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hoby wedler

Ain’t No Party Like a LightHouse Day Party!

Ain’t No Party Like a LightHouse Day Party!

Mayor London Breed stands at a podium beside LightHouse CEO, Sharon Giovinazzo and Communications Specialist, Caitlin O’Malior

It was an incredible time at yesterday’s LightHouse Day party! We are still feeling excitement and positivity from yesterday’s momentous event. Over 120 guests ventured to our headquarters in San Francisco to celebrate with us as Mayor London Breed presented LightHouse with a proclamation from the City of San Francisco, declaring June as LightHouse Month!

Caitlin holds up the LightHouse Month City Proclamation

We are grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with Mayor Breed’s Office to procure this honor for our organization. The partnership has been a special and encouraging experience, and we look forward to LightHouse, and in turn the blind, Deafblind, and low vision community, having a larger and more significant presence and recognition across the San Francisco Bay Area. Celebrating the accomplishments of our organization with the City helps us to create the blind-positive environment and standard we strive for.

So, celebrate we did! We were joined by staff, students, and supporters and friends, old and new, to enjoy an afternoon of fun, games, and food! Each department, from our Little Learners to LightHouse Industries, was there to show off the incredible services, products, and support LightHouse provides. The Adaptations Store staff assisted interested shoppers as they explored the wonderful gadgets and devices up close and in person in the store. Even our friend and local celebrity, the inventor of Bop It, Dan Klitsner came to set up his famous Bop It Button Braille Board! He shared with our attendees how the game’s inclusive nature and accessibility has changed the way he envisions games and toys should be created and played, and how it inspired his partnership with LightHouse and the Bop It For Good charity.

LightHouse Sirkin Center team member Jenn Holloway sits at the Sirkin Center booth that features the eco-friendly EPA Safer Choice award-winning cleaning products we produce and bottle

Our guests enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres displayed beautifully on tables and trays throughout the party, including the spectacular stuffed mushrooms that were being prepared and baked live by blind chemist, food enthusiast, and friend of LightHouse, Hoby Wedler, in our accessible training kitchen.

One of the most exciting highlights of the afternoon was the incredible sensory escape room! Adventurous partygoers stepped into a world of sensory experiences and problem solving with our Orientation & Mobility instructors as they found each clue and figured their way out of the room.
LightHouse Day was a wonderful way to kick off summer, LightHouse Month, and celebrate with our community. Thank you Mayor Breed, the City of San Francisco, and all our students, staff and supporters for coming out and showing up at yesterday’s event. A great time was had by all!

LightHouse Sirkin Center team member Jenn Holloway sits at the Sirkin Center booth that features the eco-friendly EPA Safer Choice award-winning cleaning products we produce and bottle


Blind chemist and food enthusiast, Hoby Wedler, prepares stuffed mushrooms during a live cooking demo in our accessible kitchen
A Bop It game lays on top of informational flyers about Bop It For Good and the LightHouse partnership


Forbes Honors Two LightHouse Mentors in Annual ’30 Under 30′

Forbes' 30 under 30

Every year Forbes releases their “30 under 30,” which highlights 30 impressive young adults leading the way in various industries. This year we were very excited (though not entirely surprised) to find not one but two blind LightHouse mentors on the list: Hoby Wedler and Haben Girma.

Hoby Wedler stands, arms crossed, in front of lab coast hanging on hooks
Returning to teach our annual Chemistry Camp at Enchanted Hills now for the fifth year, Hoby is an engaged and passionate teacher of all things chemical and olfactory. The camp, which NPR recognized as a major confidence booster for blind youth in its infancy back in 2011, allows blind students to get hands-on with concepts and skills that they might otherwise be shielded from in school. Hoby works regularly for Francis Ford Coppola in the wine business, and is finishing up his Ph.D at Davis, but still comes to Enchanted Hills each summer to mentor LightHouse youth, and even lead an occasional event for adults, like guided wine tastings or even this upcoming blind beer tasting.

Haben GirmaHaben is also a tremendous role model for any aspiring blind change-maker, young or old. Honored by the White House and profiled everywhere from the BBC to the Washington Post, Haben is the first deaf-blind graduate of Harvard law. Her real claim to fame in the blindness community, though, is as a fierce advocate of accessibility in her legal practice at Disability Rights Advocates. In a recent settlement with the influential book-lending startup Scribd, she ensured that the massive library of reading material would be available not just to sighted individuals, but to those who use screen readers and other adaptive technologies, as well. Haben joined our LightHouse youth in a mentorship event this summer, and is also an alumnus of Enchanted Hills. You can watch her TED Talk below, and check back soon for more from these ambitious young leaders.

Forbes 30 under 30: Food and Drink | Law and Policy

Haben Girma speaks at TEDx: