GCB Digest GCB 2021 Digest Fall Edition (Text Version)
Logo Picture Description: Inside a light-yellow circle, in large, upper case, bold black letters at the top it reads,
‘A HAND UP NOT A HANDOUT’. Under the circle are the words,
‘GEORGIA COUNCIL OF THE BLIND’.
In the center of the circle is a grey toned pencil drawing of an open right hand cradling a Georgia peach in its palm. From a short brown stem at the top of the peach, a thin green leaf hangs down its left side.
The color of the peach is a vivid yellow and orange, like the warmth of the sun, and contrasts with the black, upper case letters GCB in the middle of the peach. Corresponding Braille dots are directly under the GCB.
The GCB DIGEST
A publication of the Georgia Council of the Blind
An affiliate of the American Council of the Blind,
An organization promoting a hand up and not a handout.
Table of Contents:
From Your Editor by Amanda Wilson
GCB Presidential Message by Alice Ritchhart
GCB Board Meeting Minutes from April 2021, by Betsy Grenevitch
GCB Special Board Meeting from June 2021, by Betsy Grenevitch
GCB Chapter News
Georgia Guide Dog Users News
GCB Community Phone Calls
Comments About the American Council of the Blind, ACB, Conference and Convention
Updates from Cassie Love and Tiana Gates, GCB Scholarship Recipients
GCB Conference and Convention Announcement
GCB First-Timers Scholarship Guidelines and Procedures
Computers For the Blind: A Valuable Community Resource, by Marj Schneider
Ins and Outs of Coffee, by Cecily Nipper, Junior
GCB Braille Project Committee, by Phillip Jones
Let’s put our heads together and encourage reading by touch.
Promoting Your GCB Chapter or Lions Club, by Mike Hall
GCB Awards, by Judy Presley, Chair of GCB Awards Committee
ACB’s Get Up & Get Moving Campaign
There Are Two Sides to Every ‘Ski Button’ Story by Janet Parmerter
Alice Ritchhart, President, 912-996-4213, firstname.lastname@example.org
Philip Jones, First Vice-President, 770-713-3306, Brilman1952@gmail.com
Jamaica Miller, Second Vice-President, 706-316-9766, email@example.com
Betsy Grenevitch, Secretary, 678-862-3876, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marsha Farrow, Treasurer, 706-859-2624, email@example.com
Valerie Hester, Member at Large Representative, 912-398-9985, firstname.lastname@example.org
Amanda Wilson, Digest Editor, 770-547-4700, email@example.com
Janet Parmerter, Assistant Editor, 551-247-1195, Janet@ParmerTours.com
From Your Editor
By Amanda Wilson
Hello, GCB family. We thank each one who has submitted articles in this issue of our magazine. If you have any change of address, telephone number, email address, or desired change of format, please inform our GCB treasurer.
Thanks to everyone who makes our GCB Digest such a big success. I particularly want to thank Janet Parmerter, Assistant Editor, for her editing skills and for the many hours she has worked on the magazine. I want to thank our President, Alice Ritchhart, for her presidential message with information about important events, legislation, and projects. I also appreciate the contributions from our new GCB Digest committee and each member who sent articles and who made suggestions.
From this point forward, please send any comments, articles, or messages to the GCB Digest Editor in Font: Arial, Font Style: Bold, Font Size: 16-point, Font Heading Size: 20 point and please underline the Heading. This will make things more consistent for reading and for Braille.
Note: The GCB Digest is now on NFB Newsline and on the Georgia Radio Reading Service, GARRS.
GCB Presidential Message
By Alice Ritchhart
As I now dictate this message, I would like to say thank you to the entire membership for your dedication and hard work throughout my tenure as president. It has been a pleasure to serve all of you, and to serve alongside you doing what we can all do to assist those in Georgia who need our help. With COVID and much more, it has been a rather trying two to yearbut, t we have managed to continue to do good work and for that I’d like to say thank you so much, and I’m really looking forward to our getting together in November, at the GCB ‘Together Again’, convention. That theme came from the Muppet movie, ‘Muppets take Manhattan’. In the chorus of the song it says, ‘together again, it’s so well to be together again, it’s not starting over, it’s like continuing and we’re so happy to be together again’.
