Tag Archive

Transportation and Travel

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:

Stay the Week – Learn and Connect at our New Headquarters

Students and instructors from the January class gather for a group photo in front of the fireplace at Enchanted Hills RetreatJoin us this month for our first Changing Vision Changing Life (CVCL) Immersion Training 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.

Dates for our upcoming training sessions in 2016, all at our new Headquarters in San Francisco

Where: LightHouse for the Blind, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, California 94103

Session Dates:

June Session: June 13th to 17th (Deadline for sign-up is June 3rd.)
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.)

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.

You can be one of the first to go through our 2016 Immersion training 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.

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.

Gaining 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.

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 the first student to join us in San Francisco. Interested? Contact LightHouse staff in San Francisco, San Rafael or Eureka:

Sea Kayaking with the LightHouse

young man kayaking on the oceanJoin the LightHouse Community Services Program for an overnight kayaking and camping trip with our friends at Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC). Individuals ages 14 and up who are blind or have low vision are sure to have a blast exploring the natural beauty of Tomales Bay.

We’ll begin our excursion by kayaking up the coast to our camp site, enjoy a peaceful night among the woods of beautiful Tomales State Park, then return via kayak to our launch point the following morning.

Who: Individuals ages 14 and up who are blind or have low vision.

When:
Saturday, June 11th through Sunday, June 12th.

Waiver and Application:
Each participant must submit an ETC Kayaking Trip Packet. Additionally each participant must sign a LightHouse Waiver.

Cost:
$125.00 per person includes kayaking, overnight stay at Tomales Bay State Park, food during the trip, as well as transportation from LightHouse Headquarters to the Tomales Bay launch site and back.

RSVP: Space is limited to 12 participants. Please RSVP by Thursday, June 2nd to Serena Olsen, Evening & Weekend Programs Coordinator, at solsen@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7316.

Things to bring: (Please refer to ETC equipment list in the trip packet for trip basics)
-Sleeping bag
-At least one set of warm clothing
-Towel
-Necessary Toiletries (for one overnight stay in the woods)
-Necessary Medication (student must be able to self-administer)

Go to the NFB National Convention with LightHouse YES Academy

The LightHouse believes that attending consumer conventions of the blind can be an empowering tool. Since 2011 we’ve taken students and staff to a number of consumer conventions to maximize and intensify learning in a fun and adventuresome way.

With great excitement, The LightHouse Youth Program is pleased to announce its first Youth Employment Series (YES) Academy.

Academy Dates: Wednesday, June 22 to Wednesday, July 6, 2016

During this two-week training academy students aged 16 to 24 will gain valuable knowledge and life experiences that will help them become more independent, confident and successful.

During the first week of this intensive program, students will stay at the brand new, state-of-the-art LightHouse headquarters in San Francisco where they will take part in a series of day-long workshops focused on acquiring knowledge about college, employment, blindness skills and self-advocacy.

LightHouse YES Academy Goes to NFB National Convention
During the second week, new skills will be put to the test when the entire academy hits the road and travels across the country to attend the National Federation of the Blind annual National Convention in Orlando, Florida, one of the largest gatherings of blind and low vision individuals and professionals in the world.

YES Academy Week Highlights
•Learn about accommodations available to college students and those entering the workforce.
•Acquire access technology skills which can be applied to real world situations, and test how effective these technologies might be for yourself.
•Acquire and use blindness skills that will enrich your life and help you achieve your goals, be more confident and learn how to advocate for your needs.
•Learn how to smoothly transition into college from high school or from college to a career.
•Develop effective cover letters and resumes.
•Practice networking, participate in mock interviews and understand how to make a strong and positive first impression.
•Learn how to develop, enhance and utilize your network and your relationships with peers and mentors.

NFB National Convention Week Highlights
•Attend the largest gathering of individuals who are blind or have low vision in the United States.
•Gain advice, wisdom and network with intelligent, charismatic and fun blind mentors and leaders.
•Share and discuss issues, ideas and perspectives of importance to the blind community with peers and mentors.
•Practice skills and techniques learned during our monthly YES Youth Employment Series and other trainings in a blind-friendly environment with thousands of low vision and blind mentors who can help you master your new skills.
•Learn about the latest and greatest technologies for the blind and low vision community at one of the largest gatherings of venders of low vision and blind technologies in the world.

Students aged 16 to 24 who are referred to the YES Academy by their Department of Rehabilitation counselor are encouraged to apply. The LightHouse YES Academy includes dormitory lodging, hotel room expenses, transportation to and from Orlando, food, registration fees and many day-to-day expenses during the academy. Transportation to and from San Francisco is not included. Payment must be secured by June 15.

Registration
The first step in the registration process is to complete the online portion of the application. Click here to go to the application form.

LightHouse Youth Services Coordinator Jamey Gump will contact you shortly after your application has been submitted to complete the application process.

If you would like more information regarding the LightHouse YES Academy, including costs, please contact Jamey Gump at 415.694.7372 or jgump@lighthouse-sf.org.

Apply by May 22 – Go to the NFB National Convention with LightHouse YES Academy

LightHouse youth group stands with Jamey Gump and Bryan Bashin

The LightHouse believes that attending consumer conventions of the blind can be an empowering tool. Since 2011 we’ve taken students and staff to a number of consumer conventions to maximize and intensify learning in a fun and adventuresome way.

With great excitement, The LightHouse Youth Program is pleased to announce its first Youth Employment Series (YES) Academy.

Academy Dates: Wednesday, June 22 to Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Deadline to register is May 22

During this two-week training academy students aged 16 to 24 will gain valuable knowledge and life experiences that will help them become more independent, confident and successful.

During the first week of this intensive program, students will stay at the brand new, state-of-the-art LightHouse headquarters in San Francisco where they will take part in a series of day-long workshops focused on acquiring knowledge about college, employment, blindness skills and self-advocacy.

LightHouse YES Academy Goes to NFB National Convention
During the second week, new skills will be put to the test when the entire academy hits the road and travels across the country to attend the National Federation of the Blind annual National Convention in Orlando, Florida, one of the largest gatherings of blind and low vision individuals and professionals in the world.

YES Academy Week Highlights
•Learn about accommodations available to college students and those entering the workforce.
•Acquire access technology skills which can be applied to real world situations, and test how effective these technologies might be for yourself.
•Acquire and use blindness skills that will enrich your life and help you achieve your goals, be more confident and learn how to advocate for your needs.
•Learn how to smoothly transition into college from high school or from college to a career.
•Develop effective cover letters and resumes.
•Practice networking, participate in mock interviews and understand how to make a strong and positive first impression.
•Learn how to develop, enhance and utilize your network and your relationships with peers and mentors.

NFB National Convention Week Highlights
•Attend the largest gathering of individuals who are blind or have low vision in the United States.
•Gain advice, wisdom and network with intelligent, charismatic and fun blind mentors and leaders.
•Share and discuss issues, ideas and perspectives of importance to the blind community with peers and mentors.
•Practice skills and techniques learned during our monthly YES Youth Employment Series and other trainings in a blind-friendly environment with thousands of low vision and blind mentors who can help you master your new skills.
•Learn about the latest and greatest technologies for the blind and low vision community at one of the largest gatherings of venders of low vision and blind technologies in the world.

Students aged 16 to 24 who are referred to the YES Academy by their Department of Rehabilitation counselor are encouraged to apply. The LightHouse YES Academy includes dormitory lodging, hotel room expenses, transportation to and from Orlando, food, registration fees and many day-to-day expenses during the academy. Transportation to and from San Francisco is not included. Payment must be secured by June 15.

Registration
The first step in the registration process is to complete the online portion of the application by May 22. Click here to go to the application form.

LightHouse Youth Services Coordinator Jamey Gump will contact you shortly after your application has been submitted to complete the application process.

If you would like more information regarding the LightHouse YES Academy, including costs, please contact Jamey Gump at 415.694.7372 or jgump@lighthouse-sf.org.

Enchanted Hills Retreat in Spring – Spend an Enchanted April, May or June in the Heart of Napa

Spring in Enchanted Hills. One of the many paths through the grounds – this one surrounded by verdant green grass, vivid yellow flowers and graced by one of the local goats who help us with brush clearance.Did you know that Enchanted Hills, our historic camp for the blind and visually impaired located on Mt. Veeder in Napa, also accepts reservations for retreats, getaways and events of all sorts?

A stay at Enchanted Hills Retreat will make you and your group feel renewed and the clean air and babbling springs will make you feel refreshed. Your retreat sojourn also supports the unique programs of Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind. This summer these offerings include our annual Music Academy for young aspiring musicians, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) camp for budding blind scientists, horse camp for blind horse aficionados and hands-on wood working in our new Arts Barn.

To reserve Enchanted Hills for your get-together of 30 to 120, please call (415) 694-7310 or go to enchantedhillsretreat.com.

Jennifer Huey – “When Life Gives You a White Cane, Blaze a Trail!”

Jennifer HueyThe following is one in a monthly series featuring the extraordinary people who make up the LightHouse staff.

“My first goal is to make my students feel comfortable by demystifying Orientation and Mobility. People ask, ‘What’s that?’ I tell them that Orientation and Mobility is a fancy phrase to describe the set of skills people who are blind or have low vision use to safely navigate the world around them,” Jennifer Huey, one of LightHouse’s Certified Orientation and Mobility Instructors, tells us. She continues, “For example, I teach students how to properly use a white cane. In addition to cane travel, I teach people how to use all their senses to move about independently. People wonder how a blind person can cross a busy intersection, walk with a white cane and an umbrella or find an exit. I teach students those critical skills, which we call Orientation and Mobility or O&M.”

Jennifer comes to the LightHouse after being in the court reporting industry for over 20 years. “It was time for a career change. I wanted to make a tangible difference in the lives of others. My job in the court reporting field was just that – a job. Jennifer reflected on her history when considering a second career. “My mom developed eye cancer several years ago, which was a wakeup call to my family. Life is short; do what you love. On a more literal level, my mother’s diagnosis, coupled with my twin sister’s congenital monocular (‘single eye’) vision, led me to the field of blind services. I went back to San Francisco State (she got her Bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders, with a minor in Special Education there as well) to earn my Master’s in Special Education, with a special emphasis in O&M.”

Kathy Abrahamson, LightHouse’s Director of Rehabilitation, was one of Jennifer’s instructors at SF State. “Kathy was infectious, with her bubbly personality and passion for helping people. She talked so highly of the LightHouse, and the satisfaction she felt in her career. Like my classmate Robert Alminana (who is also an O&M instructor at the LightHouse), I knew I wanted to work here.”

Students who meet Jennifer are quickly put at ease by her warmth and great cheer. “We laugh a lot. I’m empowering people to live their lives, why not start living during our training? I learn about students’ concerns, many of which are similar to all students, but I also dig deeper to learn more about the individual I’m working alongside. That’s a key point: I’m working with—beside—my students, not teaching at them. One of my major goals for every student is that they understand that their white cane (if they need a cane) is a tool and not something stigmatizing. We reach that point together by setting personal goals that have an immediate impact, like learning how to deftly use a white cane and navigate a busy sidewalk.”

Born and raised in San Francisco, Jennifer certainly hasn’t let city lines keep her boxed in. “I love traveling. My last big trip was last August, when I went on a mission to bring assistive equipment like wheelchairs, crutches, canes and training to the Ugandan disability community. I set up a website to fundraise for adult and child-sized canes, various cane tips and cane accessories, to be distributed free of charge to Ugandans in need. It was an incredible journey – I can’t wait for my next trip.” Jennifer is also a thrill seeker, having skydived twice, and she loves drama, from movies to musicals. She emphatically states: “Go to Shakespeare in the Park. Do it! You’ll love it!”

If you’re wondering if you should sign up for Orientation and Mobility training at the LightHouse, Jennifer has this to say: “Pick up the phone, shoot us an email, stop by…you have to be the one to make the first step. I assure you, you’re in control of your training, but we’re here to help you figure out what you need to thrive.”

To get started, call us at 415.431.1481 or write us at info@lighthouse-sf.org.

Summer in the City – Changing Vision Changing Life, Immersion Training in San Francisco

For more than three years now, over 150 active adults from all parts of Northern California have participated in the LightHouse immersion training programs at the Enchanted Hills Retreat in Napa. Come June, we are excited to add a new venue for our immersion training, our new headquarters in San Francisco at 1155 Market. You can be one of the first to go through our 2016 Immersion training 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.

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. Every person and every group of students is different and we individualize much of the experience depending on your own aspirations.

Gaining 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 adults, both students and teachers, who are blind or have low vision, to learn or relearn skills, and to get back into the stream of life, remains a pivotal part of the week-long experience.

In San Francisco, students will live in comfortable shared accommodations (minimum two to a room) and are provided 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. The student lodging is secure and comfortable for learning and connecting with others when there is a break from training.

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 9:00 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 and limited scholarships are available for persons under 55 and not eligible for Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Dates for our upcoming training sessions, all at our new headquarters in San Francisco

June 12 through 17
July 10 through 15 (note: all training in Spanish)
July 31 through August 5

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. Interested? Contact LightHouse staff in San Francisco, San Rafael or Eureka:

This June – Go to the NFB National Convention with LightHouse YES Academy

The LightHouse believes that attending consumer conventions of the blind can be an empowering tool. Since 2011 we’ve taken students and staff to a number of consumer conventions to maximize and intensify learning in a fun and adventuresome way.

With great excitement, The Lighthouse Youth Program is pleased to announce its first Youth Employment Series (YES) Academy.

Academy Dates: Wednesday, June 22 to Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Deadline to register is May 1
Informational conference call: Sunday, April 10, 4:00 p.m.

During this two week training academy students aged 16 to 24 will gain valuable knowledge and life experiences that will help them become more independent, confident and successful.

During the first week of this intensive program, students will stay at the brand new, state-of-the-art LightHouse headquarters in San Francisco where they will take part in a series of day-long workshops focused on acquiring knowledge about college, employment, blindness skills and self-advocacy.

LightHouse YES Academy Goes to NFB National Convention
During the second week, new skills will be put to the test when the entire academy hits the road and travels across the country to attend the National Federation of the Blind annual National Convention in Orlando, Florida, one of the largest gatherings of blind and low vision individuals and professionals in the world.

Join us for an Informational Conference Call
To learn more about this innovative program, we invite you to join us for a conference call on Sunday, April 10 at 4:00 p.m.
Call-in number: 641-715-3300, passcode 168319#. You will have an opportunity to speak with and ask questions of LightHouse staff during the call.

YES Academy Week Highlights
•Learn about accommodations available to college students and those entering the workforce.
•Acquire access technology skills which can be applied to real world situations, and test how effective these technologies might be for yourself.
•Acquire and use blindness skills that will enrich your life and help you achieve your goals, be more confident and learn how to advocate for your needs.
•Learn how to smoothly transition into college from high school or from college to a career.
•Develop effective cover letters and resumes.
•Practice networking, participate in mock interviews and understand how to make a strong and positive first impression.
•Learn how to develop, enhance and utilize your network and your relationship with peers and mentors.

NFB National Convention Week Highlights
•Attend the largest gathering of low vision and blind students in the United States.
•Gain advice, wisdom and network with intelligent, charismatic and fun blind and low vision mentors and leaders.
•Share and discuss issues, ideas and perspectives of importance to the blind community with peers and mentors.
•Practice skills and techniques learned during our monthly YES Youth Employment Series and other trainings in a blind-friendly environment with thousands of low vision and blind mentors who can help you master your new skills.
•Learn about the latest and greatest technologies for the blind and low vision community at one of the largest gatherings of venders of low vision and blind technologies in the world.

Students aged 16 to 24 who are referred to the YES Academy by their Department of Rehabilitation counselor are encouraged to apply. The LightHouse YES Academy includes dormitory lodging, hotel room expenses, transportation to and from Orlando, food, registration fees and many day-to-day expenses during the academy. Transportation to and from San Francisco is not included. Payment must be secured by June 15.

Registration
The first step in the registration process is to complete the online portion of the application by May 1. Click here to go to the application form.

Lighthouse’s Youth Services Coordinator Jamey Gump will contact you shortly after your application has been submitted to complete the application process.

If you would like more information regarding the Lighthouse YES Academy, including costs, please contact Jamey Gump at 415.694.7372 or jgump@lighthouse-sf.org.

Frank Welte – A Journey from Computer Programming to Braille Mastery

The following is one in a monthly series featuring the extraordinary people who make up the LightHouse staff.

“As we move into our new headquarters office, the LightHouse is going through a time of amazing growth and community partnership building, but our core services are as important as ever: helping people who are blind or have low vision live full and successful lives,” Frank Welte tells us. Frank, who is blind, is officially the LightHouse Information and Referral Specialist, but his job has grown over time to match his vast skillset.

“Before coming to the LightHouse, I worked as a mainframe computer programmer and performed website user testing for accessibility. As someone who is blind, I was able to lend my technology skills and blindness skills to help for-profits meet the needs of their blind constituents and customers.”

In 2007, Frank’s personal interests started to change. “I wanted to help more blind people achieve the kind of personal growth that I achieved, so I left the for-profit world and worked at the Vista Center for the Blind and the LightHouse for the Blind part-time. Later, I started working at the California Council of the Blind (CCB) as their Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs.”

In May 2011, Frank became a full-time LightHouse staffer, sharing his time between fielding the many calls and questions we get about resources for people who are blind or have low vision, and working on LightHouse’s Tactile Strip Map project for MUNI, BART and CalTrain.

“The Strip Maps are particularly exciting because tactile maps for the blind are just getting traction, and LightHouse is an early adopter and creator of tactile maps,” Frank told us. “I love applying my professional and real world experience to the strip map and tactile graphic process, ensuring the tactile work we produce is beautiful and useful. Tactile graphics is a growing field. For years, people mistakenly believed that tactile representations of information, like maps and graphs, were not useful to the blind—that we couldn’t learn from tactile graphics. However, LightHouse has learned that the ‘issue’ wasn’t in blind people’s abilities to read tactile graphics; rather, the tactile graphics were poorly designed and created.”

Creating tactile representations of print materials requires outside-the-box thinking and a fair amount of artistry. LightHouse also integrates many forms of media, from tactile and high contrast print, to talking smart pens and voice-eye apps. Frank works with his colleagues to ensure that their creations feel lovely and are highly usable. “It’s such a new field, LightHouse is actually creating industry standards for tactile graphic design. We are working on STEM models for blind students, maps of international transit systems and music venues, and tactile designs for the National Park Services, just to name a few projects.”

Frank’s job has evolved over the years. “Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of braille editing and proofreading, and I’ve been designing and editing tactile graphics and maps with my coworkers. I’m also completing my National Library Service (NLS) braille certification, which will round out my professional development in braille transcription and proofreading.

“[Moving into] our new building is an exciting opportunity for LightHouse to grow our Access to Information Services Department, enabling us to push the envelope further with cutting edge technologies.” Frank continues, “But our new building isn’t just about braille and tactile graphic production. At the new LightHouse we’ll be able to teach a larger number of students the blindness skills they need to thrive. Our store, Adaptations, will be larger and feature hands-on demonstrations for people to try items before they buy them. (A rarity for those who purchase accessible technology). Our Community Services Department will have more programming for a larger variety of students, from youth to seniors and everyone in between. Basically, we’ll be growing and improving our already robust programming to meet and exceed the needs of our community.”

An active member of the blindness community, Frank’s time outside of work is split between his position as a board member for CCB, serving as the President of the local San Francisco chapter of CCB, and too many other blindness initiatives to list. But he does save time for fun and recreation. “Lately, my wife and I have been planning our next vacation. We are looking to visit my wife’s family in Italy, but we also want to explore Hawaii and Alaska. On the weekends, we walk our dogs along the beach over in the East Bay, and daydream about our many future trips.”

If you are interested in having something transcribed into braille or another format, or would like to learn more about tactile graphics, contact Access to Information Services today at MADLab@lighthouse-sf.org.