Tag Archive

Youth

Let’s Talk – a Monthly Youth Conversation with Laura – on Saturday, September 17

PHOTO: LightHouse Youth gather together during the July YES Academy session.

Part of the LightHouse BEST (Building Excellence with Skills Training) Series for middle school and high school youth

Let’s Talk is an exciting new comprehensive science-based educational workshop, designed specifically for high school students who are blind or have low vision. Let’s Talk workshops provide a safe space for students to come together and talk about their experiences while they learn and acquire skills that will help them navigate all types of interpersonal relationships.

Who: Students that are blind or have low vision and are attending high school.
When: Saturday, September 17 from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m.
Where: The new LightHouse Building, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103
Cost: FREE
Waiver: Each participant must fill out and submit a LightHouse Youth Program Application if they have not done so already.

Let’s Talk will focus on topics related to gender, sexuality, reproductive health, navigating social challenges, developing friendships, dating and so much more. By providing youth with accurate, non-judgmental information, they can learn to make healthier decisions and choices for themselves. Our first workshop will focus on activities that help youth identify and establish healthy boundaries. Subsequent workshops will be created based on topics the class participants themselves would like to focus on.

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

If you are unable to attend and have ideas for future Let’s Talk workshops please e-mail lmillar@lighthouse-sf.org or call 415-694-7345.

Dance Like a Star on Saturday, September 17

Part of the LightHouse BEST (Building Excellence with Skills Training) Series for middle school and high school youth

Work off the lunch you made in our Iron Chef cooking class (or just attend this class on its own) with some new dance moves. Or just attend this class on its own. You’ll have fun while our blind mentors teach you a variety of dance steps. The class is intended for dancers of all experience levels, whether you are just learning to tango or ready to master the two-step. Who knows, we might even have time to learn the Nae Nae!

Who: Youth who are blind or have low vision, ages 8 to 18
What: Learn dance from low vision and blind mentors
When:  From 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 17. This is a one-time-only class.
Where:  The new LightHouse Building, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, 94103
Waiver: Each participant must submit a LightHouse Youth Program waiver form if they have not done so for a previous outing or event.
Cost: FREE for youth who are blind or have low vision

Classes will be limited to 12 participants and all participants must RSVP.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator, at (415) 694-7372, or by email at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org.

Youth Cooking Class – Iron Chef of the LightHouse – Beginning Saturday, September 17

Photo: Jamey Gump teaches during last year’s Youth Cooking Class.

Part of the LightHouse BEST (Building Excellence with Skills Training) Series for middle school and high school youth

In September our popular Youth Cooking class starts again in our beautiful new training kitchen.

We’ve been successfully teaching kids how to cook for a few years now and we’ve decided to add a little spice to the classroom by including a fun and competitive element. Introducing the Iron Chef of the LightHouse series of cooking classes, where students work with blind mentors in a series of fun food competitions.

In addition to the cooking challenges, we’ll teach students to cook tasty treats, simple side dishes and snacks and festive full-course meals. The class is intended for youth who are blind or have low vision and are aspiring to become more competent and confident in the kitchen.

The skills learned during these interactive cooking classes can easily be applied to everyday cooking at home or school; so parents, good news – you’ll want to invite your budding chefs to cook for you at home!

Who: Youth who are blind or have low vision, ages 8 to 18
When:  From 10:00 am to 12:45 pm on the third Saturday of the month (September 17, October 15, November 19 and December 17)
Where: The new LightHouse Building, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, 94103
Waiver: Each participant must submit a LightHouse Youth Program waiver form if they have not done so for a previous outing or event.
Cost: FREE for low vision and blind youth

Classes will be limited to 12 participants and all participants must RSVP.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator, at (415) 694-7372, or by email at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org.

Yes You Can – Enchanted Hills Campers Become Accessibility “Makers”

By Josh Miele, Associate Director of Technology Research and Development, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Low Vision and Blindness at Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute

PHOTO: STEM session student Rose McDougald plugs wire into an Arduino board.

Not everyone gets excited about building robots, but the students who are blind or have low vision that I worked with last week at the Enchanted Hills STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Camp definitely do. While most mainstream schools offer robotics clubs, programming classes, or electronics workshops, they often don’t know how to support participation by kids with visual disabilities. This workshop was part of The Blind Arduino Project – a larger effort to teach students and teachers about accessible electronics techniques, encouraging the participation of blind students in mainstream STEM-learning opportunities.

Sergio Ramirez and Lachlan Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

STEM session students Sergio Ramirez, left, and Lachlan Ryan give the thumbs while working on an Arduino board.

The sessions I taught at STEM Camp introduced blind kids to building robots and other electronic devices with Arduino – an inexpensive microprocessor that makes it extremely easy to design and build powerful automated gadgets with amazing capabilities. In a hands-on workshop, the students learned non-visual techniques for identifying electronic components, tracing wires and navigating the multitude of connections on an Arduino board. The kids learned about what Arduino can do, how to wire up sensors, speakers and motors, and even how to write their own programs to control the devices. But the most important thing they learned was that blind people can make stuff with Arduino. These young blind makers are now excited to bring that knowledge to school in the fall, ready to help their teachers make electronics learning accessible.

One of the aims of the Blind Arduino Project is to design devices to solve real-world accessibility challenges. Few experiences are more empowering than recognizing a barrier, designing a solution and building it yourself. For me, the greatest pleasure of the workshop came when two STEM students approached me with an idea. They had noticed that there were no audio indicators on the camp’s archery targets. They asked, “Could we use an Arduino to make a customizable beeper so we can hear where the target is?”

As a blind scientist who has built a career on finding creative technology solutions to accessibility challenges, this question thrilled me. These kids had a problem and they had independently designed and proposed a solution. After only a few hours of experience working with Arduino they were already using it to solve their own accessibility problems. Give them a few more years of experience and who knows what problems they will be ready to attack? What could be more personally and professionally satisfying than that?

“Yes, you definitely can,” I told them. “I’ll be right here if you need help.”

Beginning in October, Josh Miele is starting a Blind Arduino Monthly Meetup (BAMM) that will convene at the new LightHouse Building.

Read more about BAMM.

 

Blind Arduino Monthly Meetup (BAMM)

Get Ready for the School Year: Parent and Student Workshop on August 27 [postponed]

Note: this event has been postponed. For questions, contact jgump@lighthouse-sf.org.

Join LightHouse students, parents and teachers for a day-long workshop aimed at helping blind students and their families be more prepared for the coming school year and beyond.

The day will start with a panel of students, parents and teachers who will speak about challenges that specifically affect blind students, such as how to make sure handouts are available in accessible formats and ideas on how parents can help their children with their homework.

Next youth and adults will break into separate groups. Parents and teachers will focus on topics such as Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), the role Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) plays in their child’s education and extra-curricular options for youth who are blind. Students will also learn about how DOR works, discuss transitioning to college, living skills and the importance of balancing work and play.

The day will wrap-up with an opportunity for families to get to know one another.

Who: Families with at least one youth under 18 and at least one family member of any age who is blind or has low vision.
When: Saturday, August 27, from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Where: LightHouse Building, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103
Waiver: Each youth participant must fill out and submit a LightHouse Youth Program Application if they have not done so already.

If you would like more information or to RSVP for this event please contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator, at 415-694-7372 or by email at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org by Wednesday August 24.

Teens and Adults – Whitewater Raft the American River with the LightHouse – September 24 and 25

The LightHouse and Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC) collaborate in September as we offer a whitewater rafting experience on the South Fork of the American River. Youth and adults ages 14 and up are invited to attend this exciting rafting trip and overnight campout.

If you are interested in joining us, please contact Evening & Weekend Program Coordinator Serena Olsen by Tuesday, September 6 at 415-694-7316 or solsen@lighthouse-sf.org.

 We will leave early Saturday, September 24th to arrive at the South Fork of the American River by midday for an exciting afternoon of whitewater rafting. Once we finish our river float, we will go to ETC’s overnight camp where we will cook dinner together. After dinner, we’ll enjoy socializing around the campfire with old and new friends. The next morning we will pack-up camp and return to San Francisco by noon, traffic permitting.

  • Who: Youth and Adults who are blind or have low vision (ages 14 and up)
  • What: Whitewater Rafting and Overnight Campout
  • When: Depart 7:30 a.m. Saturday, September 24th and return 12:00 p.m. (noon) Sunday, September 25th
  • Where: South Fork of the American River and ETC’s Overnight Camp
  • Transportation: Transportation from and to the LightHouse will be provided
  • Waiver: Each participant must submit 2 waiver forms, one from the LightHouse and the other from Environmental Travel Companions. Please contact Serena Olsen to receive the waivers. Spots will only be reserved when payment and signed waivers are received.
  • Cost: The cost of the event is $100.00 per participant. LightHouse will cover overnight costs, transportation, dinner, and breakfast the following morning. Spots will only be reserved once payment and the two signed waivers are received.

 Please bring the following items on this trip:

  • Water bottle
  • Hat or visor
  • Sunscreen
  • Sleeping bag
  • Change of clothes
  • Swimsuit
  • Water shoes
  • Jacket /hoodie
  • Cane or mobility device
  • Any necessary medication
  • Personal toiletries (for the overnight campout at ETC’s campsite)
  • Two signed waivers for LightHouse and Environmental Traveling Companions

Youth Program End of Summer Family Fun Night on August 20

The LightHouse Youth Program invites you and your family to join us for our End of Summer Family Fun Night on Saturday, August 20. There will be games and family competitions that participants of all ages and abilities will enjoy while giving families the chance to get to know one another and share ideas, stories and resources. Expect plenty of silliness!

Who: Families where one or more members are under 18 and at  least one family member of any age is blind or has low vision.
When: Saturday, August 20, from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m.
Where: LightHouse Building, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103.
What to bring: Potluck contribution and lots of energy.
Waiver: Each youth participant must fill out and submit a LightHouse Youth Program Application if they have not done so already.

For more information or to RSVP for this event please contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator, at 415-694-7372 or by email jgump@lighthouse-sf.org by Friday August 19.

Youth Program Ocean Beach Outing with the Exploratorium on August 13

On Saturday, August 13, the LightHouse Youth Program will join our friends from the Exploratorium for a fun-filled activity and lesson about magnetic black sand. Under the guidance of Exploratorium staff, students will spend two hours collecting sand from Ocean Beach which they will then help sort at a later date.

Who: Students that are blind or have low vision.
What: Collect black sand for an exhibit in Exploratorium.
When: Saturday, August 13, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon.
Where: (Please note that the location where we will meet has changed.) We will gather near the public restrooms on Ocean Beach near the intersection of the Great Highway and Taraval Street.
Waiver: Each youth participant must fill out and submit a LightHouse Youth Program Application if they have not done so already.

If you would like more information or to RSVP for this event please contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator, at 415-694-7372 or by email at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org by Wednesday August 24.

Summer Concerts: Blind Music Academy Announces Three Concert Dates in August

PHOTO: Music academy students jam on keyboards and guitar.

Blind Music Academy Offering Free Concerts in August

In its third year, LightHouse’s summer Music Academy grows and expands. With an emphasis on composition, performance and learning to read and write music in braille for musicians who are blind or have low vision and are ages 16 to 24, our talent pool and ambition continues to grow. This year we’re excited to host students from the United States, Mexico and Canada. And with the opening in May of the LightHouse’s state-of-the-art San Francisco facility, Blind Music Academy will now be held both in the city and the country.

This year we have fourteen dedicated blind musicians, all under the age of 25, who are spending a week honing their skills as musicians and composers. The students are from all over North America, and though some of these individuals are already quite formidable talents, they are spending this week focused on not only becoming better performers but achieving fluency in braille music and other accessible forms of musical notation.

Each year Blind Music Academy culminates with a performance by our blind students, and this time around the group has announced that they will perform not once but three times, with additional concerts in both downtown Napa and San Francisco. Our students include a virtuosic classical pianist from Vera Cruz, Mexico and a locally-known jazz radio DJ and percussionist from El Paso, Texas, and the shows are guaranteed to be musically diverse and exciting.

Experience the power of Music Academy by joining us at one of these three, free concerts:

Blind Music Academy Summer Tour Dates

  • Friday, August 5 – Covenant Presbyterian Church, 7:30 p.m.
    1226 Salvador Ave, Napa, CA 94558
  • Saturday, August 6 – Enchanted Hills Camp, 4:00 p.m., with dinner following.
    3410 Mt Veeder Rd, Napa, CA 94558
  • Tuesday, August 9 – LightHouse for the Blind, 5:30 p.m., with reception following.
    1155 Market Street, 10th Floor, San Francisco 94103

The concerts are free. For those attending the concert at Enchanted Hills Camp, we are requesting a donation if you wish to join us for dinner after the show. Please RSVP for all concerts to Tony Fletcher at tfletcher@lighthouse-sf.org.

Our students walk into the Music Academy session brimming with talent. Take a look for yourself. Watch these videos for two of our students, concert pianist Fernando Apan and percussionist Lawrence Brown:

Fernando Apan interprets Mozart

Fernando Apan: Fantasía Para Piano y Clarinet

Interview with Lawrence Brown

About Blind Music Academy
Enchanted Hills Camp has paired up with Bill McCann, founder and president of Dancing Dots Braille Music Technology. Bill McCann pioneered this specialized music academy model both in Canada and in the United States. Music Academy is for musicians who are blind or have low vision between the ages of 16 to 24 years old who are serious about music or might be thinking of entering the profession. This academy introduces students to using non-visual techniques to compose music, read the works of others, learn performance skills and gain the capacity to compete for and win employment in the music field.

This year’s Music Academy session is full. If you have questions about next year’s session, please contact Taccarra Burrell at tburrell@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7318.

LightHouse Arduino Project Featured in Electronic Engineering Times

LightHouse for the Blind is at the forefront of accessible technology, and part of our work is dedicated to enabling blind people to make their own accessible tools. Dr. Joshua Miele was recently interviewed for an article in the EE Times (Electronic Engineering Times) about developing Arduino platforms, an important mechanism to making certain devices more accessible.

In the EE Times article “Developing an Accessible Arduino,” Dr. Miele explains, “Many devices that blind people would want to have—‘accessibility devices’—aren’t necessarily available on the market and could be built from these components.”

Dr. Miele, who heads up the LightHouse Arduino Project, is a research scientist at Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute and is tapped into the latest trends and emerging technologies for the blind. For those of us unfamiliar with Arduino, it “is an open-source prototyping platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino Boards are able to read inputs – light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message – and turn it into an output – activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online.”

The LightHouse’s new headquarters at 1155 Market Street in San Francisco will offer Arduino classes to blind youth and developers in our state-of-the-art STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) lab. A Blind STEM lab is critical because many blind aspiring STEM professionals do not have accessible science and engineering tools, despite living in Silicon Valley. Dr. Miele’s Arduino project is just one example of the many STEM offerings LightHouse will host, emboldening blind scientists to pursue their scholarly and career aspirations.

“Blind kids are not offered equal opportunity to participate in [robotics-focused] classes because of the accessibility issues around being able to build and program these devices,” Dr. Miele told EE Times. Dr. Miele is currently working with a team of blind and sighted scientists to make Arduino products more accessible, including creating fully-accessible open-source Arduino training materials and design prototypes for blind scientists to access.

Do you know a youngster who is blind or has low vision and is interested in learning how to hack their way into making accessible mechanical and electrical devices? They might be interested in learning Arduino during the STEM session at Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind, July 13 through 16.

If you’re interested in learning more about LightHouse Labs or Arduino programming at the LightHouse, please contact LightHouse CEO Bryan Bashin at 415.694.7346 or email him at bbashin@lighthouse-sf.org.

To sign up for the Youth STEM session at Enchanted Hills Camp, contact Taccarra Burrell at tburrell@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7318 for an application or with any questions.