So come November, after two years apart, will have the opportunity to share fellowship again in person.
Hopefully, by then, everybody will have already had their shots. Then, we will all be wearing our masks, using hand sanitizer, and showing love to our neighbor by also considering the feelings and safety of others. In this way, I will be looking forward, not only to the excellent presentations, but most of all to seeing old friends, catching up on the past two years, sitting around the fire pit and sharing songs, fellowship, laughter, and just good old fashion conversation. At the end of the conference, hopefully, we will have a new president with whom I will look forward to working with and seeing what they will bring forward, with regard to the future of the GCB. Right now, I am just delighted we will be able to finally spend time together in person, and again, I’ve missed seeing each and every one of you! So, for now I will just close out by saying again, thank you for all your years of support and hard work. Last of All, let me once again say, I can’t wait till November when we’re, ‘Together Again’!
GCB Board Meeting Minutes
By Betsy Grenevitch
Georgia Council of the Blind Board Meeting Via Zoom
April 17, 2021
Call to Order, Alice Ritchhart: Alice called the meeting to order at 9:32 AM.
Agenda Updates: Alice told us that she needed to add Amanda Wilson’s Membership Report before the Digest Report. She also told us that our guest is Katie Frederick, who is our ACB board liaison and that she would be speaking to us after Kay McGill’s update.
Invocation, Sharon Nichols: Sharon Nichols gave our invocation.
Roll Call, Betsy Grenevitch: Those present were: Alice Ritchhart, GCB President; Phil Jones, GCB First Vice-President; Jamaica Miller, GCB Second Vice-President; Betsy Grenevitch, Secretary; Marsha Farrow, GCB Treasurer; Valerie Hester, GCB Member-at-Large Representative; Jerrie Toney, Athens Chapter; Deborah Lovell, Augusta Chapter; Cecily Nipper, Jr., East Georgia Chapter; Judy Presley, Greater Hall County Chapter; Dianne Roberts, Greater Hall County Chapter (she was present to listen but gave Judy the voting rights for this meeting); Sharon Nichols, Northwest Chapter; Tonia Clayton, Rome-Floyd County Chapter; Marj Schneider, Savannah Chapter; Tiyah Longmire, South Atlanta Chapter; Steve Longmire, GCB Webmaster; Amanda Wilson, GCB Digest Editor; and DJ McIntyre, GGDU Representative.
Guests present were: Katie Frederick, Kay McGill, Cecily Nipper, Sr., Elizabeth Cantrell, Shirley Robinson, Dr. Robertson, Mary Woodyard, Mike Hall, Debbie McDonald, Tiana Gates, scholarship winner, Tommy Woodyard, scholarship winner, Cassie Love, scholarship winner, Andrew Stebat, scholarship winner, Janet Parmerter and Robin Oliver.
Scholarship Committee, Marj Schneider:
Marj thanked all her committee which included, Deborah Lovell, Granger Ricks, Tom Ridgeway, and Dr. Dillard for his past service on the committee. For her tremendous help in reading all the documents received, Marj thanked her assistant Patti Smith.
There were four scholarship winners this year.
Tianna Gates: Finishing her undergraduate work at Columbus State, Tianna is a mathematics major with a minor in data analytics and will graduate in December pursuing her master’s degree in accounting. Some of her activities include being the secretary of the campus gospel choir, the head of the financial committee of the Collegiate Women of Columbus State, volunteering at the American Red Cross and the Boys and Girls Club. SHE thanked us for giving her the scholarship which will help her for the remainder of her semester.
Cassie Love: With a master’s degree in public health and working as a grant writer, Cassie is currently working on a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and planning to merge both degrees. This would be while focusing on the low vision community. For this scholarship she also thanked the GCB.
Andrew Stebat: Soon to be attending North Georgia College, Andrew’s activities include the Boy Scouts of America, as he currently finishes up his Eagle Scout program. For a few years he was a member of the ROTC, and did some sports, as well as being a member of the student council, the Beta Club, and volunteered for the American Legion serving veterans in the community. Hoping to major in journalism, Andrew is open to something else, and wanted to thank the GCB for his scholarship.
