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Blind

Health and Wellness Programs

Health and Wellness Programs

LightHouse offers weekly fitness classes and weekend workshops. Make new friends and have fun while getting fit!

LightHouse’s Health and Wellness Program features:

  • Weekly exercise classes for seniors and those wanting low-impact exercise. Wednesdays at 11 AM.
  • DEEP (Diabetes Empowerment Education Program) a six-week course on Diabetes Management and Healthy Living.
  • Weekend Health and Wellness Retreats at Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind in Napa
  • Regularly scheduled yoga and meditation classes.
  • Try It Workshops to try new forms of exercise such as kickboxing, rock climbing, dance, and more!
  • Farmer’s Market Fridays, a guided trip to the Farmer’s Market followed by an hour-long nutrition lesson.
  • Diabetes Management 6-week series on healthy living.
  • A full gym membership for $10 a month to Fitness SF, with six locations in the Bay Area. Membership includes private group instruction from a certified personal trainer.
To learn more or to join our programs for people who are blind or have low vision, email asherrard@lighthouse-sf.org or call (415) 694-7353.
Employment Immersion Students Make Their Mark at Federal Job Fair

Employment Immersion Students Make Their Mark at Federal Job Fair

On September 4, 26 blind and low vision jobseekers who are part of LightHouse’s Employment Immersion Program, assembled at LightHouse Headquarters and walked as a group to the Federal Building in San Francisco for a job fair.

The jobseekers, dressed in business attire and armed with resumes and cover letters, spoke with representatives from twenty Federal agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, Transportation Security Administration, Department of Labor and more.

LightHouse’s Employment Immersion Program provides individualized training in job seeking skills to adults who are blind or have low vision. This includes resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, disclosing disability and more. With the unemployment rate for blind people in the United States at 70%, the Employment Immersion Program is dedicated to lowering that rate by providing students with the essential tools they need to be competitive in the job market.

Edward Wong, LightHouse Employment Specialist, remarked that other attendees at the job fair took note of the large group of blind people who sought the same employment opportunities as their sighted peers. “People noticed how many blind people were there. We were the white cane brigade.”

Are you a blind or low vision jobseeker? Visit our Employment Immersion webpage, call 415-694-7359 or email eiteam@lighthouse-sf.org to learn more.

Red Szell reflects on how the Holman Prize got him to the top of the rock

Red Szell reflects on how the Holman Prize got him to the top of the rock

Each year, the Holman Prize for Blind Ambition, funded by LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco, provides three blind people up to $25,000 each to carry out an ambitious idea. On June 22, 2019, Holman Prize winner Red Szell successfully completed his extreme blind triathlon, which included a 10-mile off-road tandem bike ride, an open-water swim and a 213-foot climb up Am Buachaille, a vertical rock formation off the coast of Scotland. We interviewed Red shortly after his successful climb to get his reflections on training for his Holman Prize adventure.

Red’s triathlon training began in earnest last October. “I had a pretty high level of fitness from climbing and swimming,” Red, age 49, says, “but I had to ramp it up because I would be outside for twelve hours.” Red began incorporating running on a treadmill into his training regimen but injured his right Achilles tendon in January. With the help of twice-weekly physiotherapy sessions and some modifications to his training techniques, Red was able to continue preparing to climb Am Buachaille. Despite the ordeal, Red’s injury ultimately provided some benefits. “It actually helped my climbing because we worked on ankle stability and stretching,” he explained.

Besides the physical training required to successfully complete his Holman Prize goal, Red also had to navigate logistics, such as planning a practice climbing trip to Sardinia, finding a videographer to film the triathlon, getting the tandem bike from London to Scotland and more. “Being the CEO of my own project is something that I never really expected to do,” he admits. “That is a very difficult challenge but also immensely enjoyable and character-building. I feel a genuine sense of achievement and personal growth that has resulted from being awarded a Holman Prize.”

Red has always loved climbing, spending his teenage years climbing in the Welsh mountains in Wales. When he was 20, he was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a progressive condition that eventually causes blindness. As Red’s vision continued changing, he became depressed and stopped climbing. More than twenty years later, Red, now a father and journalist, had learned blindness skills. His passion for climbing was reignited at a birthday party for his daughter at a climbing gym. He decided it was time to learn to climb as a blind man.

In 2013, Red became the first blind man to climb the Old Man of Hoy, another sea stack in Scotland. Red declares that was “a personal achievement.” Successfully climbing Am Buachaille was different, however, because of the scope of the Holman Prize as a worldwide competition. Red remarks that the Holman Prize demonstrates to everyone “what blind people can achieve with the right support and determination.”

Red sitting on a rocky beach at Sandwood Bay, on the far north-west coast of mainland Scotland, with Am Buachaille towering behind him.
Red sitting on a rocky beach at Sandwood Bay, on the far north-west coast of mainland Scotland, with Am Buachaille towering behind him.

Going forward, Red will include his Holman Prize experience in the presentations he gives about being a blind climber, but more importantly, he will encourage other blind people to apply for the Holman Prize. From applying for the prize, to winning it, to carrying it out, Red views the Holman Prize as “a journey of self-discovery.” Listen to Red talk about his harrowing adventure here. Red’s experience will be documented in a forthcoming audio-described documentary of his “Extreme Triathlon” full of Red’s humor and outrageous Scottish scenery, called Shared Vision.

Do you have Holman Prize aspirations? Holman Prize submissions open in January 2020. For more information about the Holman Prize, visit HolmanPrize.org.

Coming soon – LightHouse East Bay expands services

Coming soon – LightHouse East Bay expands services

LightHouse East Bay, our office at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, is growing, and along with it, our commitment to providing a continuum of programs and services. The LightHouse has welcomed students from the East Bay into our programs for many years, but recognizes that establishment of a consistent presence in the area will ensure we more effectively reach the large and diverse population of Alameda, Contra Costa, and Solano counties.

Blind and visually impaired residents in the East Bay can look forward to a warm and welcoming location just steps above the Ashby BART station. Our attentive staff will be available five days a week to connect you with an abundance of services, including skills training and community events. LightHouse delivers individualized training in Orientation & Mobility, Access Technology, employment readiness, Braille, Independent Living skills, as well as hosting events to bring blind people together with one another and the wider Bay Area community.

This expansion coincides with the exciting news that we’ve been awarded a grant by the Senior Assistance Foundation Eastbay to provide training free of charge to residents of Alameda County over the age of 55. If you know of someone who qualifies, please contact LightHouse concierge Esmeralda Soto, at esoto@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7323.

We’ll have more to share on our progress at LightHouse East Bay throughout the coming months. If you have questions about LightHouse programs, contact Esmeralda Soto at 415-694-7323 or info@lighthouse-sf.org.

Janitorial Associate

POSITION:              Janitorial Associate

REPORTS TO:           Facilities Manager

LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, headquartered in downtown San Francisco, is looking for a full-time Janitorial Associate to fill a valued role in our growing organization.

Role Overview: Janitorial Associate provides custodial operations on floors 9-11 of the LightHouse Building, as well as the common building areas.  In addition, this position provides support to the Facilities and Events departments.  The Janitorial Associate will assist with the configuration and tear-down of rental spaces; maintain student residences; report safety concerns; maintain a clean and orderly general office space; and assist special janitorial projects (such as carpet cleaning and stair maintenance).

The main work site for this position is at the LightHouse Building in San Francisco, but may collaborate on janitorial concerns and the use of satellite space for other locations as needed per Manager’s request.

Qualifications:

Education or equivalent: A high school degree or comparable experience.

Job Responsibilities:

    • To be in compliance with all safety and security policies and procedures.
    • Provide support for all company events relating to janitorial, landscaping, event set up, etc.
    • The ability to provide pest control and extermination for all sites, exterior sweeping, and power washing maintenance to ensure proper upkeep of assets.
    • Maintain drinking water stations.
    • Empty trash and cleaning trash areas
    • Vacuuming
    • Cleaning spills
    • Sweeping and Mopping
    • Clearning windows
    • Cleaning beds and bathrooms

Who We Are:

LightHouse has an audacious mission – to transform the lives of the 40,000 blind people in the greater Bay Area and beyond. We do this through tech design, disability advocacy, consultation, classes and community formation in San Francisco, our four satellite offices and Enchanted Hills Camp in Napa. We are a fun, fascinating, widely diverse, warm and friendly community. We work in downtown San Francisco in a 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art workspace renowned for its universal design, step

from Civic Center BART. LightHouse is working for nothing less than to change the future for blind people and the wider community.

Within a five-minute walk are the world headquarters for Twitter, Uber, Dolby, Zendesk and many other tech giants. Within three blocks are all of the principal building for Northern California’s federal, state and local government. Also in our neighborhood are many theaters, San Francisco Symphony and Opera, the Asian Art Museum and dozens of other key cultural anchors of the entire Bay Area.

The successful candidate will join a unique organization in which blind and sighted professionals work together at every level. Our governing Board of Directors, management and staff are all composed of roughly equal numbers of blind and sighted people, a parity unprecedented in our field.

Founded in 1902, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides skills, resources and community for the advancement of all individuals who are blind or have low vision. Our innovative programs have been featured in 60 Minutes, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and beyond. The blind community comes to LightHouse to learn how to travel independently with a white cane, to rejoin the workforce, use accessible technology, and meet a community of mentors and peers. From unique tactile maps, to an unparalleled camp for blind campers, to a world prize for blind ambition, LightHouse offers programs unavailable elsewhere.

Learn About Us:

LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired
155 Market Street, 10th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
www.lighthouse-sf.org

Employee Benefits:

The LightHouse offers a rich package of benefits, including medical, vision and dental insurance. Employees are eligible for an employer-matched 401(k) plan and subsidized health club membership, among many other perks.

Compensation:

Depending On Experience; industry competitive.

How to Apply:

After reviewing the complete Job Description please submit a cover letter and résumé in Microsoft Word attachments (no PDFs please), and employment application (downloads in a Word document) to hr@lighthouse-sf.org, including the job title in the subject line. To fill out the application, please enable editing in the document.

Reflections from the YES Academy Class of 2019

Reflections from the YES Academy Class of 2019

Each year, LightHouse offers an intensive summer program for youth ages 16-24, which includes time spent away from home. The Youth Employment Series (YES) Academy is a four-week immersive experience held at LightHouse Headquarters in San Francisco to gain first-hand knowledge about building confidence, being a “team player,” identifying strengths and interests, and finding direction through interactive work-based learning experiences designed to develop job-readiness skills.

In June, this year’s group tackled a blindness skills boot camp, met with blind mentors, visited college campuses, attended a blindness convention and completed work experience, which they traveled to independently.

Here are reflections from a few of the students from the YES Academy Class of 2019:

Jenn, who interned at the Exploratorium, a science museum, explained, “I got to oversee prototypes for a biology exhibit. As a Molecular Biology major, this was absolutely perfect! I got so excited reviewing the 3D models of cheek cells and giving my recommendations. The exhibit designer, Denise, was so enthusiastic and I loved engaging in discussion with her. We were really trying to take biological concepts and make them physical, tangible objects for the public to understand and interact with. The new exhibit will be displayed in October and will represent how cells ‘fit’ together to form tissues via a puzzle visitors must put together using the 3D printed models.”

Matt discussed the impact YES Academy mentors had on him. “After breakfast every morning, we had a “mentor spotlight.” These spotlights were my favorite aspect of the Summer Academy. I enjoyed how the mentors explained their stories about going blind, and also being successful. I learned extremely valuable information on individuals who have become blind later in life, which I can apply directly to my own life.”

Nikki talked about the independence he got to experience. “This was my first time doing the YES Academy. This summer, I decided to take the jump and sign up. I was really looking forward to the living skills component. My favorite thing over the last four weeks has been the amount of responsibility and the room to grow that you receive. You’re responsible for going to your work location on your own, without assistance. You’re responsible for buying your own food to make lunches. You’re responsible for reporting to your employers on time, in a professional manner and you’re responsible for completing all the assignments that your employer gives you. I had never traveled on my own before. There was true independence in this program.”

For more information about Youth programs at LightHouse visit the Youth Programs page or email youth@lighthouse-sf.org.

LightHouse Satellite Offices

At LightHouse’s satellite locations, we are often training in the community, so please contact us to schedule an appointment.

Our satellite offices offer most services as our headquarters, and we’re always happy to refer you to the proper service and support. Below you’ll find a listing of services and locations.

Low Vision and Blindness training/support include:

  • Providing local, State and National Resources and Information
  • Counseling and Support Groups
  • Living Skills Assessment and Training  
  • Access Technology Assessment and Training
  • Orientation and Mobility Assessment and Training
  • Maximizing low vision through magnification, lighting and glare reduction strategies
  • Equipment Loan Program

LightHouse East Bay

Ed Roberts Campus
3075 Adeline, Suite 110
Berkeley, CA 94703
TEL: 415-431-1481
FAX: 510-845-8705
VIDEO PHONE: 510-356-0018
TTY: 510-845-8703
EMAIL: info@lighthouse-sf.org

Deaf-Blind Specialist: deaf-blind@lighthouse-sf.org

LightHouse North Coast

Humboldt Senior Resource Center
1910 California Street, Third Floor
Eureka, CA 95501
TEL: 707-268-5646
FAX: 707-268-5647
TTY: 707-268-5655
EMAIL: northcoast@lighthouse-sf.org

LightHouse Marin

851 Irwin Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
TEL: 415-258-8496
FAX: 415-258-8501
EMAIL: marin@lighthouse-sf.org

On our North Coast Resources page, you’ll find a listing of resources for people experiencing changing vision, people who are blind or who have low vision and senior citizens. 

October 15 is White Cane Day, so we’re giving you a 10 percent discount on White Canes

October 15 is White Cane Day, so we’re giving you a 10 percent discount on White Canes

Blind people have used white canes as a tool to navigate throughout the world for hundreds of years. Since 1964, Americans have commemorated this symbol of freedom and independence by recognizing October 15 as White Cane Safety Day. In 2011, White Cane Safety Day was also named Blind Americans Equality Day by President Barack Obama.

During the week beginning October 15, the Adaptations Store will celebrate White Cane Safety by taking 10 percent off of all of the canes we have in stock to commemorate this invaluable tool.

You may think one long, white cane is just like another, but think again. Canes can be as unique as the people who carry them, which is why we offer such a plethora of options for you to choose from. Our canes range from lightweight to heavy, from rigid, solid canes comprised of a single piece of material, to canes that collapse into 5, 6 or 7 sections. We also offer telescoping canes in a myriad of styles with customizable grips and tips for you to make the selection that fits you best. Our cane tips range from the standard pencil to a rolling marshmallow, from steel to ceramic, so you can outfit your cane to suit your preferred amount of feedback and detection.

Our new line-up includes two telescoping canes, one from Ambutech, which adjusts and can be locked at the length you prefer between 31 and 69 inches. Another is a 9-section, light-weight mini telescoping cane available in 6 lengths, ranging from 51 to 61 inches. It collapses into its handle, making the entire cane only about 12 inches when completely collapsed. This cane

is so small it fits in your pocket, and makes a great backup cane so you won’t find yourself stuck without a cane. These small, compact canes are made by Chris Park, the manufacturer of both our rigid, lightweight canes as well as our 7-section folding canes. It is a wonderful solution for those who travel with dog guides, just in case your dog gets sick and you find yourself in a pinch. Take this versatile cane with you when you go out to see a movie or attend an event at a crowded venue.

If your cane is beginning to show its age, we can make it shine with a new coat of reflective tape, a new tip to give it a completely different feel, or perhaps a new denim or leather holster for hands free carrying.

During the week of October 15, to kick off White Cane Safety, we’ll give you 10 percent off of the cane of your choice if you call the Adaptations Store between Monday, October 16 and Friday, October 20. Canes are essential to the health, well-being and safety of blind people and visually impaired people, from beginners to veteran travelers alike. Don’t deprive yourself of this basic right to travel when and where you wish! Picking up a cane for yourself or a friend today.

Call our staff at 1-888-400-8933 to inquire about item pick up and mail orders or email us at adaptations@lighthouse-sf.org.

 

LightHouse Life Hacks: 7 Ways the Bump Dot Can Make Your Life Easier

LightHouse Life Hacks: 7 Ways the Bump Dot Can Make Your Life Easier

Ever wonder how someone with low or no eyesight turns their washing machine to the perfect setting? Yes, there’s an app for that, but as it turns out, the answer is way simpler: this week we’d like to tell you about the small but mighty sticker called the Bump Dot.

Bump dots are a low-profile, low-cost way to strategically make your home or office space more accessible and increase your effectiveness and independence. What is a bump dot, you ask? These small, raised dots come in all shapes, sizes and textures and can be put on everything from home appliances to school work. It may seem simple, but it’ll save you from selecting the wrong wash cycle or always playing the squint-and-guess game, so you can spend more time and energy on the important stuff.

To help you get started with Bump Dots, we put together seven highly effective use cases, and hope you’ll come by the Adaptations Store during business hours to pick up a handful of these handy little stickers soon.

  1. Accessorize your home appliances

You can stick bump dots on microwaves, washing machines, dishwashers, ovens and more to mark buttons or setting you use most often. They can help make sense of a touch stovetop so you can stop avoiding the kitchen and get back to cooking your grandma’s recipes or the latest recipe from the LightHouse kitchen.

  1. Enhance your classroom experience

Bump dots can also create a representation of a figure on board or can be employed to plot points on a graph. 

3. Stick ‘em on a computer keyboard

When first learning the layout of a keyboard without sight, sticking a bump dot on a specific key so it is easy to find it.

  1. Identify different colors

Now and then, it may be important for a blind person to be able to identify different colored objects, perhaps for class or work. This daunting task can be accomplished through the combination of different types or numbers of bump dots.

  1. Increase the accessibility of your electronics

Maybe your home phone has no tactile way of identifying the numbers or other buttons, or your cell phone has an inaccessible touch screen. Adding a bump dot will solve that problem in no time.

  1. Label bottles or other containers

The strategic placement of some bump dots on bottles in the medicine cabinet or shower can save you from a load of trouble — so you can stop accidentally using the conditioner as body wash or make sure you’re taking the right daily supplement or prescription medicine without any guess work.

  1. Use different sizes and colors to suit your changing vision

For totally blind individuals, clear dots may work great if you are marking a device that may be used by someone with sight, whereas people with low vision can used brightly colored dots to provide a contrast.

Bump Dot packages range in price from $2 to $10 at the LightHouse’s Adaptations store. Pick some up next time you’re here!

Visit the Adaptations Store.

Adaptations Store Hours

Monday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Thursdays: 10 am – 5 p.m.

Fridays: 10 am – 5 p.m.