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LightHouse

#BeSeen: March in PRIDE with LightHouse, Get a Free T-Shirt

It’s Pride month, and here at LightHouse, our staff, students and allies are walking around the city, exploring exciting new ideas, and continuing to build the confidence and self-esteem of those in our community. We’re also thinking, from a blindness perspective, more than ever about what it really means to “be seen.”

At its heart, Pride is about proudly and publicly claiming an identity that society has consistently stigmatized or disregarded. We’re marching on June 25 in celebration of our LGBTQ community members, and to honor our many intersecting identities. People with disabilities are often either stripped of sexuality, or fetishized. This year we’re grabbing our canes, our guide dogs and our rainbow swag and taking to the streets to let the world know we’re blind, proud and sexual to boot.

You can learn more about what we’re doing for Pride month here, and if you are one of the first 35 to sign up for the festivities on Eventbrite, you’ll get a free “Be Seen” t-shirt (pictured below). These t-shirts can also be purchased for $15 in our Adaptations Store.

LightHouse staff member Esmeralda Soto and Ethan Meigs cross the street wearing LightHouse's 'Be Seen' Pride Tshirts. The shirts say 'be seen' in orange uppercase letters and 'SF Pride 2017', with a braille 'L' and 'H' in rainbow.
Two people cross the street wearing LightHouse’s ‘Be Seen’ Pride Tshirts. The black shirts say ‘be seen’ in orange uppercase letters and ‘SF Pride 2017’, with a braille ‘L’ and ‘H’ in rainbow.
Ethan and his guide dog Gershwin show off their LightHouse Pride t-shirts across from the UN Plaza, with a rainbow flag billowing in the background.
A man and his guide dog show off their LightHouse Pride t-shirts across from the UN Plaza, with a rainbow flag billowing in the background.

We introduced the #BeSeenSF hashtag exactly one year ago when preparing for our big grand opening at 1155 Market Street. On June 10th, 2016 more than a thousand people took over the streets of downtown San Francisco and marched into our new building – people with all levels of vision, from all walks of life. It was a spectacle in the best way possible: a display of joy and unity around a state of being that most people identify as a disability.

We didn’t stop there. Over the course of the year, we released several bold statements about what it means to be seen. Standing six feet tall and spread throughout the Civic Center BART station, each ad is a vivid, illuminated burnt orange with artistic rendering of a blind person going about their business – cooking, exercising, or moving through the streets with a cane or a dog. These tasks may seem mundane, but by putting the blind individual front and center, occupying the focus of the scene and popping boldly out of the brightly colored ad, we send a clear message to the public of San Francisco: blindness is just another way of being – and worth looking at in a different light.

Below, you can peruse all of the artwork for our ads, which were designed by J. Renae Davidson for LightHouse from July 2016 to March 2017. Pictured in them are some of the treasured staff, mentors and role models who you’ll regularly see strolling Market Street on any given day.

Bart Ad Compilation Image. Descriptions below.
Bart Ad Compilation Image. Descriptions below.

This compilation of all our Bart Ads features an orange background with the words (in white) “The Best Place to Be Seen”. A tile of six black and white stylized drawings are as follows.

Top left: A man crosses the street in downtown San Francisco with his white cane. White words below the image read “Learning to use a White Cane”.

Top right: A woman stands at a bus stop with her guide dog, reading a tactile map. Words below the image say “Reading maps”.

Middle left: A man uses an Arduino continuity tester in the LightHouse Toyota Innovation STEM lab on the 11th floor. Text reads “Building Electronics: No Eyes Necessary”.

Middle right: A man chops juicy vegetables in the LightHouse Teaching Kitchen. Text reads “Cookin’ Without Lookin’: Now, That’s Delicious!”

Bottom left: A woman in the LightHouse Adaptations Store holds a magnifying glass up to her eye. Text reads, “Adapting Your Vision. White canes, talking watches, magnifiers & more”.

Bottom right: A woman runs alongside her fitness partner using a lead. The Golden Gate Bridge stands out behind them. Text reads, “Taking Strides Together. Find Your Fitness Partner Today!”

A mockup of our cooking bart ad hangs in an underground station with orange, yellow, red, and grey tile in the background.
A mockup of our cooking bart ad hangs in an underground station with orange, yellow, red, and grey tile in the background.

Last year, SF PRIDE had its first ever blind grand marshal, Belo Cipriani, a welcome reminder that not only are our journeys often parallel, but our identities have significant overlap. This year, Sexual Health Services Program Coordinator Laura Millar is taking our PRIDE participation to the next level, and she wants you to join her. For more information, RSVP on Eventbrite or email Laura at lmillar@lighthouse-sf.org.

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 and intimacy. 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.

New Cooking Classes at the LightHouse — from Knife Skills to Measuring and Mixing

It’s 2017 and we’ve cooked up a whole host of new culinary classes at the LightHouse for the new year.

Learn more about each session below and see a schedule of our upcoming classes. If you have questions about class content please contact Sydney Ferrario, Instructor, at 415-694-7612 or sferrario@lighthouse-sf.org.

Orientation to the Kitchen 

Designed for beginning home cooks and those new to blindness or low vision.

Session I – January 3 and 5

Session II – February 7 and 9

Session III – March 7 and 9

Each session takes place on Tuesday and Thursday of the scheduled week from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Designed specifically for people who have been out of the kitchen due to a change of vision and need a fresh start to feel comfortable in the kitchen and begin cooking – this class will help you get back in the kitchen with confidence!  In these classes, students will learn new ways of labeling, organization, safe work strategies and so much more! Included is a brief technology component and demonstration for recipe access.

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

  • Safer work strategies
  • Greater awareness of tactile, auditory, olfactory and gustatory skills
  • Organization and labeling in the pantry and refrigerator
  • Develop sensory and spatial awareness
  • Discover and explore various tools and technologies
  • Effective and Efficient cleaning

What’s the Scoop? Measure and Mix

Designed for beginning and intermediate home cooks and those new to blindness or low vision.

Session I – January  10 and 12

Session II – February 14 and 16

Session III – March 14 and 16

Each session takes place on Tuesday and Thursday of the scheduled week from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Learn and practice measuring with confidence!  In the Lighthouse teaching kitchen we will explore techniques for measuring both liquids and dry ingredients in both large and small quantities. While all are welcome, this course is especially designed with the baker in mind, and 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

On The Edge – Knife Skills

Designed for beginning and intermediate home cooks and those new to blindness or low vision.

Session I  – January  17 and 19

Session II  – February 21 and 23

Session III –  March  21 and 23

Each session takes place on Tuesday and Thursday of the scheduled week from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

With an emphasis on safety and organizational work strategies, students learn and practice knife skills on a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Are you planning to eat healthier after the holidays?  Sharpen your knife skills and practice techniques for even sizes while protecting your fingers!  Tuesday we prep everything for a soup and salad and on Thursday we will throw it all together for a nourishing and healthy meal.

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

  • Holding and manipulating various knives, graters and other sharp gadgets
  • Hands-on guidance and practice mincing, slicing, dicing, chopping, and peeling, among others
  • Deciding which tool is best for the job and why
  • Safer work strategies, building on tactile and sensory awareness

Great cooking is not about recipes – it’s about skill and technique!

There are three sessions of the same course, each with a different menu to be determined based on seasonal availability.  Students may wish to enroll in any one session or all three.

The Heat Is On! Oven and Stovetop Strategies

Designed for beginning and intermediate home cooks who wish to gain a greater comfort level working with their gas or electric ovens and ranges.

Session I  – January  24 and 26

Session II  – February 28 and March 2

Session III –  March  28 and 30

Each session takes place on Tuesday and Thursday of the scheduled week from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Cook on your home oven and stovetop with ease and safety.  Learn and practice strategies for setting up and cooking with the oven and stovetop which includes spatial awareness skills, setting up with the proper equipment and creating new habits.

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

  • Safer work strategies and Injury prevention
  • Systems, patterns, portioning and spatial awareness
  • Heat control, thermometers, timers, testing for done
  • Sautéing, stirring and turning
  • Using assistive technology

All classes are  $220.00* per session  and meet in Room 1010 in 10th Floor Kitchen of the LightHouse Headquarters at 1155 Market Street.  Class is 4 hours with a short break. Bring a bag lunch the first day. You will be standing, cooking and working for most of the class. Please wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes and have long hair tied back.

*Each Class Session includes two classes for four hours (9:30-1:30).  The full class fee is $220 for persons 18-54.  For those persons who are 55 and older living in the counties of Alameda, San Francisco and Marin (and not a consumer with the Department of Rehabilitation or VA) the class fee is waived thanks to the State of CA Older Individuals Who are Blind (OIB) grant funding.  Student may be asked to bring in class materials, the instructor will notify if this is necessary.

All participants must be registered students of the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. To enroll as a LightHouse student, please contact Debbie Bacon at 415-694-7357 or dbacon@lighthouse-sf.org. If you have questions about class content please contact Sydney Ferrario, Instructor, at 415-694-7612 or sferrario@lighthouse-sf.org.

As a division of the Independent Living Skills Program, culinary classes provide cooking lessons for the home cook with an emphasis on blind kitchen skills, including, but not limited to, orientation, organization, knife skills, measuring, food safety, and navigating the oven and stove top safely. Also included is a recipe access component for interpreting and replacing visual cooking terminology with cues for taste, touch and smell. The goal is to provide guided practice so students can replicate skills at home.

Note about ingredients: LightHouse recipes use common cooking and baking ingredients including various fruits, vegetables, nuts, meats, spices, dairy, eggs, wheat flours, etc. If you have a food allergy, please check with the instructor before attending the class. Adjustments to recipes cannot be made during class.

Special Dietary Needs?  For those with special dietary needs or allergies, please contact Sydney Ferrario at 415-694-7612 to discuss how we can help you with a customized program and recipes. Her background includes Wheat, Gluten, & Dairy-Free cooking and cooking for those with Diabetes.

Blind Soldering: See Photos from Our First-ever Electrical Workshop

On November 6, the LightHouse held its first-ever soldering workshop for people who are blind or have low vision. It was a huge success, and we have the photographs to prove it! Scroll down for more.

Soldering is a fundamental skill in electronics work that involves using a hot iron to fuse metal to form a permanent connection between electronic components. The aim of the workshop was to help students make their own accessible continuity testers – one of the most fundamental tools for students working in electronics without vision.

While most continuity testers use lights to indicate the strength of electric currents, accessible continuity testers emit a range of tones — high for a free path and low for an impeded path. Unfortunately, accessible continuity testers cannot be purchased, and previous manufacturers have ceased production. Each student left the workshop with a fully-functioning accessible continuity tester for use in their future work; and the skills to solder it themselves.

LightHouse extends a special thanks to Dr. Joshua Miele, Associate Director of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, for facilitating the workshop.

“Blind people are makers. We can do things like soldering and building robots and woodworking,” says Dr. Miele. “We might use slightly different techniques, but the outcome is the same. The LightHouse is all about teaching these alternative techniques so that people can engage in the activities they love, whether they’re sighted or not.”

Here are a few lovely shots from the workshop, by photographer Erin Conger:

