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Blind

LightHouse Little Learners Turns One!

LightHouse Little Learners Turns One!

Last fall, LightHouse proudly introduced our newest department to our community, LightHouse Little Learners! It took a whole year of blood, sweat and tears to establish this wonderful team and fulfil a long-held organizational goal to offer services to the littlest members of the blind and low vision population and their families.
 
From onboarding our first Little Learner and their family, to exploring Enchanted Hills Camp at our first Little Learners Family Camp session this summer, it has been a busy twelve months! Today, Little Learners is currently serving 87 children throughout the Bay Area and Central Valley, with our youngest Little Learner being a newborn baby of just two days old! Since the start of our program last autumn, we have served a total of 147 babies and toddlers – and counting!
 
“It’s hard to believe that the Little Learners program has reached its one-year anniversary!” says Pam Chapin, LightHouse Little Learners Program Director. “Over the year, families have participated in specialized services with our highly experienced Early Childhood Blind and Low Vision Specialists in their homes and communities, have created wonderful memories and friendships at Enchanted Hills Camp, and have learned together through Playgroups and family gatherings at local venues.
 
“Little Learners has provided trainings and created partnerships with local Regional Centers, Education Agencies, Infant Programs, and medical providers to help identify children who are blind, have low vision, and cerebral visual impairment, and to help families access appropriate early learning services. 
 
“We look back with pride at all that this team has accomplished and with gratitude for the support and collaboration provided by every department at LightHouse.  We are honored to be part of each family’s journey and excited to grow into the future!”
 
Other members of the LightHouse Little Learners team shared their thoughts and reflections over the year:
 
“My favorite memory so far has been the garden party the East Bay team hosted on the patio at Ed Roberts campus.  It was so wonderful to have our Little Learners and their families come and have fun on the beautiful campus!” – Elizabeth Basillo, Regional Coordinator
 
“The most memorable thing for me has been the warm reception we got from the entire staff of the LightHouse. It was very touching and made me feel that we were considered an important part of the agency.” –  Jeri Hart, Blind and Low Vision Specialist
 
“I am a strong believer in that ‘Actions Speaks Louder Than Words!’ The most impressive thing that stands out to me about LightHouse is the amount of staff it has who are blind and/or have a visual impairment throughout the organization! This warms my heart as a parent of an individual with significant special needs! This fact speaks tons about the organization and its mission!!” – Araceli AVina, Blind and Low Vision Specialists
 
We couldn’t be more proud to celebrate our first year of LightHouse Little Learners and look forward to many more. For questions, inquiries, or to find out more information about the Little Learners program, contact littlelearners@lighthouse-sf.org. You may also reach the Little Learners team by phone at 415-694-7657, by video phone at 415-255-5906, or visit the LightHouse website.

LightHouse Welcomes New Chief Executive Officer, Sharon Giovinazzo!

LightHouse Welcomes New Chief Executive Officer, Sharon Giovinazzo!

Sharon Giovinazzo

We are excited to announce that Sharon Giovinazzo has been named as our new  Chief Executive Officer and will be joining us in this role on October 25.

Sharon Giovinazzo brings more than two decades of experience leading organizations dedicated to advocating for and serving the needs of the blind and visually impaired. She will join LightHouse after serving as President and CEO of the World Services for the Blind.

“I am honored to join the leadership team at LightHouse as its new CEO,” said Sharon Giovinazzo. “This organization has a long and successful track record of driving and achieving independence, equality and self-reliance for the community. This commitment to a focused driven mission, impact and success mirrors my own values, and I look forward to working with a dynamic team to advance the organization’s priorities and expand its reach.”

In her new role as CEO of LightHouse, Giovinazzo will be responsible for leading the organization’s dedicated team of blindness advocates, educators, and professionals while growing the value of the organization to its members, donors, sponsors, partners, and other stakeholders. She will drive efforts to promote the independence and equality of the community, while strengthening the organization and its programs.

“We’re pleased that Sharon will join us as CEO of LightHouse,” said Dr Sharon Sacks, LightHouse Board Chair. “Her strategic drive and her long, distinguished career advocating for and guiding the community make her the perfect choice to lead the LightHouse into the next phase of its development. We’re thrilled to welcome her aboard.”

Giovinazzo brings extensive experience in organizational management, strategic planning, community impact, public policy and advocacy. Prior to her role as President and CEO of the World Services for the Blind, she served for nearly a decade in various roles for the Raleigh Lions Clinic for the Blind (RLCB) where she assisted in the development and implementation of the agency’s $34 million budget, including determining staffing and operational needs and expenditures.

Prior to that, during her tenure with National Industries for the Blind (NIB), Giovinazzo is credited with providing the leadership for cultivating and understanding the AbilityOne programs with Congress, Federal Executive Branch Agencies, consumer and commercial organizations concerned with disability policy. Throughout her career, Sharon has been an advocate for public policy in legislative affairs and regulations. Prior to the NIB, she held positions with the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) in Utica, NY; was appointed Chair to the State Rehabilitation Council in 2006 and supervised the operations of a DEPMEDS training facility with the US Army.

Sharon Giovinazzo holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Services Management from SUNY Empire State College and a dual master’s as an MSW and an MBA. Additionally, she holds a Certificate of Management in Business Administration from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

We look forward to welcoming Sharon Giovinazzo to LightHouse  next month!

2021 Holman Prizewinner Robert Malunda’s “Gateway to Elation”

2021 Holman Prizewinner Robert Malunda’s “Gateway to Elation”

(Listen to the complete interview above.)

Last July, fifteen blind and low vision judges from all over the world met to choose which three of the fourteen 2021 Holman Prize finalists would become the next Holman Prizewinners. After hours of passionate discussions and debate held over an entire weekend via Zoom, LightHouse CEO Bryan Bashin and the LightHouse Communications team that help facilitate the annual Holman Prize Award were tasked with the honorable job of breaking the great congratulatory news to the newly named 2021 Holman Prizewinners. Meanwhile, in a home a world away in Zimbabwe, Africa, Holman finalist Robert Malunda was hard at work turning his dreams of making trainings, resources, and education for the blind and low vision individuals of Zimbabwe a reality.

“Congratulations, Robert! You are one of the winners of the 2021 Holman Prize!” Bryan Bashin excitedly exclaimed.

Though his demeanor was calm, you couldn’t help but hear the ear-to-ear smile in the prizewinner’s voice as he graciously accepted the award and expressed the kindest and most sincere gratitude. “Thank you, so much,” said Robert Malunda. “I am truly grateful. I will not let James Holman or the Holman Prize down,” he stated, as the audible happiness and pride in his voice brought joyful tears to the eyes of the LightHouse staff as they continued to congratulate him.

Robert Malunda was born on August 15, 1988, in Bulawayo in the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe. As an infant, Robert developed glaucoma. Due to limited availability of specialists and treatments, Robert lost his sight completely around three years old. Growing up blind in Zimbabwe can be incredibly difficult, as resources for blind and low vision children are very limited, but Robert’s family was determined to send their son to school.

“It was a very important decision, taking me to school,” Robert explains. “Most blind people in Zimbabwe do not go to school. So, I was taken to school at a relatively young age—around six years old. I was taught the same skills as a sighted person, but it was mostly academic in the mainstream school.”

While attending primary school as a child, Robert received fairly regular Braille instruction by a visiting teacher and was taught the same curriculum as sighted children, however, he did not receive any regular blindness skills education, such as orientation and mobility or assistive technology training. And although Robert was very successful in the classroom with his knowledge of Braille and applying his impeccable auditory-learning skills, having a lack of further blindness education left him with a disadvantage. It was when Robert attended Midlands State University of Zimbabwe that he found himself in the proverbial “pickle.”

“Before, I used to depend on the sight of my friends for studying. There were no books or accessible resources for the blind, so we had to ask friends to read for us. So, that is when I asked myself how I can do what I need to do for university by myself. I heard a lot of things about computers. I knew there are really a lot of great things about computers and what they can do for other people, so I was inquisitive on how this can be of help to the blind. I started to teach myself to use Microsoft Word and other word processing programs. I wanted to learn more and teach other blind people how to use these computers, too.”

At university, Robert began exploring what little he could on the computers made available to the students at the school. He shared his ambition with a friend in the United Kingdom. They then sent Robert a computer of his own. He began working with screen reading software programs like JAWS, and through much trial and error he was able to successfully navigate his way through university, sharing and teaching the tech skills he’d learned with his friends and peers along the way.

Learning how to be independent with the help of computers is what gave Robert the idea for his organization and Holman Prize project, Gateway to Elation. The purpose of this organization is to provide computer, orientation & mobility, and social skills training to blind Zimbabweans in rural areas across the country. Many blind people do not have any formal education like Robert was able to receive, therefore the employment and independence rate of the blind in Zimbabwe is very, very low. Robert Malunda will personally travel to these areas of the country where there are no government provided services or funding of any kind for blind people.

“My vision has been to reach as many people as possible,” Robert explains. “My Holman year will be spent mostly traveling around the country meeting new people and new blind people, those in the rural areas and even those in the cities, because life for a blind person is almost the same for those in the city as in the rural areas, because we face the same challenges. We can’t access information; we can’t access what other people do access easily…. Blind people in Zimbabwe often experience isolation. I envision a Zimbabwe where blind people are knowledgeable, independent and socially interactive.”

Technology training may have been the driving force for Gateway to Elation in the beginning, but Robert recognizes the isolation experienced by so many blind and low vision people in Zimbabwe reaches far beyond the lack of access to assistive technology. For example, there is a huge stigma about using a white cane. This is a problem seen everywhere in the world, but particularly in Zimbabwe, Robert explained.

“In primary school, I had heard that there is something called Mobility and Orientation, but it was not something I was taught. I did not even own a cane, which I think was a disadvantage for me. I received my first cane at 16, I did not use it. I think it was understood if you weren’t using the cane when you were young, then naturally it would mean that you won’t use it when you grow up. But for me, I realized that stigmatization needs to change. When I was at university it was difficult especially trying to navigate a big campus. Using a cane is very important for being independent if you want to go out on your own or do your own shopping. Being at university isn’t like a being at school as a child when these things are done for you.”

Robert wants to break the barriers and stigma of blind people and their use of a white cane for independent travel. Implementing orientation and mobility practices at an early age will help change the misconceptions of cane users and empower young blind and low vision children to take pride in using their canes and grow to become independent people. Robert also believes that by introducing social skills exercises while providing trainings for groups of blind and low vision people will create opportunity for socialization and community for those who ordinarily would not have these experiences. The isolation of people with varying disabilities in Zimbabwe from the general public makes it increasingly harder for these people to seek the resources and education needed to adapt to their environment.

Robert’s dream of building Gateway to Elation has been growing since 2016 and in 2018 he began researching funding opportunities.

“When I was searching for grants for Gateway to Elation was when I came across the LightHouse for the Blind and the Holman Prize. I made a pitch video that year, and then I did another pitch in 2019, I still have those pitches with me, but I did not actually apply. It was finally in 2021 when I decided to apply.”

Robert’s passion for his work can be heard in every word he speaks, and his expectations of changing the lives of blind and low vision people in Zimbabwe for the better do not end after the completion of his Holman Prize year.

“I also want to start a podcast. Even after my Holman Prize year ends, the podcast and YouTube channels will continue to document the lives of other blind people. The more people I reach the more blind people will be empowered and the more blind people can become more employable. The end goal is for them to be employed or able to use these skills for the betterment of their lives, either in school or professionally.”

Since winning the Holman Prize, Robert and Gateway to Elation have received wonderful responses. “It is a very prestigious award, the Holman Prize for Blind Ambition,” Robert explains. “The value and all the popularity of Gateway to Elation among the people of Zimbabwe, it is really amazing.”

For more about Robert Malunda and his journey teaching the blind across Zimbabwe, you can follow his organization Gateway to Elation on Facebook and on the Gateway to Elation website. Stay tuned for more updates on his progress and accomplishments as the Holman Prizewinner’s year continues.

The 2022 Holman Prize  applications are now open! Do you have your own Holman objective? Turn your idea into a tangible passion project and think about how you can present what Blind Ambition means to you in a 90-second pitch video and submit your application between now and March 20. For more information visit the Holman Prize website. Have fun dreaming up your Holman Prize Ambition, and who knows? You might just be one of this year’s three amazing winners!

Giving Tuesday is Here! Help Make Enchanted Hills Camp More Accessible and Sustainable.

Giving Tuesday is Here! Help Make Enchanted Hills Camp More Accessible and Sustainable.

Please join LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Enchanted Hills Camp on Tuesday, November 30 for Giving Tuesday, and help us meet our accessibility and sustainability goals!

This year the funds we raise on Giving Tuesday will go towards the purchase of two wheelchair accessible electric vehicle shuttles for Enchanted Hills Camp as a part of our larger vision to make EHC fully accessible and carbon neutral by 2030. The shuttles will be charged on site by our own solar array.

Donations will also go towards camperships to send 40 kids who are blind or have low vision to Enchanted Hills Camp next year.

Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that kicks off the charitable season and end-of-year giving, and harnesses the generosity of people from around the world to bring about real change to the communities they know and love.

This is a philanthropic movement that connects diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving. LightHouse joined the Giving Tuesday movement in 2016 and continues to receive many very generous gifts from our diverse group of donors, volunteers, staff, board members and friends.

Please take part in this year’s Giving Tuesday on (or before) November 30 and consider a gift to Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind. We sincerely thank Waymo for jump starting our 2021 Giving Tuesday with a very generous donation of $10,000.

Donate here to support LightHouse and Enchanted Hills Camp.

Giving Tuesday is Coming! Tuesday After Thanksgiving You Can Make EHC More Inclusive

Giving Tuesday is Coming! Tuesday After Thanksgiving You Can Make EHC More Inclusive

Please join LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Enchanted Hills Camp on Tuesday, November 30 for Giving Tuesday, and help us meet our accessibility and sustainability goals!

This year the funds we raise on Giving Tuesday will go towards the purchase of two wheelchair accessible electric vehicle shuttles for Enchanted Hills Camp as a part of our larger vision to make EHC fully accessible and carbon neutral by 2030. The shuttles will be charged on site by our own solar array.

Donations will also go towards camperships to send 40 kids who are blind or have low vision to Enchanted Hills Camp next year.

Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that kicks off the charitable season and end-of-year giving, and harnesses the generosity of people from around the world to bring about real change to the communities they know and love.

This is a philanthropic movement that connects diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving. LightHouse joined the Giving Tuesday movement in 2016 and continues to receive many very generous gifts from our diverse group of donors, volunteers, staff, board members and friends.

Please take part in this year’s Giving Tuesday on (or before) November 30 and consider a gift to Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind. We sincerely thank Waymo for jump starting our 2021 Giving Tuesday with a very generous donation of $10,000.

Donate here to support LightHouse and Enchanted Hills Camp.

LightHouse Public Board Meeting: Thursday November 4, 5:30pm – 8:30pm Via Zoom

LightHouse Public Board Meeting: Thursday November 4, 5:30pm – 8:30pm Via Zoom

Members of the public are invited to attend this meeting of the Board of Directors of San Francisco’s LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, during which thirty minutes will be reserved for public comment. In an effort to provide a fair and equitable speaking opportunity for all members of the public, up to three minutes will be provided for each person’s questions or comments. At this meeting, the Board welcomes Board nominations, questions, and comments from the public on the operations and services of the LightHouse. As time is limited, members of the public are asked to sign up to speak no later than 5:00 PM the day before the meeting by email.

Contact information for the LightHouse is provided at the end of this notice.

Members of the public who would like to speak are encouraged to sign up early, as the 30-minute public comment session can accommodate no more than 10 speakers.

Board Member Nominations

Members of the public can bring potential Board candidates to the attention of the Board’s Nominations committee at this meeting (by email: include no more than 500 words describing why the potential Board candidate should be considered).  The Board will review and evaluate each potential Board candidate in addition to those made by the LightHouse staff and other members of the Board, using the Board nomination and selection guidelines at https://lighthouse-sf.org/about/board-of-directors-nomination-guidelines/.

Board of Directors Meeting Agenda

A typical LightHouse Board meeting usually includes Executive and staff reports, Board Committee reports, and an Executive Session (which is closed to the public).  A meeting agenda can be obtained upon request by email three business days prior to the meeting.

Contact Information

To request agendas, sign up for public comment or to write about prospective Board nominees please contact us at the below address:

Board-request@lighthouse-sf.org

Administrative Office Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Blind Chemist Hoby Wedler Leads first “Cooking with Community Class” for Youth

Blind Chemist Hoby Wedler Leads first “Cooking with Community Class” for Youth

Calling all cooks and aspiring cooks in middle and high school who are blind or have low vision: LightHouse Youth Programs is pleased to announce a new class: Cooking Creates Community. This happens the second Saturday of the month from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. This monthly virtual cooking lesson and conversation will be led by LightHouse staff and a rotating guest mentor who is blind or has low vision and who has a passion for cooking, baking or anything food-related.

This class is a chance for blind and low vision students to connect with their peers and learn some basic independent cooking skills at home from cool mentors who will answer student questions and share advice.

Those who sign up for the program will be emailed the list of equipment and supplies needed, along with the recipe and the Zoom link they’ll use for that month’s event. As a bonus, for students who sign up by the fourth of each month, LightHouse’s Youth team will mail the ingredients for that month’s recipe directly to them, on the house.

For the October 9 class, blind chemist Dr. Hoby Wedler, who has worked with LightHouse Youth in the past, will share his secrets to the best mashed potatoes. By walking students through his simple recipe and a conversation about how he chooses his seasonings, students will learn to make a dish that can be added to most meals. Sign up by October fourth to get ingredients as well as Hoby’s new line of seasoning, Happy Paprika, that they can try with this dish.

The first class will be Saturday, October 9 from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm.

The classes to round out the year are Saturday, November 13 and Saturday, December 11.

RSVP to Jamey Gump at JGump@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7372.

Celebrate Disability Culture at Palo Alto Art Center In-Person or Virtually

Celebrate Disability Culture at Palo Alto Art Center In-Person or Virtually

You’re invited to The Art of Disability Culture: Artists with Disabilities Dispelling Myths, Dissolving Barriers, and Disrupting Prejudice, running September 11 through December 11 at the Palo Alto Art Center in Palo Alto California. This exhibit celebrates the “diverse, personal, and infinitely varied disability experience.”

There are several blind people among the 20 artists whose work is featured in the exhibit: From tactile paintings created during the height of the pandemic by Catherine Lecce-Chong, to an audio comic by Chad Allen, to ceramics by Don Katz, to a site-specific environmental installation by Jennifer Justice, to a healing labyrinth installation by Maia Scott, to a large-scale sculpture made from discarded materials by Matthaus Lam.

The exhibition will feature audio description which will be available for all works of art onsite and on the website. There will also be Braille  labels. Public programs will include American Sign Language interpretation and live captioning and social narratives will be available online for visitors with autism. The art center is also wheelchair accessible.

There are two free public programs both with in-person and virtual options. The programs will include American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and live captioning. The Palo Alto Art Center facility is fully wheelchair accessible.

Friday Night at the Art Center Opening reception
September 17 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Join us onsite or virtually for this unique hybrid and accessible celebration of The Art of Disability Culture. This event will feature in-person and virtual exhibition walkthroughs, a chance to hear from exhibiting artists, hands-on art activities, a spoken word performance by award-winning author Joy Elan, and a specialty cocktail (Reasonable Accommodation) and bar provided by the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation.

Event will be hosted onsite and online. Register for the September 17 Art of Disability Culture event.

Community Day Celebration
Sunday, October 10, 2021, noon to 4:00 pm  

Learn more about The Art of Disability Culture exhibition in this unique hybrid community day celebration. Participate in exhibition walkthroughs with the curator; enjoy hands-on art activities; an introduction by Northern California’s only stuttering female comedian Nina G; gallery activities; Canine Companions, a performance by Bay Area native, African, Indigenous, Deaf, Disabled, Producer, Choreographer, Actor, and Dancer Antoine Hunter; and Mozzeria, the Deaf-owned Neapolitan pizza truck.

Event will be hosted onsite and online; online registration links: Register for the October 0 Art of Disability Culture event.

Welcome back, EHC!

Welcome back, EHC!

As visitors wind their way up Mt. Veeder Road, past the lush redwoods, sparkling lake, and rolling green hills of Napa, the once quiet grounds of Enchanted Hills Camp are again filled with the delightful sounds of happy campers. The crunching of leaves and twigs under excited footsteps, clicking of canes, splashes of water, nays and baas of EHC’s four-legged residents and the jolly echoed shouts and laughter from campers fill the air—it is, once again, summertime at Enchanted Hills Camp!

On July 5, Enchanted Hills Camp reopened its grounds to 45 eager teen campers. After being closed for over a year, EHC has been thrilled to reopen this summer, abiding by CDC state and federal COVID-19 safety protocols. Although the limited campers, mask wearing, social distance, and required vaccinations of both campers and staff has certainly changed the look of camp this summer, the fun and festivities haven’t changed in the slightest!

“Campers are filling their days horseback riding, kayaking, playing disc golf, participating in Teen Talk rap sessions and talent shows. The kids are dancing, hiking, taking overnight camping trips into the woods, solar cooking, and fishing. They can care for our EHC animal friends (milking goats and collecting eggs from chickens) and do some wood polishing and wood working. They are putting on drama productions, training in martial arts and archery, playing goalball and bowling, and making ice cream and arts and crafts, just to name a few activities.” Enchanted Hills Camp Director, Tony Fletcher, tells LightHouse Lately.

New campers, 17-year-old twin sisters, Madison and Paige from Arroyo Grande, California, share their first impressions and experience at teen camp.

“We heard about Enchanted Hills Camp through our DOR [Department of Rehabilitation] counselor, so we were interested. We loved it once we got here! It is so much fun! There is so much to do, you never feel bored or like you are just sitting around waiting for something fun. Right now, we are working on a play, and we’ve done a lot of arts and crafts. We also tie-dyed bandanas. We are definitely coming back next summer!”

Both girls have nystagmus and ocular albinism and have low vision.

“With nystagmus it is hard to focus my eyes on things, like when I am reading my eyes jump across the page. The ocular albinism makes my eyes very sensitive to the sunlight,” Madison explains.

Aside from each other, neither Paige nor Madison knew any other peers with visual impairments prior to going to camp. Learning more about low vision and the blind community has become an interest and priority for these young women.

“We have never been around anyone with vision like ours or people with less vision. We want to be more involved in the blind and visually impaired community,” Paige says. “We have made a lot of new friends at camp. It is so relieving to be around people like us.”

Madison and Paige reflected on their camp experience:

“Overall, I have learned a lot about people who are visually impaired, and not just about people who have what I have. I have learned so much about adaptability and the blind community, and I am very grateful for that,” Paige says.

“I am also so grateful for camp. I have never seen anyone use a cane before, and it is so interesting to me to see how everyone gets around using their canes. I like how specific people are when they describe how to get to places and how they tap the walls as a guide. I’ve also learned how to guide people who can’t see, and I think it is so helpful and interesting,” says Madison.

In their remaining days at Enchanted Hills Camp Paige and Madison are excitedly looking forward to performing the play, making bath bombs, and trying their hand at archery, as well as hanging out with their new friends and strengthening their bond to the blind and low vision community. “We can’t wait to come back next summer!” they told LightHouse Lately.

There are still available spaces for EHC’s STEM camp, running from July 26 through August 1 for campers aged 13- to 20-years-old. Visit Enchanted Hills Camp STEM Camp Applications to get your application in as soon as possible. We also have limited availability left for Music Camp, also running July 26 through August 1. This session is for campers ranging from high school to college ages. Fill out the Enchanted Hills Camp Music Camp Applications here. For more information about Enchanted Hills Camp, visit the EHC website.

San Francisco’s Aquatic Park and Pier Wants Your Input

San Francisco’s Aquatic Park and Pier Wants Your Input

San Francisco’s scenic and historic waterfront is revamping the space and creating a new community-led project entitled the Aquatic Park and Pier Project. The Maritime National Park Association is working towards realizing this area’s full potential and creating a beautiful and safe recreation area for families and visitors of San Francisco for generations to come, but they need the community’s help.

Last week our Media and Accessible Design Laboratory (MAD Lab) director, Greg Kehret, represented the LightHouse at a discussion attended by several people in the disability rights community. The group discussed the renovation of Aquatic Park and Pier in San Francisco. Those in the disability rights community are concerned with getting input from people with disabilities to ensure the park is inclusive and accessible to all park goers. They have shared a link to a survey, Aquatic Park and Pier Vision Study, and are encouraging the community to provide feedback on the details of the project and desired park features and, as well as general concerns.

The results of this survey, along with an upcoming Visioning Session on August 11, at 6:00 pm will be compiled into a report given to the National Park Service for their consideration. The visioning session is open to the public, so all are welcome to attend. For more information about the Aquatic Park and Pier Project, including getting involved, providing feedback, or volunteering you can visit the website link.

And, of course, if you know of a local park, public space or other large venue whose accessible design could benefit from the tactile maps and input provided by Lighthouse’s MAD Lab, feel free to contact them at madlab@lighthouse-sf.org or by visiting our website.