Tag Archive

Advocacy

Ticket Giveaway to SF DocFest’s Off the Rails – Co-presented by Superfest International Disability Film Festival

Ticket Giveaway to SF DocFest’s Off the Rails – Co-presented by Superfest International Disability Film Festival

Superfest International Disability Film Festival announces a partnership with SF DocFest to co-present OFF THE RAILS, a film by Adam Irving. New York’s infamous transit thief, 50-year-old Darius McCollum, has been impersonating transit staff and stealing trains and buses for over 35 years, he has been given the opportunity of National Pardon but he has never taken it. He has been arrested no less than 30 times and has spent much of his life behind bars. The subway was his sanctuary as a child and he soon had memorized every train’s schedule and stops. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, depression, and anxiety stemming from a childhood school attack, the courts have never understood his obsession with transit.

In honor of Superfest’s 30th Anniversary we are giving away two tickets to the DocFest screening of Off the Rails at the Roxie Theater to the 30th person to send an email to jsachs@lighthouse-sf.org with the subject line “Off The Rails”.

Screenings:

Sunday, June 12: 4:30 p.m. at the Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street in San Francisco

Tuesday, June 14: 9:00 p.m. at the Vogue Theater, 3290 Sacramento Street in San Francisco

Superfest, the world’s longest running disability film festival, celebrates disability as a creative force in cinema and culture. We feature films with fresh ideas and images that inspire thought and meaningful conversation. Superfest is coordinated in partnership by the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability and LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Ten-Week Peer Support Group in Spanish

Anabella Denisoff and Esmeralda Soto will co-facilitate a support group starting Wednesday, June 22 to August 31. This group will meet every Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at our new headquarters.

Where: LightHouse for the Blind, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, California 94103.
When: Wednesdays, from June 22 to August 31, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Each week there will be a new topic for discussion regarding all aspects of living independently with changing vision. Thanks to a grant from the CA State Department of Rehabilitation OIB funding, there is no charge for people 55 and over. Scholarships are available to adults under 55.To register for this group, contact: Esmeralda Soto at 415-694-7323 or esoto@lighthouse-sf.org.

Diez Semanas de Grupo de Apoyo en Español
Anabella Denisoff y Esmeralda Soto facilitaran un grupo de apoyo, comenzara Miércoles, Junio 22-Agosto 31, 2016. El grupo se reunirá cada Miércoles de las 2:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. en nuestro nuevo edificio.

Dónde: LightHouse for the Blind, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, California 94103.
Cuando: todos los Miércoles entre 22 de Junio a 31 de Augusto, 2:00 p.m. a 4:00 p.m.

Cada semana habrá un nuevo tema para discusión tocante todos aspectos sobre viviendo independientemente con los cambios de visión. Gracias al OIB(Older Individuals who are Blind) financiada por el Departamento de Rehabilitación del Estado de California no habrá costo a adultos 55 años de edad o más. Becas seran disponible a adultos menor de 55 años de edad. Para registrarse para el grupo, por favor de contactar a: Esmeralda Soto al 415-694-7323 o esoto@lighthouse-sf.org.

Networking, Mentoring, Friendships and Camaraderie – Our Latest Employment Immersion Success, Jessica Phu

Jessica Phu sits at her computer“I worked at the same company for twenty-two years, then they moved to Salt Lake City, and I found myself out of a job. I had no idea what to do. I met with a counselor from the Department of Rehabilitation in Oakland, who told me about LightHouse’s Employment Immersion program. I was reluctant, but I spoke with Kate Williams, [Employment Immersion Coordinator], and she convinced me to give it a try.”
–Jessica Phu

Jessica, LightHouse’s latest Employment Immersion success, came to us with a concern many future students have: is Employment Immersion the right fit? Jessica tells us, “I was the only visually impaired person in my company for over twenty years. I was not connected to the blind community. Though I identified as someone with a visual impairment, it wasn’t a big part of my life, so I wasn’t sure Employment Immersion was right for me.”

Many of our Employment Immersion students are at first reluctant because they don’t yet have many connections to the blindness community. Jessica notes, “Kate reminded me, this is a program for jobseekers who are blind or visually impaired. I fit that bill. She then urged me to give at least one class a try. I agreed, and found myself in Employment Immersion the very next day.”

Jessica regained the job seeking skills that had rusted over twenty-two years of working at the same job. She says, “I hadn’t looked for a job in nearly a quarter of a century. I didn’t know how to look for a job online, what a current resume should look like, and how to build a network in the digital age. Employment Immersion taught me those skills.”

She continues, “But, those skills—I call them ‘on paper’ job seeking skills—aren’t the most important lessons I learned. The best part of Employment Immersion is the network of blind mentors, friends and jobseekers that I gained. Before Employment Immersion, I really didn’t know many blind or visually impaired people. Within one class, I realized that Employment Immersion would give me something I didn’t know I needed: camaraderie. Not only did I gain a network of jobseekers, I also gained a community of blind and visually impaired people who understand my visual impairment. For me, this was huge. Suddenly, I had people I could turn to who could share personal experiences about blindness.”

In the end, it was the combination of job seeking skills and network building that landed Jessica her job. “Kate kept telling us, ‘people hire people.’ She urged us to reach out to our contacts and let them know, ‘hey, I’m looking for a job.’” While Jessica was building her network, a former coworker contacted her. “He told me about a new position in my former company that had just moved to Salt Lake City. It turns out a subsidiary of the company was still located in the Bay Area. With his encouragement, I applied for the Business Process/System Analyst position at OOCL Logistics, and am happy to report that I got the job!” Jessica helps customers with technical concerns. “I love my job and the awesome team I work with every day.”

For jobseekers Jessica urges, “Go out, make connections and get along with people.”

If you’re hesitant to start Employment Immersion, Jessica encourages you to give LightHouse a call. “I wasn’t sure about the program until I spoke with Kate. I am extremely happy that I took the Employment Immersion class, and I’m sure you will be too.”

The LightHouse Employment Immersion program is for people who are blind or have low vision, from any background, seeking any job. To learn more, contact Employment Immersion Coordinator Wanda Pearson at WPearson@lighthouse-sf.org or call 415-694-7359.

LightHouse YES (Youth Employment Series) – Final Session on May 21: Interviews and Disclosure

Our final YES workshop will be held on May 21 in our new headquarters. Students that attend this YES workshop will discuss and gain valuable insight and practice in how to conduct an interview, make a good first impression and network with others. During the afternoon, students will participate in an in-depth discussion and interactive activities that will help them be more comfortable and confident in disclosing information about their disability.

Who: Youth and transition-aged students (recommended age range: 14 to 24 years old) who are blind or who have low vision.
When: Saturday, May 21, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: Our new headquarters at 1155 Market Street, 10th Floor, San Francisco
Cost: The cost to attend one of the LightHouse Youth Employment Series workshops is $150 per student, which may be covered by Department of Rehabilitation. In addition to the day’s activities and curriculum, students will receive a light breakfast, lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

Please note that the session will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. We must ask that all parents and guardians leave no later than 15 minutes after dropping off their child participant.

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

 

What is LightHouse YES: Youth Employment Series?
LightHouse YES: Youth Employment Series is an informative 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.

In January, 2016 we began this series of day long workshops designed to help youth and transition-aged students (recommended age: 14 to 24 years old) who are blind or have low vision to be prepared to become successfully employed. Through a variety of speakers and collaborative activities led by successful blind professionals, students will gain invaluable wisdom that can help them grow and shape themselves into competent blind adults.

These workshops will teach students to:

  • Effectively navigate through any system to ensure you receive necessary accommodations.
  • 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.
  • How to transition smoothly 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.

 

Mind’s Eye Therapy Group Starts New Sessions in January

Rachel LonganLightHouse for the Blind’s Counseling and Psychological Services program is starting a fresh Mind’s Eye therapy group in January. This group is intended for individuals who are moving forward in their lives with recent changes in their vision. Group facilitator Rachel Longan has thoughtfully designed Mind’s Eye for adults who are navigating this very personal journey.

Where: LightHouse of the East Bay, at Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley
When: Twelve Mondays beginning January 11, 2016, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

For specific dates, please contact Rachel Longan at rlongan@lighthouse-sf.org.

Sudden or actively progressive vision changes can affect many aspects of a person’s life. Students participating in this group are able to process their experiences in a safe and understanding setting. Ms. Longan incorporates a variety of techniques and experiential exercises into each session. Some of the topics the group will cover include new challenges in relationships, social participation and emotional factors commonly associated with adjusting to vision changes.

The Mind’s Eye group will be a 12-week series on Monday evenings at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley starting January 11, 2016. There is a nominal fee for participating in this group. People who are interested in the group are urged to contact Rachel Longan at 415 694-7302 or email her at rlongan@lighthouse-sf.org

About the therapist
Rachel Longan has over ten years of experience conducting support groups in a variety of settings. Rachel has low vision and has designed and facilitated the Mind’s Eye group specifically for individuals experiencing recent changes in vision. Ms. Longan has guest lectured at the International Conference on Costello Syndrome and at UC Berkeley. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, conducts a parent group for the City of Berkeley and has a private psychotherapy practice, also in Berkeley.

Buy Tickets Now for Superfest: International Disability Film Festival

Man in fur coat stares intently at the camera. Scene from the film To Be or Not To Be - made and acted by people with disabilities.Join us for the 29th year of the Superfest International Disability Film Festival. Our two-day festival features films that celebrate disability as a generative and creative force in cinema and culture.

2015’s selections showcase innovation, artistry, stunning images and poetic, unique perspectives; they will wow us and take us places we’ve never been. Whether you’re part of the disability community or just love the movies — Superfest is not to be missed.

Each event will include a film screening followed by awards and a filmmaker Q&A.

For more information about the festival, including film descriptions and schedule, visit www.superfestfilm.com.

Saturday Night at The Magnes Collection, Berkeley Saturday, November 14 Reception begins at 5:00 p.m.
Program 6:00 to 9:30 p.m.
Tickets: $12
Address: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life
2121 Allston Way, Berkeley

Buy Tickets for Saturday

Sunday at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco Sunday, November 15
Morning screening, 10:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Afternoon screening, 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Half day: $12 / Full day tickets: $24
The Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street, San Francisco

Buy Tickets for Sunday

Presented by:
LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired
The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State

Thank you to our generous sponsors
Woman of Her Word, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Guide Dogs for the Blind, State Street, The George Lucas Foundation, Golden Gate Regional Foundation, Telecare Corporation

And: Bi-Rite Market • Sierra Nevada Brewing Company • Trader Joe’s: Rockridgelogos

Buy Superfest Early Bird Tickets Through October 15

Scene from The Gift (of Impermanence): Axis Dance Company short featuring dancers with and without disabilities. Two dancers on hands and knees.  Dancer in forefront extends her leg to rest on other dancer’s back. Her expression is expectant. Join us for the 29th year of the Superfest International Disability Film Festival. Our two-day festival features films that celebrate disability as a generative and creative force in cinema and culture.

Early bird tickets for Saturday night available through October 15th (see below).

2015’s selections showcase innovation, artistry, stunning images, and poetic, unique perspectives; they will wow us and take us places we’ve never been. Whether you’re part of the disability community or just love the movies — Superfest is not to be missed.

Each event will include a film screening followed by awards and a filmmaker Q&A.

For more information about the festival, including film descriptions and schedule, visit www.superfestfilm.com.

Saturday Night at The Magnes Collection, Berkeley
Saturday, November 14
Reception begins at 5:00 p.m.
Program 6:00 to 9:30 p.m.
Tickets through October 15th: $8.00
After October 15th: $12.00
Address: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life
2121 Allston Way, Berkeley

Buy Tickets for Saturday

Sunday at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco
Sunday, November 15
Morning screening, 10:30 to 1:15
Afternoon screening, 2:00 to 5:00
Half day: $12 / Full day tickets: $24
The Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street, San Francisco

Buy Tickets for Sunday

Presented by:
The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State
LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Thank you to our generous sponsors.
Woman of Her Word, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Guide Dogs for the Blind, State Street, The George Lucas Foundation, Golden Gate Regional Foundation, Telecare Corporation

And: Bi-Rite Market • Sierra Nevada Brewing Company • Trader Joe’s: Rockridge

logos

Olivia Margetic Finds Her People

Olivia MargeticOlivia Margetic has never understood low expectations. Olivia, who has been visually impaired since birth, was raised with the confidence that she could do anything and everything just as well as her sighted brother. This meant attending public school in Marin, going to college, and rejecting the idea that she had to operate at a slower pace because of her vision.

That’s why, when she enrolled in the LightHouse’s Employment Immersion program, she felt like she had found her people. She positively related to her fellow classmates’ ambitions, even though some were much older or had been in the workforce for much longer. “I really liked the people a lot,” she said, “Everyone was so articulate and we all got along really well. Our conversations were always good, never full of silence or awkwardness — everyone was engaged.”

The LightHouse Employment Immersion program has a reputation for fostering this kind of engagement and that’s what compelled Community Action Marin’s Mental Health Program, who sought to hire Olivia as a counsellor, to recommend the LightHouse program. With the guidance of Sylvia Oberti, Olivia’s DOR counsellor, they identified that Olivia, relatively new to the workforce, might benefit from Employment Immersion’s wide-ranging curriculum, to bolster not only her initial hiring but her continuous employment.

Olivia told us, “We learned about resume writing and job searching and networking. I didn’t realize all the different ways there are to look for jobs — from online job boards to word of mouth and more — things I hadn’t thought about before. Finding work is a lot more complicated than I expected. It almost seems like [Employment Immersion] is a course anybody should take, not just blind people.”

Focusing on peer crisis counseling and planning, Olivia works in what she calls the “intense” mental health treatment environment of Community Action Marin. The LightHouse Employment Immersion program has helped prepare her for a variety of workplace dynamics and situations. “It has given me a better idea of how different work environments function.”

Are you new to the working world and not sure how to get started? Or do you just want to kick your career up a notch? The next Employment Immersion session will run every Tuesday and Thursday from Tuesday, October 27 through Thursday, November 19 at the LightHouse office at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. For more information, please contact Kate Williams at kwilliams@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7324.

James Kirwin Starts Job at the Veterans Administration

James KirwinBy age 28, James Kirwin was holding down multiple jobs and going to school, studying hydrogeochemistry, the study of groundwater systems. But when he became blind “pretty much overnight,” all his skills no longer seemed relevant. “When I lost my eyesight, seven months later I lost my job, because I just couldn’t do it anymore.” It didn’t take James long to learn, though, that he’d need to seek out a new kind of education before he’d be back on the path toward employment. That’s around the time James’ Department of Rehabilitation Counsellor John Grote told him about the LightHouse Employment Immersion program.

“It kind of reminded me of college, to be quite honest with you,” James said recently of the program, which he enrolled in during October of 2013. With the help of Justine Harris-Richburgh, our current Volunteer Program Coordinator who led the class that session, James learned that finding a new purpose as a blind person was not solely about having the qualifications, but also convincing potential employers of that fact. “We learned different tactics in dealing with people, in order to make it so that the word ‘blind’ is not the first thing that comes to their heads in interviews; different ways to explain to people that we can do the job just as well as they can, we just might have to do it in a different way.”

This month, James started his new job at AbilityOne, working in procurement for the VA Hospital. He was alerted to the job opening by Kate Williams, Employment Immersion Program Leader; staying in touch with Williams after the program ends is something she encourages with each class. Eventually he may want to go back to school, too, but says that he’d rather get a teaching credential than go back to studying ground water systems. For now, he’s glad that all his hard work and skill-building has landed him a steady job, and he stays connected with almost all the students from his Employment Immersion class. “Most of the students in the class have gotten the job that they pretty much wanted, or they’ve taken the first step toward that.”

Harris-Richburgh attributes much of James’ success to his tenacity and consistently good attitude. For starters, he had no problem taking on interviews. “He was willing to go anywhere and consider any kind of job lead,” she says, “even if he wasn’t initially excited about it, he saw it as practice.” Staying in touch with the program leaders at LightHouse was also a big part of James’ success. “Any time there was an announcement or a job opening I would always throw James’ name in there,” Harris-Richburgh points out, “because I remembered his personality, that he was dedicated and really wanted to work.”

Ultimately, James learned that the key to finding employment was, in his words, “trying to take the stigma of blindness out of peoples’ eyes — make them realize that I can do what they can do, I just might have to do it in a different way.” In class, he learned this through interviews with professionals such as an HR director from Google, who conducted mock interviews with the EI students, after which providing them with a breakdown of where they were strong and where they needed improvement.

James has learned that employment, unlike blindness, won’t always come overnight, which is why his best recommendation is to not be afraid to take small steps in reaching your goals. One of those, for him, was signing up for Employment Immersion. “It’s a lot of hard work, but ultimately, it’s greatly rewarding.”

Are you new to the working world and not sure how to get started? Or do you just want to kick your career up a notch? The next Employment Immersion session will run every Tuesday and Thursday from September 1 through October 1, 2015 at the LightHouse office at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. For more information, please contact Kate Williams at kwilliams@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7324.

LightHouse Connect – Just in Time for School: Information, Resources and Rights for Parents and Students K-High School

Come hear a panel of experts talk about IEPs, literacy, transition to college and more.

Getting the most out of an education is critical for all students, including those who are blind or visually impaired. We welcome parents, students and teachers to an in-person education survival guide.

A panel of educators, blind students and parents who have firsthand experience will cover IEPs, literacy, transition to college and much more. The panel presentation will be followed by a connection period, allowing attendees to speak directly with panelists and get to know others in the room.

When: Saturday, August 29, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Where: LightHouse San Francisco Headquarters
A complimentary lunch will be served at noon and our Adaptations store will be open to workshop attendees with a generous offer of 10% discount on back-to-school supplies.

Please RSVP to Kathy Abrahamson by Monday, August 24 at 415-694-7336 or kabrahamson@lighthouse-sf.org.