The workshop was held in LightHouse's Innovation Lab on the 11th floor. A close-up of the sign outside the STEM lab in room 1145 reads “Innovation Lab Sponsored by Toyota”. A large window reveals a few students hard at work inside the lab.
The workshop was held in LightHouse’s Innovation Lab on the 11th floor. A close-up of the sign outside the STEM lab in room 1145 reads “Innovation Lab Sponsored by Toyota”. A large window reveals a few students hard at work inside the lab.
A diverse array of students, instructors, and volunteers are hard at work in the LightHouse’s Innovation Lab. A Be My Eyes poster stands out in the background as an indicator of the space’s many uses.
A diverse array of students, instructors, and volunteers are hard at work in the LightHouse’s Innovation Lab. A Be My Eyes poster stands out in the background as an indicator of the space’s many uses, including as a home base for two accessibility start-ups.
Baskets hold some of the essential components for making continuity testers: stainless steel forceps, insulated handle-wire strippers, wire cutters, wrenches, and Phillips-Head screwdrivers. A few spools of insulated wire — also essential — sit to the left.
Baskets hold some of the essential components for making continuity testers: stainless steel forceps, insulated handle-wire strippers, wire cutters, wrenches, and Phillips-Head screwdrivers. A few spools of insulated wire — also essential — sit to the left.
Red, green, black and white insulated wire spools sit on a table. Color indicators help sighted individuals distinguish between wires, while vision impaired students use a system of knots to differentiate between them.
Red, green, black and white insulated wire spools sit on a table. Color indicators help sighted individuals distinguish between wires, while vision impaired students use a system of knots to differentiate between them.
A close up of a student’s hand resting on the table near a soldering iron set in its station. A soldering iron is a handheld tool with an insulated handle and heated metal tip used to melt solder.
A close up of a student’s hand resting on the table near a soldering iron set in its station. A soldering iron is a handheld tool with an insulated handle and heated metal tip used to melt solder.
A group of 13 students, instructors, and volunteers are hard at work around the long central table in LightHouse’s Innovation Lab.
A group of 13 students, instructors, and volunteers are hard at work around the long central table in LightHouse’s Innovation Lab.
Six students and volunteers sit around two tables, hard at work. The grey work surface is scattered with castaway bits of wire and solder. The lab’s large windows offer a view of neighboring grey buildings.
Six students and volunteers sit around two tables, hard at work. The grey work surface is scattered with castaway bits of wire and solder. The lab’s large windows offer a view of neighboring grey buildings.
A student’s fingers slide down the length of a pair of stainless steel forceps to find the point of contact on the circuit board. This technique helps students who are blind create landmarks for soldering throughout the process.
A student’s fingers slide down the length of a pair of stainless steel forceps to find the point of contact on the circuit board. This technique helps students who are blind create landmarks for soldering throughout the process.
A curl of smoke rises from the tip of a hot soldering iron as a student melts points of solder onto his circuit board.
A curl of smoke rises from the tip of a hot soldering iron as a student melts points of solder onto his circuit board.
A female soldering student wearing reflective sunglasses and a colorful headband leans over her work station, deep in a concentration. A steel vice is used to steady a yellow circuit board for ease of work while soldering.
A female soldering student wearing reflective sunglasses and a colorful headband leans over her work station, deep in concentration. A steel vice is used to steady a yellow circuit board for ease of work while soldering.
Workshop facilitator Dr. Joshua Miele of the Smith-Kettlewell Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Low Vision and Blindness oversees the work of a male soldering student.
Workshop facilitator Dr. Joshua Miele of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute oversees the work of a male soldering student.
A man in a grey shirt and suspenders clasps a yellow circuit board. Behind him, the student with the tawny shirt is hard at working with his soldering iron in hand. A smattering of tools are sprawled across the table next to a folded cane.
A man in a grey shirt and suspenders clasps a yellow circuit board. Behind him, a student in a  tawny shirt is holding a soldering iron in hand. A smattering of tools are sprawled across the table next to a folded cane.
Clasping a pair of yellow wire-strippers, a female student in a teal shirt uses the instrument’s notched jaws to remove the insulation from a section of yellow wire. Her other tools are scattered on the table in front of her. Other students are hard at work in the background.
Clasping a pair of yellow wire-strippers, a female student in a teal shirt uses the instrument’s notched jaws to remove the insulation from a section of yellow wire. Her other tools are scattered on the table in front of her.
Two older male students collaborate at a busy soldering station.
Two older male students collaborate at a busy soldering station.
A middle-aged blonde male bends over his workstation.
A middle-aged blonde male student bends over his workstation.
A grey-haired student in a black polo shirt glides his hands over the notches on his circuit board.
A grey-haired student in a black polo shirt glides his hands over the notches on his circuit board.
A man with long gray hair and a purple shirt sits facing away at one of the high top work surfaces in the Innovation Lab. His glossy black guide dog is on the floor at his feet, staring directly into the camera.
A man with long gray hair and a purple shirt sits facing away at one of the high top work surfaces in the Innovation Lab. His glossy black guide dog is on the floor at his feet, staring directly into the camera.
A smiling grey-haired male student wearing a black hoodie and a white button-up sits at the table grasping a completed continuity tester.
A smiling grey-haired male student wearing a black hoodie and a white button-up sits at the table grasping a completed continuity tester.

The LightHouse’s Innovation Lab will continue to offer workshops in STEM fields, so stay tuned. It is part of our mission to strengthen the representation of people who are blind or have low vision in the tech industry and other STEM fields.

For more information about future workshops visit the LightHouse Calendar or contact Director of Community Services Lisamaria Martinez via email at lmartinez@lighthouse-sf.org or by phone at 415.694.7350.

Press

The LightHouse has a rich, 114-year history, and is constantly forging ahead into new territory. Below is a review of selected recent publications covering the LightHouse’s activities and programs.

For general press inquiries, or if you are a filmmaker, photographer, editor or other media producer who’d like to cover our organization, please send a note to press@lighthouse-sf.org.

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Recent Stories

“LightHouse Expands to Support East Bay” – KCBS News

“Cane Trainer” – The Specialist Podcast

“Visually Impaired Musicians Overcome Obstacles with Technology at Napa Camp” – Napa Valley Register

“A Hands-On Guy Doing Hands-On Work in the Information Age” – The Braille Monitor profiles Enchanted Hills Construction Manager George Wurtzel

“The Best Party at SXSW Was in a Rented House Full of Blind People” – Re/code reviews our panel at SXSW 2016

“Blind People Don’t Need Your Help – They Need Better Design” – San Francisco Magazine

“Travelers in the Dark” – The New York Times provides a look into our flagship blindness skills immersion program

“Blind Architect drafts different blueprint for success” – CBS Evening News

“Pixar’s New App Gives the Blind a New Way to Experience Movies” – The California Report

“In Savvy Real Estate Play, LightHouse for the Blind to move to $45M new HQ” – San Francisco Business Times 

“An Architect Lost His Sight and Kept Working Thanks to Breakthrough Technologies for the Blind” – Dwell

“Forbes Honors Two LightHouse Mentors in Annual ’30 Under 30′” – LightHouse

“Is Braille Relevant in the Digital Age” – KALW Radio

“A Guiding Hand for the Blind” – The Wall Street Journal profiles Employment Program Manager Kate Williams

“This Tactile Map of Burning Man is Awesome, No Matter Your Level of Sight” – CityLab

Coverage of Donald Sirkin’s historic bequest on KQED’s The Leap PodcastNPR Weekend Edition, KQED Forum, KTVU News, and in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

“Craftsman’s blindness Doesn’t Hinder his Woodworking Vision” – Napa Valley Register

“40 Years After Acid Attack, a Life Well-Lived,” profile of board past-president Josh Miele in the New York Times

“New Technologies Map Mass Transit and More for the Blind” – WNYC’s The Takeaway

“Nonprofits Need to Stay in MId-Market Despite Rising Rents” – San Francisco Chronicle

“Blind Teens Tap Into Sense at Chemistry Camp” – National Public Radio

 

 

Programs

Getting Started

If you think you may benefit from services, training or community activities and want to know how to get signed up, call us at (415) 431-1481, or email info@lighthouse-sf.org.

Some of the programs we offer include: training on cutting-edge accessible technology, how to move gracefully and effectively with a cane, social and recreational activities, accessible map and graphic design, braille instruction, as well as science, math, music and many other camps for blind youth and adults in the rolling hills of Napa. Please read through the program descriptions below and pick the one that’s right for you.

Blind & Low Vision Training Classes

Click here to read more about orientation and mobility training, braille, cooking and other independent living skills, and the other types of training we provide. Instruction periods include one-on-one, group, ongoing, and immersive options.

Access Technology

People of all ages and levels of experience can receive training in accessible technology. We also provide consulting services to individuals and companies looking for an accessibility evaluation for their product and can organize blind and visually impaired user testers to provide feedback on a product or service.

Employment Immersion Program

The Employment Immersion Program is a multi-week course empowering those who are blind or have low vision to assess their skills and interests and find success and satisfaction in the job market.

Enchanted Hills Camp

Founded in 1950 by Rose Resnick, Enchanted Hills now holds not only our annual summer camp sessions, but also hosts classes, workshops, retreats and seminars in a beautiful setting high atop Napa’s Mount Veeder.

Deaf-blind Program

The Deaf-blind Program provides training, resources and support to persons who are both vision and hearing impaired. The goal of the program is to ensure that deaf-blind individuals have access to information and the skills needed to live independent and productive lives. As part of this goal, the LightHouse operates the FCC program to ensure deaf-blind individuals receive free equipment and training to suit their needs.

Youth Programs

The LightHouse offers a diverse array of outings, social events, and personal/professional development opportunities for young adult and high school-aged youth.

Community Services

On a weekly basis we provide outings, classes, recreational activities and events for blind people of all ages to learn, connect and thrive.

Counseling and Psychological Services

The LightHouse offers counseling for those affected by blindness or low vision by an experienced team of licensed professionals.

Low Vision Clinic

Part of finding successful solutions is assessing your visual levels and needs. The LightHouse, in partnership with the UC Berkeley School of Optometry, offers low vision examinations each week.

Other links:

If you’d like to donate (time or financial support) to the LightHouse, please refer to the various options in the Donate section of our website (or click here to make a donation).

If you’d like to inquire about press, partnerships, or other media opportunities, please email press@lighthouse-sf.org.

If you’d like to shop at Adaptations, the Bay Area’s only hands-on brick and mortar store dedicated to technology for blind and low vision individuals — visit us during normal business hours at 214 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102, or call 1-888-400-8933.  Beginning in May 2016, visit us at 1155 Market St., 10th floor.

For all other questions, call (415) 694-7323 or email info@lighthouse-sf.org to find out what the LightHouse can do for you.

About

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides education, training, advocacy, and community for blind individuals in California and around the world. Founded and based in San Francisco since 1902, the LightHouse is one of the largest and most established comprehensive blindness organizations in North America, with a wide variety of programs to suit a wide variety of needs, as well as a rich network of blindness advocates and professionals.

LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, tax EIN 94-1415317.

Fast Facts

Each year:

  • 650 of our students learn to use a white cane and other skills needed to stay active and independent.
  • 320 of our students get training in technology ranging from basic keyboarding skills to talking GPS and cell phone apps specifically for people who are blind.
  • 100 young people participate in our enrichment programs such as STEAM activities, job and college prep, and outdoor adventures.
  • 180 of our deaf-blind students learn skills like braille and receive accessible tech equipment.
  • 420 of our campers enjoy a quintessential camp experience at Enchanted Hills Camp in Napa.
  • 60 of our blind jobseekers gain skills needed for employment.
  • 1,300 blind people buy more than 5,000 low vision and blindness tools at Adaptations Store.
  • 650 of our volunteers give their time to further our mission.

Each month:

  • 100 people access support services such as counseling, support groups, information and referral and case management.
  • 50+ social and recreational activities engage people who are blind in a supportive community.
  • 10 tours and outreach events educate the community about our mission and services.

Each day:

  • People who are blind become part of the LightHouse community, take steps to maximize their independence, and advocate for themselves and others.

Links

If you are blind or have low vision, and would like to benefit from our services, visit our programs page.

If you would like to support the LightHouse, visit our donate or volunteer pages.

If you are interested in our new headquarters at 1155 Market St. in San Francisco, visit our tours page.

To participate in our summer camp sessions, classes and workshops in Napa, visit our Enchanted Hills page.

For press inquiries or to read about LightHouse in the news, visit our press page.

For canes, technology, and other assistive devices at our store, visit our shop page.