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San Francisco’s Market Street is being transformed and the city wants to hear from you

You’re invited to a community gathering on Thursday, October 3, to learn more about and give input to the Better Market Street project.

When: Thursday, October 3, 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.
Where: LightHouse Headquarters, 1155 Market St, 10th Floor

Better Market Street is the City’s multi-agency project to transform 2.2 miles of Market Street, from Octavia Boulevard to Stuart Street, enhancing safety and accessibility, improving transit performance, replacing aging infrastructure, and revitalizing the corridor’s streetscape.

The project is advancing toward approval this fall and in the coming months, team members from San Francisco Public Works and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will be joining us for community meetings to provide updates on the project.

At our first meeting, we’ll hear an overview with an emphasis on the first phase of the project, Market Street between Eighth and Fifth streets, right in front of LightHouse Headquarters. The team will also discuss proposed transit stops and passenger drop-off zones, as much of these streetscape improvements may affect the travel of blind pedestrians. This meeting is a key one in which we all can give input.

Please join us at 1155 Market Street, 10th floor, on Thursday, Oct. 3, 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.

RSVP directly to Jennifer Blot of San Francisco Public Works: Jennifer.blot@sfdpw.org or 415-554-6993.

Yoga with Kimm: New Class Times

Photo: Kimm Ropicky sits in a yoga pose (photo by Karolina Zapolska).

Yoga helps promote physical, mental and spiritual balance and can provide you with a foundation of flexibility and centeredness. If you experience challenges with balance and mobility, yoga can assist you in increasing your strength and tone, providing you with the confidence you may be striving for in your daily life.

No experience with yoga is necessary – Instructor Kimm Ropicky will work with you no matter what level of experience you have. Class times are below and you must register prior to attending, or complete registration upon your first day of participation.

Who: Students ages 14 and up and their blind or sighted friends.
Where: the 11th Floor Fitness Studio at LightHouse Headquarters, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, California 94103.
When: Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. Each class is 75 minutes. Yoga mats, blocks and belts will be provided.
Class fee: $10 per class. This class is open to the public, blind or sighted, so bring a friend!
Please note: Classes close 10 minutes after the start time.
Space is limited, so sign up now.

Special trial offer for LightHouse Students! If you are a LightHouse Student and want to try out a yoga class for free, please speak with our Information Concierge, Esmeralda Soto, for a complimentary yoga class pass. You may speak to Esmeralda when you visit the LightHouse or call her at 415-694-7323. (Passes must be picked up in person, are for LightHouse Students only and must be submitted to the yoga instructor.)

Contact Serena Olsen at solsen@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7316.

Note: Yoga may require intense physical exertion. While it can be modified to meet your needs, we suggest that if you have any concerns prior to participating, please consult your doctor.

About Kimm Ropicky

Kimm’s yoga journey began in the Midwest during a college elective course. While the location of her practice has changed since then, her focus on body alignment, strength, and flexibility remains. Over the years, her practice has grown increasingly mindful, expanding to encompass more than just the physical poses. For Kimm, yoga has become a safe space to work through emotions and relieve stress. It is this focus that led her to become a teacher, deepen her personal practice, and begin to share this mindful space with everyone who enters her classes.

Kimm provides her students with a playful, core-focused yoga, designed to promote strength, flexibility and focus. Her creative sequencing encourages students of all levels to try something new. Hands-on assists and thorough explanations of body alignment create a safe and supportive environment to learn and explore. Kimm is certified with Pete Guinosso’s “Lighting the Path” Teacher Training and has achieved RYT-200 designation (successfully completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training program) with Yoga Alliance.

The LightHouse Community to Join the 47th Annual PRIDE Parade

We’re excited to announce that LightHouse will march in the 47th annual San Francisco Pride parade on June 24th and 25th! On February 18th, we invite you to join us at the LightHouse headquarters at 6:00 p.m. to participate in a community led effort, get to know each other, share dinner together and discuss how we want to be represented in the parade, and the events leading up to Pride.

The San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest gathering of the LGBT community and allies in the nation. The mission of the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee is to educate the world, commemorate LGBT heritage, celebrate LGBT culture, and liberate LGBT people.

The LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is proud to support this mission and invites our LGBT community members, their families and allies to join the LightHouse and participate in this year’s Pride parade and events leading up to the parade!

We need your participation, but first we need your voice!  Please tell us how YOU would like to participate by filling out the 3 question survey in the “Community Pulse Check” below and attending the kick off dinner to share your ideas.

Please email Laura Millar at info@lighthouse-sf.org or call 415-431-1481 to RSVP for the kickoff and planning dinner, February 18 at LightHouse.

Community Pulse Check

Welcome to our first community pulse check!  The community pulse check is a short poll that will help us better understand the community we serve at the LightHouse and to hear your voice. Fill out the survey below or visit the external link to submit your input!

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There’s Still Time to Give Back – See the Year Out by Volunteering with the LightHouse

Photo: Volunteer Gerry Cannon receives award from LightHouse MADLab Director Greg Kehret at our Volunteer Appreciation Event.

It’s not too late to show your support for our community by volunteering. Would you like to make a significant contribution to the life of a blind person or person with low vision? The following volunteer opportunities are available in November and December.

Start Your Journey as LightHouse Volunteer – Join Us for Our Volunteer Orientation
Saturday, November 5, 2016, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Where: the LightHouse Building, 1155 Market Street, 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103
Refreshments will be served.

RSVP or get more information about our program by contacting our Volunteer Engagement Specialist Justine Harris-Richburgh at volunteer@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7320 and complete our Volunteer Registration form.

Become More Involved with the LightHouse with the Following Opportunities:

YES (Youth Employment Series) Program
Saturday and Sunday, November 12 and 13, 2016 and Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11, 2016
Where: the LightHouse Building, 1155 Market Street, 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103
We’re looking for Volunteer Support Coordinators to help with student supervision, meal prep, clean up or take photos and/or video for social media. There are three shifts to choose from and up to five slots available per shift. Contact Volunteer Engagement Specialist Justine Harris-Richburgh at volunteer@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7320 for more details.

Our First-Ever Blind Soldering Weekend Workshop
When: Friday, November 4 through Sunday, November 6, 2016
Where: the LightHouse Building, 1155 Market Street, 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103
There are a variety of shifts available, each with several slots available per shift, making this a perfect opportunity to volunteer with a buddy and learn more about blind soldering – this is not to be missed! You’ll be assisting instructors, supporting students and running errands as needed. Soldering knowledge and experience are not required; however knowledge and interest in electronics and soldering may be useful.
Lunch will be provided.
Contact Volunteer Engagement Specialist Justine Harris-Richburgh at volunteer@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7320 for more details.

Can You Dig It? We Had a Far Out, Solid Gold, To the Max Time at Our Volunteer Appreciation Party

This year’s Volunteer Appreciation Party went off in style, with a Solid Gold theme that brought us back to those solid-gold ’70s, complete with gold streamers, gold balloons, gold party favors and solid gold disco music in the background. Over 100 volunteers, board members, staff and guests attended our annual celebration. The room was festive, the food and drink flowed and we had a blast giving out raffle prizes and awards to our standout volunteers.

This year we honored the following volunteers:

  • Mike May was recognized by Bryan Bashin for his outstanding volunteer commitments and contributions to Enchanted Hills Camp.
  • Our Development Department recognized Jennisen Svendsen’s hours of photo organizing.
  • Volunteer Gerry Cannon was recognized by MADLab for the impressive amount of recording he has provided.
  • Enchanted Hills Camp’s gave an award to longtime volunteer Tino Benelli.
  • We honored Silvana Rainey’s contribution to our Employment Immersion Program.
  • We acknowledged Sabrina Treguboff’s dedicated work with Community Services’ Senior and Adult Programs.
  • And finally, we honored all of our wonderful Board members for their dedication.

Thank you to all who were able to attend. For those LightHouse Volunteers who missed it, our next appreciation celebration will be in April, 2017.

Saturday, November 12: Youth – Learn How to Advocate for All Your Needs (YES Workshop)

Photo: (Left to right) YES students Billy Lei, Carlos Torres and Austin Walker learn about appropriate attire for job interviewing. They are standing next to a mannequin dressed in suit and tie.

The November YES workshop is Making Advocacy Accessible

Each month the LightHouse offers a special YES (Youth Employment Series) workshop aimed at youth ages 14 to 26. This November we’ll focus on advocacy – including how to get accommodation, the issue of informed consent, and how to transition from high school to college or from school to career.

When: Saturday, November 12, 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: the LightHouse Building, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103.
Who:  Candidates must be transition-aged students ages 14 to 26 who are blind or have low vision. They must be eligible for transitional rehabilitation services, deemed legally blind by a physician or accredited agency, and able to fulfill the training and work required by the program.

Topics that will be discussed in November include but are not limited to:

  • Self-advocacy, individual rights, self-determination skills, the informed consent process as well as peer mentoring.
  • Accommodations available to college students and those entering the workforce.
  • Blindness skills that will enrich life and help achieve ones goals, be more confident and learn how to advocate needs.
  • How to smoothly navigate through any system as a student transitioning into college from high school or from college to a career.
  • Strategies that will help students make strong and positive first impressions.
  • Developing, enhancing and utilizing ones network and relationship with peers and mentors.

Sign-up now for the December YES Workshop: Taking Technology Seriously which will take place on Saturday, December 10, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Is There a Cost to Attend YES Workshops?
The cost to attend the LightHouse Youth Employment Series workshops is $175 per day-long workshop. In addition to the day’s activities and curriculum, students will receive a light breakfast, lunch and refreshments throughout the day. Department of Rehabilitation authorizations or other payment source must be secured before students will be eligible to participate.

If you have any questions or wish to apply, please contact Youth Services Coordinator Richie Flores at rflores@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7328.

Would you like to be a YES Protégé?
Sign up for YES workshops! We are currently seeking protégés for the Youth Employment Series (YES). Protégés will benefit from vocational and blindness skills training, meaningful work and volunteer opportunities, as well as career-specific mentorships with the working blind. This informative monthly series will provide transition-aged youth who are blind or have low vision with vital skills that will help them become more successful as they pursue their academic and employment dreams.

Off the Page: Twitter Volunteers will Help You With those Pesky Print Materials

When: Friday, November 11, 2016, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Where: the LightHouse Building, 1155 Market Street, 10th Floor, San Francisco, 94103

Sign up to have paper documents read, get assistance with the completion of printed applications and much more by our vetted and professional volunteers from Twitter. If you’re actively looking for a job, come and have your resume reviewed by one of our professional Twitter volunteers.

Don’t miss out on this prime opportunity to meet one-on-one with a volunteer.

RSVP or get more information about our program by contacting our Volunteer Engagement Specialist Justine Harris-Richburgh at volunteer@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7320.

Come Have Dinner on Us and Learn Some Estate Planning Techniques that May Benefit You and the LightHouse

Portrait of Michael Bland

You are invited to a LightHouse Legacy Society Event at the new LightHouse building, with special guest presenter Michael Bland. Michael is the principal attorney at Guardian Counsel, PC. and is dedicated to assisting his clients design their family’s estate plans to preserve their personal and financial well-being while planning for the future. Michael is an Eagle Scout and was born and raised in Napa, California.

When: Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Where: the LightHouse Building at 1155 Market Street, Floor 10, San Francisco, 94103
Dinner will be served

Please RSVP to Dagny Brown at 415-694-7333 or events@lighthouse-sf.org.

We want to thank our LightHouse Legacy Society Members for including the LightHouse in their estate plans:

Hank Borenko, Margie Donovan, Joan M. Dove, Robert Ray Foster, Gena Harper and Mike May, Dolores Ippolito, Roger Kallen, Justin Kim, Kuhnle Family Endowment, Jerry Kuns and Theresa Postello, Inez E. Martini, Ann Noble and Goran Muhlert, Robert E. O’Donnell, Alicia Jean Rose, Frederic and Kristine Silva, Richard Stevens and Virginia Behm,  David and Regula Weill, Martin and Rosan Weissman, Jennifer Westbrook, Greg Wong.

Know Someone With Changing Vision? Our Next Immersion Training Sessions are Coming Up

Photo: Class Picture of the September CVCL Immersion Training Session 2 Class

Fall is a time for harvest and abundance. Over the past four years, 250 students have harvested their skills and received an abundance of support, opportunities to connect and a rich introduction to skills ranging from accessing print, learning about technology to organizing their households and traveling independently.

Holli Clark of Santa Cruz County has participated in both sessions and had this to say about her experience:

“Just a note to share my big thanks for the wonderful Immersion experience! One of my big reasons for wanting to go for Immersion training was because I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. I figured there were better ways of doing things than I had made up over the years. I was certainly correct in that, and am delighted to be learning many new skills. This translates to being more productive, efficient, confident, independent and safer. [The] week was packed with immeasurable value. I learned so much from each trainer and really appreciated your focus on scheduling us according to individual needs…Your staff are both exceptional trainers in their fields as well as wonderful, caring people.”

Sydney and Holli

Photo: Cooking Instructor Sydney Ferrario and CVCL student Holli Clark stand together in the Betty Ruhland Teaching Kitchen at the LightHouse

 We’re offering one last CVCL session before year’s end, and another in February. Details on both follow:

December Changing Vision Changing Life (CVCL) Immersion Training Session 2
This session is facilitated from the new LightHouse Building in the heart of San Francisco.  The focus of this week’s training is “boots hit the ground in training”. Students participating in this week must have already received basic skills training in orientation and mobility, access technology or independent living and must be committed to focusing intently in all three of these skill areas in a small group and individual learning environment. (Please note: students do not need to have attended a previous CVCL session to attend CVCL 2 in San Francisco.)

This five day session is designed for students who are committed to full days of instruction, homework and practice in the evening and will take full advantage of the professional training time, mentoring and peer support and self-study that will be available.

Students will participate in a minimum of three of the following areas:

  1. Access Technology, including:
  • Computer training (Mac or PC) – using the software you are currently learning
  • Smart Phone Training – Apple or Android
  • Tablet Training – Apple or Android
  1. Orientation and Mobility Training 1:1
  2. Introduction to Braille
  3. Smart Cooking for Independence
  4. Low Vision Training – Using your Tools to Your Benefit
  5. Independent living skills

When: CVCL 2 will run from Monday, December 5th (arrival at 9:30 a.m. – training starts at 10:00 a.m.) through Friday, December 9 (leave at 11:00 a.m.)

Where: The session will be held in our headquarters building at 1155 Market St., 10th Floor in San Francisco. Participants will stay overnight throughout the week in our Student Residences.

Cost: There is a $1,300 fee for this training but you may qualify for partial or full scholarship if you are not already working with the Department of Rehabilitation or the Veterans Administration. It is highly recommended that all students have a solution for taking notes, such as the Victor Reader Stream (training will be provided in how to use this recording device)


February Changing Vision Changing Life Immersion Training Session 1
This session is held at Enchanted Hills Retreat in Napa and is specifically geared for students new to blindness and low vision. For five days, up to 14 adult students have the opportunity to develop basic skills in a range of areas – access technology; orientation and mobility; organization and labeling; magnification and lighting; cooking; braille and community, state and national resources.

The week is full, active, emotional and supportive and students are given the opportunity to meet others, to harvest their own skills and determine the direction of the quality of their lives. There are three scholarship openings for persons 55 and better living in Humboldt, Del Norte, San Francisco, Marin or Alameda County who are not consumers of the Department of Rehabilitation or the VA. For those who are consumers of the Department of Rehabilitation, we encourage you to discuss this opportunity with your counselor.

When: CVCL I will run from February 6th – 10th.

Where: The session will be held in at Enchanted Hills Retreat in Napa. Participants will stay overnight throughout the week in our lakeside lodgings. Transportation is available from San Francisco, Berkeley and Marin County.

Cost: There is a $1,300 fee for this training but you may qualify for partial or full scholarship if you are not already working with the Department of Rehabilitation or the Veterans Administration.


For More Information, to Register for Session 1 or Session 2, or if you have questions, please contact Debbie Bacon at dbacon@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7357 in San Francisco; Jeff Carlson at jcarlson@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-258-8496 in Marin County or Janet Pomerantz at jpomerantz@lighthouse-sf.org or 707-268-5646 in Humboldt County.


Are You a Blind Veteran? Join us For This Very Special Weekend Retreat at Enchanted Hills

We’re celebrating Veterans Day by organizing a weekend retreat in November for Veterans who are blind or have low vision.

Who: Military Veterans of all ages who are blind or have low vision
Where: Enchanted Hills Camp
When: Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13, 2016
Cost: $100 + $40 round trip transport

It’s an opportunity to have fun at beautiful Enchanted Hills Camp while connecting with fellow veterans. Campers will enjoy recreational and social programs designed to promote a healthy and independent lifestyle, presented by the LightHouse in collaboration with Western Blind Rehabilitation Center of Palo Alto.

To sign up for this special retreat, contact Camp Director Tony Fletcher at tfletcher@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7319 for an application or with any questions.

Family Picnic and Hike at Lake Merritt

LightHouse students and their families will gather at the Lake Merritt BART Station for a fun filled day at Lake Merritt. Our walk will start at 11:00 a.m. and will take us around the lake. During the walk the group will choose a good location to stop and have a picnic.

Who: Families (immediate family members or guardians) with at least one person that is blind or has low vision.
When: Saturday, November 5, 2016, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Where:  Meet at Lake Merritt BART Station in Oakland
Cost: Free
What to bring: Picnic lunch for yourself and your family, water bottle, warm layers of clothing and any necessary mobility aids such as a cane or monocular.
Waiver: Each participant must complete a LightHouse Youth Program Application as well as all 2016 LightHouse release forms.

If you would like more information about this event or wish to sign your family up, please contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator, at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7372 for more information.