Tommy Woodyard: Currently attending Stetson Law School in Florida, Tommy attended UGA before attending his current school, and would like to get into international arbitration. In May, he is planning on meeting with one of the members of the federal mediation coalition services that oversees trade disputes across the world. This scholarship will help him purchase new textbooks and he thanked the GCB.
Marj thanked the scholarship recipients for being present and speaking to the GCB, then explained where the scholarship name came from.
Al Camp Scholarship: One of the people for whom the scholarship is named, Al Camp, was a veteran of the Korean War when he became visually impaired. A few minutes were spent so members could make comments to the scholarship winners.
Kay McGill, Project Independence: As the program manager for Project Independence, Kay helps provide skill training and mobility training for safe travel and support groups, technology access training, comprehensive low-vision evaluations, and counseling for adjustment to blindness. In Georgia, we have around 250 thousand Georgians over the age of 55, and one in twelve older adults report severe visual impairment or blindness. They are more likely to be women, African American, Native American, in the lower income bracket, are more likely to have age-related chronic conditions, and twice as likely to fall as older people with a visual impairment. A lot of this is due to the lack of access to medical care. If the population in Georgia continues to grow, these numbers could double over the next 30 years. There has been some discussion concerning moving the older blind program out of RSA, but if that does not happen, that may increase funds for this program on a national level.
Wendy Mons has developed a way to do low vision exams remotely, so more people have been able to participate in receiving services virtually. Since transportation has not been a problem during the pandemic, they were able to have more frequent lessons. Once the pandemic is over, the plan is to do a hybrid method of working with clients, and they have just finished training eight support group leaders, who will either have their own group or be a coleader.
The Confident Living Program: They will be working with the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) providing training for staff and students with a dual loss.
Peer Support Training: Hannah Fairburn has been doing training on self-advocacy. Some of her tips include topics like:
‘Be friendly but firm.’
‘Listen hard and pay attention.’
Email List: To keep you up to date about different seminars and/or programs, Kay can add you to her email list.
Contact Details: Phone: 404-780-6649
ACB Board Liaison, Katie Frederick: The ACB now has an ACB conversation list where members can talk among themselves. You can subscribe by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ACB conference and convention is being planned for July 16-23. Registration will open at the end of May.
We recently had a leadership and legislative seminar, and a lot of advocacy is now taking place.
There is a lot going on with the ACB Radio and the community calls which now have around 80 calls each week.
Voting will be taking place during the upcoming conference and convention. There will be elections for the board of directors and for the board of publications. There will be an article in the May _ACB _Forum about how to run for the various positions.
Professional credits will be offered again this year.
Membership Services: Colby Garrison and Belinda Collins are now assisting Cindy sending out the emails concerning the community calls.
Clark also has someone new helping him with advocacy. She will also be helping with the information and referral department in the office.
ACB is looking for a communications manager and wants to make this a new position.
President’s Report, Alice Ritchhart: Alice is still receiving a lot of phone calls but more of them seem to be coming from our younger population. One of the problems they seem to be facing seems to be taking tests such as the GED and the GRE. She has reached out to Clark, at ACB, about this problem but has not heard back from him yet. She knows that Hadley use to offer a course concerning the GED, but they have stopped it because they were receiving few requests to take this course.
We are also still having issues concerning Vocational Rehab paying for reader services as an accommodation. Alice thinks we need to have another conversation with the director of Vocational Rehab.
Some concerns had been expressed about the stand ACB was taking concerning the unrest going on around the country. We had a phone conversation, that was open to the membership, with the board of ACB and it seemed to go well.
There have been ACB community calls explaining how voting will take place during the upcoming ACB conference and convention. They will be using the same system that GDUI has been using. There can also be nominations from the floor. You will also be able to vote even if you are not attending the ACB conference and convention. They are willing to do meetings with chapters for members to explain how this will work.
Secretary’s Minutes, Betsy Grenevitch: Betsy made a motion to approve the secretary’s minutes as they were sent out and Phil seconded the motion. The motion carried.
Treasurer’s Report, Marsha Farrow:
GCB Main Checking Account—#9530: $8,833.18
As part of this amount, we have $490.48 for the Youth fund and $3269.05 for the Senior fund.
GCB Conference Account—#9685: $1,337.55
Al and Cora Camp Scholarship Fund—#9557: $1,874.70
GCB CD—#6527: $5,069.63
Interest for 2020: $69.63
Matures October 26, 2021
Established October 2019
Beginning Balance: $5,000.00
Matured October 27, 2020
GCB Long Term Investment--#0855: $19,081.14
2020 Interest: $371.77
Matured March 20, 2021
Past 5 Years Interest: $2,081.14
Matures January 20, 2027
Way Financial Investment
Phyllis Waters is sending these balances ASAP.
The money that had been coming out of the conference account for QuickBooks has been put back into the conference account. This money will now be drafted from the main account.
Peer Support Training, Alice Ritchhart: Because of the short time span in which the money needed to be approved, Alice paid $350 for Cecily Nipper, Jr. to take a peer support training course. She is not asking for this money back, but this brought up a discussion between Alice and Marsha to use the money that had been donated for a legal fund for this type of training in the future. It does not look like we need to use it for legal expenses. We thought we were going to have to go to court about the voting issues but that is no longer the case. The person has been contacted who donated this money and they are in favor of the suggestion. We would like to set up a line item for legal/advocacy training so that money can be set aside for this type of training. Marsha made a motion seconded by Jamaica to begin the fund for the legal/advocacy training.
Marj wanted to know who would make the decision about how the money would be spent and Alice felt that it would be the board who would decide how this money would be spent.
Marsha suggested that we pull the money for the scholarships out of the Regions account instead of out of the Way Financial account.
After our discussion, the motion passed unanimously.
Marsha made a motion that we take the remaining money needed to cover our four scholarships--$2000 plus--from our Regions long term investment account and put it in the scholarship account to sustain our current interest in the Way Financial Investment for scholarships for 2021. Deborah Lovell seconded the motion and the motion carried.
Marsha made a motion to file the treasurer’s report for audit and the motion was seconded by Jamaica. The motion carried.
Finance Committee, Jerrie Toney: DJ read the proposed budget. Jerrie made a motion that the GCB budget for 2021 be accepted as presented and Deborah Lovell seconded the motion. The motion carried.
Lifetime Members: We now know who our lifetime members are in GCB. They are now included in the member total of the budget.
Youth Awareness Committee, Cecily Nipper, Jr.: Cecily thanked the committee who included: Mary Woodyard, Betsy Grenevitch, Marj Schneider and Alice Ritchhart for their assistance. We had over 70 applicants from which to choose the winners.
Kelly Loeffler donated $3800 to purchase devices for students. A total of $3,582.35 was spent to purchase these ten devices, which were iPads and chrome books as approved by the board.
Youth Benefit Concert:
Total Raised: $397.83—This included $125 from Alice Ritchhart to go toward Eddie Davenport’s fee.
The actual total raised was $272.83.
The amount that we have left when combining this total with what Senator Loffeler donated is $490.48.
The ten devices benefitted four high school students, two kindergarten students, and the rest were in between. Twelve children were benefitted because one family had three visually impaired children in one household. We gave them a chrome book so they would not have to all share the one they had.
We averaged $300 per item. The chrome books were around $230, and the iPads cost around $330. They worked with the TVI for each family to find out which device would work best for the student(s).
Cecily made a motion seconded by Tonia that the remaining funds left in the Youth Awareness fund be allowed to continue and added to in hope of future rounds of giving out devices to more students. The motion carried.
Legislative Update, Betsy Grenevitch and DJ McIntyre: DJ told us about the meeting she and Betsy had with one of the senate committees concerning voting. The first time we went down it was decided the voting bill would not be discussed that day so we would have to go down on a different day.
The day we spoke concerning the voting bill, DJ and Betsy had the opportunity to ask that the polling places must comply with the accessibility requirements of regular polling places. This amendment was accepted by the committee and according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, this was the only amendment to receive bipartisan support.
