Last month nine blind and low vision members of the LightHouse Youth Program traveled with program leader Jamey Gump plus two additional blind adult mentors to Los Angeles to attend the 2015 California Council of the Blind (CCB) Convention. There they experienced, some for the first time, the excitement of attending relevant seminars and workshops, exploring the exhibit hall, networking and making friends while getting a beginners course on how one “does” a convention.
Students spent most of the long days listening to experts discuss topics important to the blindness community. These included upcoming changes at the Department of Rehabilitation, homemaker cases and transition services funding, efforts being made by CCB and partners to make absentee voting accessible plus an update on laws that protect service animals and information about traveling with your guide dog internationally.
Youth Program Leader Jamey Gump told us, “Some of the most important moments during the convention happened during the down time when people were able to speak with other blind and low vision individuals. They were able to meet CCB members from across the state and hear first-hand about what CCB does. They also had opportunities to make friends with youth their own age, encouraging the building of a support network of their peers.”
Joe Retherford–one of the mentors that chaperoned the trip–added, “This was the first convention for a lot of the students and a good experience for all that were involved. Being around that many blind individuals is empowering.”
Jamey is planning future significant excursions for LightHouse Youth in 2016. Read about them first in our Youth Program Events List. To sign up, contact Jamey at 415-694-7372 or firstname.lastname@example.org.