Tag Archives: Transportation and Travel

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 on how to Buy Instagram followers.

October Youth Employment Series (YES) Workshop

Photo: YES Academy students raise their arms in happy unison while seated in a MUNI F-Line heritage streetcar.

Would you like to be a YES Protégé?
We are currently seeking protégés for the Youth Employment Series (YES). Protégés will benefit from vocational and blindness skills training, meaningful work and volunteer opportunities, as well as career-specific mentorships with the working blind. This informative monthly series will provide transition-aged youth who are blind or have low vision with vital skills that will help them become more successful as they pursue their academic and employment dreams.

The October YES workshop is Making Advocacy Awesome!
When:
Saturday, October 8, 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: the new LightHouse Building, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103.
Who:  Candidates must  be transition aged students ages 14 to 26 who are blind or have low vision. They must be eligible for transitional rehabilitation services, deemed legally blind by a physician or accredited agency, and able to fulfill the training and work required by the program.

Is There a Cost to Attend the YES Workshops?
The cost to attend one of the LightHouse Youth Employment Series workshops is $175 per day-long workshop. In addition to the day’s activities and curriculum, students will receive a light breakfast, lunch and refreshments throughout the day. Department of Rehabilitation authorizations or other payment source must be secured before students will be eligible to participate.

If you have any questions or wish to apply, please contact Youth Services Coordinator Richie Flores at rflores@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7328.

Topics that will be discussed in October include but are not limited to:

  • Instruction in self-advocacy, individual rights, self-determination skills, and the informed consent process, as well as peer mentoring
  • Learn about accommodations available to college students and those entering the workforce
  • Acquire and use blindness skills that will enrich life and help achieve ones goals, be more confident and learn how to advocate needs
  • Learn how to smoothly navigate through any system as a student transitioning into college from high school or from college to a career
  • Learn strategies that will help student make strong and positive first impressions
  • Learn how to develop, enhance and utilize ones network and relationship with peers and mentors

Additional Scheduled Workshops for Fall

Making Work Exciting
Saturday, November 12, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

 

Explore Animals by Touch as LightHouse Youth, Their Families and Exploratorium go to the San Francisco Zoo

PHOTO: A large sign for the San Francisco Zoo, near its entrance.

On Sunday, October 16 LightHouse students and their families, aided by Exploratorium Staff and Youth staff, will have the chance to enjoy a hands-on experience at the San Francisco Zoo, in the Sculpture Learning Plaza.

The Sculpture Learning Plaza is an exciting, innovative and accessible addition to the Zoo. It has nearly 100 sculptures and reliefs that are meant to be explored by touch and illustrate the amazing array of adaptations from some of the world’s most unique species.

Who: Families with at least one person that is blind or has low vision. Immediate family members.
What: A day of interactive animal science and exploration at the San Francisco Zoo.
When: Sunday, October 16, 2016, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Where: The San Francisco Zoo, 1 Zoo Road, San Francisco, 94132
Cost: Free for LightHouse Youth. Additional family members may need to pay an entry fee.
Waiver: Each participant must complete a LightHouse Youth Program Application, if you have not done so already.
What to bring: good walking shoes, bag lunch or money for lunch, water bottle and warm layers of clothing. Please be sure to bring necessary adaptive equipment such as a cane or magnifier.

With our friends from the Exploratorium leading the way we will learn about the ecological threads that connect all living things.

The sculptures are made from a variety of construction materials providing realistic textures. Microscopic species, such as an amoeba, are enlarged to show detail, while other sculptures, like that of the salt water crocodile, are life-size to exhibit their impressive stature.

Read more about the Sculpture Learning Plaza.

If you would like more information or to RSVP for this event please contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator, at 415-694-7372 or jgump@lighthouse-sf.org.

Two-Week YES Academy Takes Blind Kids from San Francisco to Orlando to More Independence

Photo: YES group sit around one of the many tables in the conference hall. LightHouse Youth Coordinator Jamey Gump sits at 9 o’clock, then going clockwise around the table: student Kyle Garcia, LightHouse mentor Sergio Lopez, student Billy Lei, LightHouse mentor Danielle Fernandez, students Robin Patche, Kevin Brousard, Christina Parra, Santiago Hernandez and Jacob Obeso.

In July close to a dozen LightHouse Youth attended our inaugural YES Academy – a two-week session for students ages 16 to 24 with the aim of teaching them to be more independent, confident and successful. During the first week of the training, students stayed at the new LightHouse Building in San Francisco. The students experienced full days that included classroom work, assignments and challenges both inside and outside our offices, mixed with time to relax, talk, have fun, compare notes and enjoy making friends and bonding with fellow blind students.

students in teaching kitchen

Photo: YES Academy students gather in our teaching kitchen for lunch.

Throughout the first week students benefited from a robust curriculum including outstanding blind college students as well as blind speakers representing a wide variety of career choices, a tour of the UC Berkeley campus, discussions that focused on becoming more independent and on finding work, including the use of adaptive technology, the importance of organization, best practices for writing resumes and cover letters and how to go on a job interview. They also experienced the excitement and fun of navigating the Bay Area while practicing their mobility skills. They traveled throughout the San Francisco on public transportation, participated in the San Francisco Pride Parade, walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, visited Pier 39 and went to the movies (using the recently-launched Disney Movies Anywhere audio-description iPhone app to watch the film Finding Dory.)

 

students cross golden gate bridge

Photo: Brandishing white canes and dog guides, YES Academy students cross the Golden Gate Bridge.

YES Academy and Fortune Dragon

Photo: Students Christina Parra, Robin Patche and Moe Josefowicz stand next to the colorful Fortune Dragon statue that sits in front of San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum.

Week two brought the adventure all had been waiting for: the cross-country flight to Orlando, Florida where the group attended the annual National Federation of the Blind (NFB) National Convention. For some it was their very first time on an airplane. LightHouse Youth Services Coordinator Jamey Gump, who supervised the group throughout the two-week period told us, “The kids pretty much were struck by the scale and diversity of the conference right away. Imagine you are maybe the only kid in your school or in your community who is blind. Now imagine the impact of walking into a hall where there are thousands of blind people with their white canes or dog guides. Or attending a huge banquet where pretty much everyone there can relate in one way or another to your life experience? That’s amazingly empowering.”

Serena and Santiago

Photo: LightHouse Evening and Weekend Coordinator Serena Olsen stands with student Santiago Hernandez next to seated audience members in the NFB Conference Hall.

Included in their schedule: exploring the Exhibit Hall where vendors displayed adaptive technology and attending the Conference General Session, the National Association of Blind Students seminar and a youth mixer with kids from all across the country including Arizona and Maryland.

LightHouse Evening and Weekend Coordinator Serena Olsen, who supervised the kids overnight and in Orlando loved seeing changes in the kids, even in such a short period of time. She said, “Overall I saw a growing awareness among the group that it’s “okay” to be blind. I watched them become more comfortable in their own skin as blind people. For some or all of them there’s this idea of leaving home for the first time and that you can’t take your parents with you to, say, college. YES Academy gave them the chance to try new strategies and succeed, or even fail sometimes, in a safe space.”

Student Sarkis (Sako) Meehran Gekchyan summed up the feelings of many who attended, by saying, “The experience I had at The YES Academy was invaluable. I can safely say that no other program for the blind that I have participated in has impacted me so strongly, so positively and so permanently as this one. The lessons I have learned from staying at the LightHouse and the NFB convention have stuck. Doing this program was exactly what I needed. I was able to see blind people who took charge of their lives and were making a positive change not only for themselves but for others. I learned a lot both from my fellow students and the speakers and the mentors. It was the first time I ever felt a deep sense of pride in my blindness, the first time I actually felt like a part of the blind Community. The very people I once tried to distance myself from are now one of my greatest sources of inspiration and most importantly my second family.”

If you have any questions about YES Academy, please contact Youth Services Coordinators Jamey Gump at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org/415-694-7372 or Richie Flores at rflores@lighthouse-sf.org/415-694-7328.

Throughout the year we hold individual LightHouse YES workshops. Our first workshop is on Saturday, September 10.

Read more about YES workshops.

Changing Vision Changing Life II – Begins Sunday, September 18

Photo: Cooking Instructor Sydney Ferrario preps food with students.

Have you already received basic skills training in orientation and mobility, access technology or independent living and are committed to focus more intently in all three of these skill areas in a small group and individual learning environment? Changing Vision Changing Life may be for you. 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 five-night 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.


We will also be offering Changing Vision Changing Life sessions in November and December, 2016:

CVCL I (for those who are very new to low vision/blindness and have not had skills instruction):
When: Monday, November 7 through Friday, November 11
Where: This session will take place at Enchanted Hills Retreat in Napa
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.

CVCL II (for those persons who have had training and are ready for more focused instruction)
When: Monday, December 5 through Friday, December 9
Where: This session will take place at the new LightHouse Building, 1155 Market St., San Francisco, 94103. Participants will stay 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 which session is the best fit for you please contact Debbie Bacon at dbacon@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-357.

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.

Youth Employment Series (YES) Workshops Now Year-Round

Photo: YES Academy students raise their arms in happy unison while seated in a MUNI F-Line heritage streetcar.

Beginning in September, the LightHouse Youth Program begins its new academic year with our YES Saturday Workshop Series for transition aged students ages 14 to 26 who are blind or have low vision. Students must be eligible for transitional rehabilitation services, deemed legally blind by a physician or accredited agency, and able to fulfill the training and work required by the program.

Participants in the YES Workshop Series will benefit from vocational and blindness skills training, meaningful work and volunteer opportunities, as well as career-specific mentorships with the working blind. Our goal is to help students become ready to attend institutes of higher education or move towards successfully employed. We’ll offer presentations by keynote speakers and collaborative skill-focused activities led by successful blind professionals. Students will gain invaluable wisdom that can help them grow and shape themselves into competent blind adults.

September YES Workshop: Making Lasting Impressions
When:
Saturday, September 10, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: the new LightHouse Building, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103

Our September YES workshop will focus on teaching students how to make positive lasting impressions. Students will discuss in detail with experienced blind and low vision working mentors the  best ways to become proficient at making positive first impressions and how to confidently interact with the public’s perception of blindness.

Through fun and interactive hands-on activities, students will get the chance to learn what type of body language and attire will be appropriate for the real world situations they will likely encounter as they pursue their education and their career.

Additional Scheduled Workshops for Fall

Making Advocacy Awesome!
Saturday, October 8, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 Making Work Exciting
Saturday, November 12, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Is There a Cost to Attend the YES Workshops?
The cost to attend one of the LightHouse Youth Employment Series workshops is $175 per day-long workshop. In addition to the day’s activities and curriculum, students will receive a light breakfast, lunch and refreshments throughout the day. Department of Rehabilitation authorizations or other payment source must be secured before students will be eligible to participate.

If you have any questions or wish to apply, please contact Youth Services Coordinator Richie Flores at rflores@lighthouse-sf.orgg or 415-694-7328.

What is the LightHouse YES: Youth Employment Series?
LightHouse YES: Youth Employment Series is a practical and educational series of monthly workshops providing transition-aged youth who are blind or have low vision vital skills and practices that will help them become more successful in higher education and their chosen career path.

Topics to be discussed during these workshops include but are not limited to:

  • Work-based learning experiences, such as in-school or after school work experience, and internships.
  • Guidance toward opportunities for enrollment in a comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational program at an institution of higher education.
  • School-based preparatory employment experiences such as role playing, social skills development and independent living training, coordinated with any transition services provided by the school.
  • Instruction in self-advocacy, individual rights, self-determination skills and the informed consent process, as well as peer mentoring.
  • Accommodations available to college students and those entering the workforce.
  • Acquiring access technology skills which can be applied to real world situations.
  • Acquiring and using blindness skills that will enrich life and help students achieve their goals, be more confident and learn how to advocate their needs.
  • How to smoothly navigate through any system as a student transitioning into college from high school or from college to a career.
  • Developing effective cover letters, resumes and interview skills.
  • Learning strategies that will help students make strong and positive first impressions.
  • Learning how to develop, enhance and utilize one’s network and relationships with peers and mentors.
  • Job exploration counseling.

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.

LightHouse Announces a FREE Self-Defense Workshop – Sign up by August 5

Have you ever wanted to learn self-defense or been curious about how blind people can feel more confident while out in the world? This is the workshop for you, and it’s free.

In August the 1Touch™ Project will host a free self-defense workshop for folks who are blind or have low vision, at the new LightHouse Building.

When: Tuesday, August 9, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: LightHouse Building, 1155 Market Street, 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103
Please bring your own lunch and snacks.

This workshop is free of charge and will give you more confidence in your ability to handle yourself in any potentially unsafe situations. You need not have a martial arts background to attend but you must be 14 or older.

For more information, or to register, please call Lisamaria Martinez, Director of Community Services,  at 415-694-7350 or email lmartinez@lighthouse-sf.org. Space is limited and will go fast so sign up now. RSVPs will not be accepted past Friday, August 5.     

About 1Touch™ Project
1Touch™ explores participant’s hidden assumptions regarding their own disability — their personal perception of their blindness and the otherwise unchallenged insecurities built upon that perception. Learning these techniques has proven highly effective in the development of independence, self-confidence, spatial orientation, mobility and dexterity and tactile sensitivity. Read more about 1Touch at www.1touchproject.com.

First Weeklong Immersion Class Pioneers Intensive Blindness Introduction in our New Building

In June we launched the fourth year of the Changing Vision Changing Life (CVCL) Immersion Training program at our new Headquarters offices at 1155 Market Street in San Francisco.

Gaining an understanding of what is available to you, getting hands-on with new skills and developing renewed confidence with changing vision is the overall theme of the week. While the experience is different for everyone, the act of coming together with other adult students and teachers who are blind or have low vision, to learn or relearn skills and get back into the stream of life, is a pivotal part of the week-long experience.

Join us! We have several Changing Vision Changing Life (CVCL) Immersion Training scheduled this summer at our new Headquarters offices at 1155 Market Street in San Francisco.

Our new Student Residences can accommodate 2 to 3 students per room. Each Student Residence offers wireless internet connections, recharging stations and a personal bureau.  Students will be provided with a continental breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lodging is akin to a modern Bed and Breakfast – private men’s and women’s facilities are a short walk down the hall from each room. Student lodging is secure and comfortable both for learning and for connecting with others when there is a break from training.

  • Where: LightHouse for the Blind, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, California 94103
  • Session Dates:
    July Session: July 10th to 15th (note: all training in Spanish) (Deadline for sign-up is July 1st.)
  • August Session: August 16th to 22nd (training starts at our Napa site and finishes in San Francisco) (Deadline for sign-up is August 5th.)
  • September Session: September 18th to 23rd (Deadline for sign-up is August 9th.)

Jorge Ellington

Student Jorge Ellington arranges his legs into a pretzel-like formation during morning yoga in our new fitness studio during the Changing Vision Changing Life Immersion.

Over 160 active adults from all parts of Northern California have participated in the LightHouse immersion training programs at the Enchanted Hills Retreat in Napa. Providing a second venue to facilitate Changing Vision Changing Life Immersion brings to our students the urban feel of training as well as the additional access a city has to offer, such as visiting the library for the blind; attending an audio described movie at a local movie theater or participating in an accessible art tour at one of the many museums in San Francisco.

In our new urban environment you and your peers will be immersed in building a foundation of independent living skills, access technology skills, orientation and mobility and peer support to get you started on your journey of living your life the way you want in maintaining your independence. All of this along with the energy and vibrancy of one of the most beautiful cities in the world surrounding you.

The CVCL curriculum, presented in four or five sessions per day, includes: ways to read printed materials; understanding how lighting, contrast and magnification can help you every day; techniques for organizing and labeling in your home or office; best methods for taking notes; basic cooking skills; traveling and moving safely and confidently in your home and in the community and understanding how accessible computers and other high and low tech equipment can enhance your life.

You can’t learn everything about blindness or low vision in a single week. But you’ll emerge hungry for more, understanding why you’ll need to put in the effort required to excel in many nonvisual aspects of life. And you’ll have a whole lot of fun and friendship along the way.

Evening discussions focus inwards, from conversations about holding yourself accountable on your journey, to self-advocacy to questions about how friends, family and partners can understand/support you and your path. Sometimes the process is planned, other times it becomes very organic. Each person and every group of students is different and we individualize much of the experience depending on your own aspirations.

Transportation access to San Francisco from Humboldt County will be provided for North Coast students and for those who reside in the bay area, 1155 Market sits right above the Civic Center BART and is only a short cab ride or bus from the Cal Train Station and the temporary Trans Bay Terminal.

Blind or low vision students who are interested should have a genuine interest in learning the skills for moving forward; enjoy learning with a group of peers and are able to participate full day (from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day) of active learning and physical participation (urban mobility and public transit in San Francisco).

Note, there is no cost to attend if you are 55 or older and living in San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Humboldt or Del Norte counties. Limited scholarships are available for persons under 55 and not eligible for Department of Rehabilitation Services.

The Changing Vision Changing Life Immersion Training is open to adults who are ready for a jump start or a recharge as their vision has changed. Be among the very first classes in our new building. Interested? Contact LightHouse staff in San Francisco, San Rafael or Eureka: