Tag Archive

Parents and Children

Adaptation of the Day: The MLB Pitcher

Here at the LightHouse, we’re excited for baseball season. As you may have heard, our SF Giants swept the Dodgers this week, and now you can be ready for every game with one of our brailled Giants schedules. As the season heats up, we are extra-heartened to hear another story of blindness and adaptation from the Minnesota Twins.

Minnesota Twins pitcher J.R. Graham wears special socks so that his blind mother can tell him apart from his teammates

Twins Pitcher J.R. Graham wears some pretty wild socks. With his pants rolled up, Graham wears knee-high, navy blue socks with skinny, stirrup-style bands reaching down to his shoes. Graham sticks out like a sore thumb around his teammates and on the filed — but that’s exactly the point. Turns out Graham dresses this way for his mother Julie, who has been visually impaired most of her life due to Best’s Disease. Though she’s legally blind, with the help of J.R.’s special attire, Julie can spot her son whether he’s pitching shut-out innings in Minneapolis or on the road.

Graham is brand new to the MLB, but has been adapting his appearance to keep his mom in the game since he was a kid. At the age of nine, his father suggested that since his teammates all wore black cleats, maybe he should try wearing white ones. At twelve, Graham first strapped on his stirrup socks and never looked back. Having the knowledge that his mom can follow the game is a great feeling for him and his family, and these little gestures are a part of their everyday life. “We’re all trying to do something to make it a little bit easier for her,” Graham said in an interview.

But this isn’t just a heartwarming story; It’s a good reminder that often the best adaptations are collaborations. Improving quality of life is not just about turning yourself inside out to make changes, but also working with the people and environments around you to find simple fixes for otherwise daunting problems.

Have an adaptation, question, or other story for us? Email tips to communications@lighthouse-sf.org

LightHouse Connect Reveals All at Open House

LightHouse Accessible Media Specialist Julie Sadlier and LightHouse Information Resource Specialist Frank Welte demonstrate our audio-tactile MUNI station mapsMarch 29 marked the third session in our LightHouse Connect Workshop series, and unlike its two predecessors which focused on specific topics, this gathering was styled as an Open House, highlighting the great breadth of LightHouse programs and service offerings.

A throng of participants were able to mix in a comfortable communal setting, allowing them to speak to staff from various LightHouse departments, as well as build new relationships with their fellow attendees. Hands-on cooking demonstrations and tech exhibitions by LightHouse service providers afforded students the chance to get intimately acquainted with vital skills of independence. Guests laid hands on cutting-edge tactile transit maps, available exclusively at the LightHouse, which can be enhanced with information conveyed through audio feedback. Representatives from Enchanted Hills Camp, the LightHouse Volunteer Department, and Community Services mingled with the crowd. Perhaps most exciting of all, visitors got to know one another, forming community connections which are often so critical to an individual’s success.

Join us for the next LightHouse Connect on April 30. We will be discussing all aspects of travel as a blind or low vision person: canes, guide dogs, GPS, and much more. For more information and to RSVP to our LightHouse Connect Workshops, please call Beth Berenson at 415-431-1481 or email at info@lighthouse-sf.org.

Read more about upcoming LightHouse Connect workshops.

LightHouse Braille Instructor Divina Fontanilla Carlson chats with student Vicky Wong

A Few Spots Left in Enchanted Hills Camp Sessions

We still have a few openings for blind and low vision campers in our Summer 2015 sessions. This summer we’ll offer the most loved traditional camp activities you won’t want to miss, such as hiking, swimming, boating, nature programs, arts and crafts and more. We also have fresh sessions such as Music Academy, a new science-rich track during teen session and our very first Horse Camp (see below).

Sign up online using one of the applications on the Enchanted Hills page of our website. For a hard copy of the application, please contact Taccarra Burrell at ehc@lighthouse-sf.org.

Enchanted Hills Camp Sessions for 2015

Here is the schedule for the Enchanted Hills Camp 2015 summer sessions.

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Cycle for Sight Bike Ride for Enchanted Hills Camp: Saturday April 18
Sign up now at http://www.cycle4sight.com/. If you’d like to ride tandem, contact Tony Fletcher at afletcher@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7319.

Chemistry Camp: May 1 to May 3
Family Camp I: June 11 to June 14
Blind Babies Family Camp: June 19 to June 21
Adult Session: June 27 to July 2
Special Needs: July 3 to July 8
Family Camp II: July 9 to July 12
Youth Session: July 13 to July 19 (TouchSTEM session is July 15 to 18)
Teen Session: July 20 to July 26
Family Camp III: July 29 to August 1
Music Academy: August 2 to August 8
Horse Camp: August 2 to August 8
Deaf-Blind Camp (Adult): August 9 to August 13 (5 days)

Online applications will be available starting noon on February 2, 2015 (not February 1st as previously stated)

For questions about Cycle for Sight or Camp session, contact Camp Director Tony  Fletcher at 415-694-7319 or afletcher@lighthouse-sf.org.

We can’t wait to have you up to Mt. Veeder soon!

Become Empowered, Define Your Future, Discover You!

Discover You
A seminar presented by The Bay Area Chapters of the National Federation of the Blind of California & LightHouse for the Blind


Join the National Federation of the Blind of California and LightHouse for the Blind for an action-packed day. Come learn how you can live the life you want. Blind leaders in the community will present on topics such as employment, technology and recreation. Learn about your options and how you can advocate and raise expectations so that blindness need not hold you back from accomplishing your dreams.

What? A free seminar where you can learn the skills essential to success.
Continental breakfast, lunch and happy hour will be provided free
of charge!
Why? Low expectations are often the obstacles which stand between
blind people and the desire to succeed; and it is time to change
that perception.
Who? You! – Especially if you are a blind or low vision youth or adult;
have a family member who is blind; a professional in the blindness field; and anyone else who wants to have fun.
Where? LightHouse for the Blind | 214 Van Ness Avenue | San Francisco
When? Saturday august 23 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

RSVP now to Lisamaria Martinez at info@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-431-1481. The first 25 people to sign up will receive a gift card. Limited transportation may be arranged if there is a specific need.

LightHouse Hosts Boisterous Braille Challenge

Last month young budding braillists from all over Northern California converged at the LightHouse for the most important braille competition to be held all year.

Twenty K through 12 kids, with their families there to cheer them on, put their braille skills to test in a variety of competencies including; Reading and Comprehension, Speed and Accuracy Proofreading, Spelling, and Chart and Graph Reading.

The Braille Challenge is a two-part contest for K-12 youth who read and write braille. It is a unique academic competition designed to encourage and reward students for emphasizing their braille reading and writing skills. In addition to the competition, the event included an “Amazing Race: LightHouse Version” a hands-on tech workshop and resource fair, as well as a self-defense demonstration and workshop for the children by 1-Touch Self Defense. Overall, it was a fun-filled day promoting the importance and value of Braille literacy.

LightHouse would like to thank the following for their very generous collaboration and support:

Braille Institute of America, California School for the Blind, Vista Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Junior Blind of America, Humanware, Seedlings, California Council of the Blind (San Francisco and Silicon Valley Chapters), Beulah Reamer Legacy, National Braille Press, McKenzie by Sew-On, Subway, Stephen Gray, Richard Warner from 1-Touch Self Defense, our wonderfully dedicated volunteers, Keynote Speaker Hoby Wedler, all of the TVIs who taught, supported, and encouraged the contestants, and of course, our amazing Braille Challenge contestants.

Congratulations to our Braille Challenge 2014 Top 3 Finishers in Each Division!

3rd- Josephine Fatuesi
2nd- Theresa Liu
1st- Luke Phillip Pilar

3rd- Mario Chitwood
2nd- Monserath Espinola
1st-Patricia Figueroa

3rd- Kaitlyn Austin
2nd- Nikhil Dadlani
1st- Ethan Fung

Junior Varsity
2nd- Alexia Arriola
1st- Sean McGee

2nd- Connor Wong
1st- Santiago Hernandez


First Place Winner in the Varsity Division, Santiago Hernandez smiles while holding his trophy

Theresa Liu

Transit Orientation Guides Featured on Speaking Out for the Blind

The latest Speaking Out for the Blind podcast focuses on how the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is expanding independent travel in the San Francisco Bay Area. The agency’s brand-new Transit Orientation Guides help riders navigate the Bay Area’s complicated transit routes. Frank Welte, staff member with the LightHouse’s Access to Information Services department, joins the show to talk about the new guides and some of the LightHouse’s additional services. You’ll find the podcast here: http://bit.ly/transitroutepodcast.

Get your free Transit Route Orientation Guide today, or request free Orientation Training to help you ride public transportation with confidence. Contact Frank Welte at 415-694-7363, or fwelte@lighthouse-sf.org.

Earlier in the year Speaking Out for the Blind focused on being a blind parent and spoke to LightHouse psychologist in residence Connie Conley-Jung. Listen to this fascinating podcast by clicking on http://bit.ly/bestblindparent

LightHouse for the Blind Youth Program Presents: Halloween Costume Party & Social

Calling all ghosts, goblins, witches, warlocks, and wannabe celebrities!

It’s that time of year to put on your scariest, funniest, or most outrageous costume for a haunting good time at LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired! Come join the LightHouse Youth Program for a fun-filled evening of Halloween-themed games, contests, treats, and other festive activities for all ages.

From more information, or to RSVP for this event, please contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator, at (415) 694-7372, or by email at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org.

Who: Low Vision and Blind Youth and their Families and Friends
What: Halloween Party
When: Friday October 25 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm; please make your transportation arrangements pick you up no later than 8:00 pm
Where: LightHouse for the Blind | 214 Van Ness Ave. | San Francisco, CA
Waiver: Each participant must submit a LightHouse Youth Program waiver form, if they have not done so for a previous event
Cost: FREE
RSVP: Please RSVP by October 18th to Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator, at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org or (415) 694-7372

Categories for Costume Contest:

  • Best Family Theme Costume
  • Most Original/Creative Costume
  • Most Unrecognizable Costume
  • Scariest Costume
  • Coolest Costume
  • Funniest Costume

Spooky Activities:

  • Scary Dance Off
  • Spooky Food Potluck
  • Zombie Tag
  • Mummy Race
  • Mask Making
  • Costume Parade with Prizes

The Perfect Event Space Is Waiting Just For You

Are you tired of holding your get-together in the same old space? Do you have an upcoming staff retreat, workshop, reunion or wedding that needs an exceptional place to make it the most talked about event of the year? Well, look no further because Enchanted Hills Retreat is the place to be.Main Lodge and dining hall at Enchanted Hills as seen from a distance.  Lokoya Lake is in the foreground.

Book your winter event now and receive 20 percent off your daily rate!

Enchanted Hills sits atop Mt. Veeder Road in Napa and sprawls across 311 acres of redwoods, creeks, trails and some of the most breath taking sites Napa has to offer. Surrounded by nature, Enchanted Hills offers a most unique and relaxing place to hold your event. From a wedding to a reunion, our retreat space can provide you with an intimate and exclusive place to celebrate that special moment in your life. We can accommodate groups from 20 to 120. Best of all, we offer rates that simply cannot be beat.

Book now for an event between November 2013 and February 2014 and receive a 20 percent discount on your daily rate. All rental proceeds support the unparalleled programs of Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind. During the summer months, Enchanted Hills Camp is a place for blind campers to explore and create, gain courage, try new things, learn about the environment and make lifelong friends. By celebrating your special event with us you not only have an exceptional place to work or play, but you help give an exceptional summer camp experience to blind and low vision youth and adults.

So…experience the charm of Enchanted Hills this winter! To reserve your space or get more information, call 415-694-7310 or go to www.enchantedhillsretreat.com.