are 55 or older, living in the counties of Alameda, San Francisco and Marin.

During the class you will be developing or enhancing your skills, techniques and strategies for kitchen organization, labeling, reading recipes, using a knife properly, measuring, pouring plus stove top and oven techniques. In each class we will prep or prepare easy meals that you can do at home.

The class is limited to eight students, so sign up soon. To sign up or for questions, please contact Debbie Bacon at dbacon@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7357.

Cooking 101 Gets Blind and Low Vision Youth in the Kitchen

LightHouse staffer Molly Irish teaches sushi making to Cooking 101 studentsThe Cooking 101 series with the LightHouse Youth Program is back again with new classes for Fall 2015.

Due to popular demand, the Cooking 101 series with the LightHouse Youth Program is back with new classes for fall of 2015.

Whether you are interested in cooking tasty treats, simple side dishes and snacks, or festive full course meals, this class is intended for blind and low vision youth aspiring to be more competent and confident in the kitchen. In addition to skills training, participants will also learn the ABCs of kitchen safety and sanitation.

Upon completion of the course, students will have the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to independently prepare and cook just about any meal their taste buds desire.

Who: Blind and Low Vision Youth
What: Learn to cook tasty treats for yourself, your friends and your family
When:  From 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month
Where:  LightHouse San Francisco Headquarters @ 214 Van Ness Avenue
Waiver: Each participant must submit a LightHouse Youth Program waiver form if they have not done so for a previous outing or event.
Cost: FREE for low vision and blind youth

If you would like more information about Cooking 101 or to RSVP, please contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator, at (415) 694-7372, or by email at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org.

Classes will be limited to 8 participants and all participants must RSVP.

Note: It is essential to notify Youth Services Coordinator Jamey Gump of any food allergies prior to any class.

Class Schedule
September 12: Shepherd’s Pie
October 10: Everything Pumpkin
November 14: Chicken Stir-fry
December 12: Gingerbread House Making

Adaptations Sales Associates Provide Winning Customer Service

Ben Einstein (left) and Starrly WinchesterOne in a series of staff profiles.

“Did you know that Dave bought the large Magnabrite magnifier for his nautical maps?” asked Starr. “For his sailing trip down to San Diego?” Ben replied. Starr responded, “Yea, of course, though I bet he’ll end up in Mexico.” Ben and Starrly (who also goes by Starr), are two of the Sales Associates at Adaptations, LightHouse’s brick-and-mortar store, and they frequently check in with each other about regular customers, people they refer to as friends.

Store customer Dave was introduced to the LightHouse and its services through Adaptations. As his vision changed, Ben found products to immediately address his needs and then connected to LightHouse Orientation and Mobility instructors as well as the LightHouse Changing Vision Changing Life immersion program. Dave’s shopping experience at Adaptations ultimately enabled him to get back to the things he loves, like sailing.

I watch Starr and Ben welcome customers and laugh with them. Every single customer, and there were fourteen in 1.5 hours, smiled while picking out their cane or looking at their first magnifiers. First time visitors are sometimes nervous but Starr and Ben immediately put people at ease by welcoming them and addressing their needs. They are sales associates, but in reality, Ben and Starr provide reassurance and sound advice.

We asked Starr why she works at the store and her response said it all: “I’m not here to push products. Our store is non-profit; we don’t make a profit. I’m here to help people help themselves, and to help them enjoy being here. People are here shopping, shopping should be fun, so I make it fun.” Starr brings her sense of humor and levity to any room she’s in. A singer since she was young, it’s hard to keep track of which venue Starr will be singing at next – maybe The Utopia Café in Chinatown, the Society Cabaret at the Rex Hotel, or Martuni’s. “I love to sing cabaret the most. People think all sorts of things when they hear the word “cabaret”; to me it means intimate singing – a small crowd and an intense song.” Starr started as a LightHouse volunteer in 2009 and she continues to volunteer. “I love my family at the LightHouse, from my coworkers to my store patrons.”

Ben has a similar sentiment about Adaptations. “I first learned about blindness technology while working in accessible services for Apple where I loved teaching people how to make their lives easier. At Adaptations I get to do that, but with more than just technology.” In his free time, Ben is a long-boarder (“I don’t know enough tricks to be a skateboarder,” quips Ben.) Like Starr he is musical and his band, Bear Lincoln, performs throughout the Bay Area at illustrious venues such as The Independent and the Noise Pop Music Festival. “I also find time to bike,” Ben understates – what he really means is that he sometimes takes long and challenging bike trips, such as his recent ride from Portland, OR to Crescent City, CA.

During this interview two suntanned customers, Jeff and Rick, walk in. After flying in from Florida for work, they’ve made a bee-line from the airport to the store. “I’m particular about my cane,” Jeff explains. “I love my old cane, but it was so worn I had to buy a replacement online which I ended up hating. So when I learned we’d be in San Francisco, I said to Rick, ‘We have to go to Adaptations. They have the cane I love, and we can try out others to see if there are any better ones.’” Jeff went on to explain that near their home in Jacksonville, there aren’t stores where blind people can try out tools like canes and magnifiers. He said, “You have to hope what you order online will be good because you never have a chance to ‘try it before you buy it.’ Even worse, it’s sometimes hard or impossible to return adaptive equipment that you aren’t satisfied with. I wish I had an Adaptations near me, will you open a franchise in Florida?” Jeff jokes.

The Adaptations phone rings constantly with calls from people all across the country and even the world. People call Adaptations because of the incredible customer service and knowledge the Sales Associates provide. Ben and Starr have made Adaptations more than just a place to get the things you need; it’s a joy to shop there. And the Store is often someone’s first step towards a life of independence.

The Adaptations store in the new 21st Century LightHouse will be larger, feature more products and will offer people even more space to try out the products. Starr reminds us, “We’re one of the only stores serving blind and visually impaired folks in the Western U.S. It seems like almost every blind person within 200 miles has been to our store at least once in his or her life. In our new building, we’ll be one of the best stores of its kind in the country.”

We urge you to visit Adaptations and give the products a try. You might even be able to hear one of Ben or Starr’s songs. Call the Store at 415-694-7301 or email us at adaptations@lighthouse-sf.org.

August Product of the Month – The VOX-2 Talking Kitchen Scale

VOX-2 Talking Kitchen ScaleIf the summer weather has you feeling “scaly”, Adaptations has the perfect product for you. The VOX-2 Talking Kitchen Scale is ready to help with those weighty food preparation needs, including diet maintenance and meal planning.

This scale weighs anything from a gram up to 11 pounds and has the following features:

  • speaks in English, Spanish, French and German
  • has large blue light backlit LCD screen and large easy-to-see soft-touch buttons
  • weighs food in either grams or ounces
  • tare function allows you to weigh only what you put in the bowl and excludes the actual weight of the bowl
  • uses 4 AA batteries, included
  • platform measures 9″ x 6″
  • energy saving auto-off function after 90 seconds of inactivity
  • modern, contemporary, ergonomic design with easy to clean stainless steel platform

The VOX-2 Talking Kitchen Scale sells for $45.00.

For more information about the Vox-2 Talking Kitchen Scale and other products we sell at Adaptations, visit our store at LightHouse San Francisco Headquarters between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or call us at (415) 694-7301.

New Classes Added for Winter and Spring – LightHouse Youth Program’s Cooking 101

Due to popular demand, the Cooking 101 series with the LightHouse Youth Program is back with new classes for Winter and Spring 2015.

Whether you are interested in cooking tasty treats, simple side dishes and snacks, or festive full course meals, this class is intended for blind and low vision youth aspiring to be more competent and confident in the kitchen. In addition to skills training, participants will also learn the ABCs of kitchen safety and sanitation.

Upon completion of the course, students will have the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to independently prepare and cook just about any meal their taste buds desire.

Who: Blind and Low Vision Youth
What: Learn to cook tasty treats for yourself, your friends and your family
When:  From 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month
Where:  LightHouse San Francisco Headquarters @ 214 Van Ness Avenue

Waiver: Each participant must submit a LightHouse Youth Program waiver form if they have not done so for a previous outing or event.
Cost: FREE for low vision and blind youth

If you would like more information about Cooking 101 or to RSVP, please contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator, at (415) 694-7372, or by email at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org.

Classes will be limited to 8 participants and all participants must RSVP.

Note: It is essential to notify Youth Services Coordinator Jamey Gump of any food allergies prior to any class.

Winter and Spring Cooking 101 Schedule
January 10: Soups and Salads
February 14: Omelets
March 14: Fried Rice and Teriyaki Chicken
April 11: Pesto Pasta
May 9: Cheese Burgers in Paradise

You Asked for It – We’re Re-offering our Ambitious Youth Cooking Class

An array of colorful vegetables – carrots, tomatoes, garlic, onion, herbs with a cruet of olive oil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Due to popular demand, the LightHouse Youth Program’s Cooking 101 series is back. Whether you are interested in cooking tasty treats, simple side dishes and snacks, or festive full course meals, this class is intended for blind and low vision youth aspiring to be more competent and confident in the kitchen. In addition to skills training, participants will also learn the ABCs of safe food handling.

Upon completion of the course, students will have the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to independently prepare and cook just about any meal their taste buds desire.
Beginning in August, this fun and informative class will meet at LightHouse San Francisco Headquarters on the third Saturday of each month, through December 2014. The class will be limited to 6 participants, and all participants must RSVP.

Who: Blind and Low Vision Youth
When: August through December, 2014
Third Saturday of each month, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: LightHouse San Francisco Headquarters
Cost: FREE for low vision and blind youth

Allergies: Youth Services Coordinator Jamey Gump must be made aware of all food allergies before the event.
Waiver: Each participant must submit a LightHouse Youth Program waiver form, if they have not done so for a previous outing or event.
RSVP: For more information or to register contact Jamey Gump at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7372 for availability.

Fall 2014 Cooking 101 Schedule:
August 16: Street Tacos, Salsas, Guacamole, and Nachos
September 20: Sushi
October 11: Pumpkin Creations
November 15: Thanksgiving Dishes
December 20: Holiday Treats and Party Dishes

 

New Youth Program Class: Cooking 101: Mastering the Basics

LightHouse is pleased to announce a new cooking basics class for blind and low vision youth under the age of eighteen. Whether you are interested in cooking tasty treats, simple side dishes and snacks, or festive full course meals, this class is intended for blind and low vision youth aspiring to competence and confidence in the kitchen.

Upon completion of the course, students will have obtained the necessary skills, knowledge, and confidence to independently prepare and cook just about any meal their taste buds desire.

Each lesson will focus on a particular type of cooking or cooking appliance (i.e. stove top, oven or grill). Students will be instructed on safe and sanitary practices and techniques.

This fun and informative class will meet at LightHouse headquarters (214 Van Ness Avenue, SF) from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. on the third Saturday of each month. Classes will be limited to 6 participants, all participants must RSVP. For more information or to RSVP please contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator at (415) 694-7372, or by email at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org.

Who: Blind and Low Vision Youth
What: Learn to cook tasty treats for yourself, your friends and your family
When: 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Third Saturday of the month

  • April 19: Cooking with a Stove – French Toast & Bacon
  • May 17: Cooking with an Oven – Pizza
  • June 21: Cooking with a Grill or BBQ – Chicken, Potato Salad & Baked Beans
  • June 21: Family Meal – BBQ feast prepared by youth

Where: Lighthouse Headquarters located at 214 Van Ness, San Francisco, CA 94102
Waiver: Each participant must submit a LightHouse Youth Program waiver form, if they have not done so for a previous outing or event.
Cost: FREE for low vision and blind youth
RSVP: Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org. or (415) 694-7372.

An array of colorful vegetables – carrots, tomatoes, garlic, onion, herbs with a cruet of olive oil