We made a third trip down to the Capitol to speak to a committee concerning the Commission for the Blind bill. This bill did not go anywhere as it did not make it out of the rules committee. DJ and Betsy
both spoke on behalf of this bill and thanked Senator Davenport for her work on our behalf.
Alice told us that it has been suggested that the legislators be asked to form a task force which would include blind and visually impaired individuals to discuss the need for the Commission for the Blind.
Alice also mentioned that the Law and Policy Center as well as the NFB made note of the amendment to the voting bill.
Technology Committee, Steve Longmire: They have not had any meetings during the past couple of months. He did numerous training sessions on Zoom and is willing to do more if they are needed.
The GCB website is being used. He was glad to see more people using the online registration option for the conference and convention.
Steve reminded us that there is a resources section on the website. The website address is www.georgiacounciloftheblind.org.
The GCB web app is still being worked on. He will ask some of us to test it.
He thanked Jerrie Toney for keeping up with the website.
Alice asked why Linda Cox’s name is still appearing on the PayPal account and Steve said that PayPal requires personal information to change the name. There has been an effort to contact PayPal without any success. Alice suggested that the technology committee work on this task. Marsha offered to make an appointment with her bank to help with this process if Steve needs help.
Senior Fund, Marsha Farrow: Marsha will be sending an update to the committee. Jerrie told us that we served Susan Henderson by obtaining a computer from Computers for the Blind for her.
Membership, Amanda Wilson: We have lost over 40 members but still have 136 members.
We still have 5-6 community calls taking place each month.
All chapters are meeting either by phone, Zoom or in-person.
Phil talked about the need to try to recruit younger blind/visually impaired members. He feels we need to make membership a top priority with each chapter forming a membership committee. This committee would meet every couple of months to work on this project. He suggested that Cindy Hollis be invited to a chapter meeting to give ideas about recruiting members. He felt we also could invite a representative from a special interest affiliate to a chapter meeting as well.
Janet suggested that we have someone from ACB speak to the students at the Georgia Academy.
GCB Digest, Amanda Wilson: In January, the board appointed Patti Smith to help with editing and formatting The GCB Digest. If anyone has comments about The GCB Digest, please contact Amanda.
It was suggested that we include pictures. If they are black and white, there will not be any extra charge for them.
The audio digital cartridges have not been produced recently due to the pandemic. Keith Parmerter has volunteered to read and record the upcoming issues until the library opens again.
Auction Fundraiser, Marsha Farrow: There has been some discussion about having an auction at our next conference and convention. It was suggested that the auction be virtual. We could also have a musical event as part of the auction. Janet suggested that during the virtual auction we show pictures of the items and make some interesting comments about the items.
A virtual run was also suggested to consider in the future, and this will be discussed later.
Marj, Janet and Marsha are willing to serve on this committee.
Peer Support Training, Cecily Nipper, Jr.: Cecily expressed her appreciation for the curriculum that was used during the training. The curriculum was over 100 pages in standard print. The training took place over Zoom. There were around 20 attendees. The majority who attended the training were blind and/or visually impaired. Other disabilities were also represented.
Her biggest take-away was the difference between help and support. She gave the example of helping versus supporting a man to build a fence.
Formation of Committees
Elections: Alice believes that GCB is incorporated in Georgia and if that is the case we need to find out if we can hold elections virtually. She asked Marsha to contact the Secretary of State’s office to find out this information.
Nominating Committee: Jerrie Toney is willing to chair this committee. Robin Oliver and Steve Longmire will serve on this committee with her.
Constitution and Bylaws Committee: Marj will chair this committee and Phil is willing to serve on this committee with Marj. Alice will check with Brent about serving on this committee.
Conference and Convention Committee: DJ, Jerrie, Tonia, Jamaica, Marsha, Cecily, and Steve are willing to serve on this committee. Marsha and Cecily Nipper, Jr. will co-chair the committee and offer to help.
Cassie Love: Cassie, a scholarship winner, wanted to let us know that she is planning on joining ACB and is willing to help in any way possible.
Public Comments: Deborah Lovell told us that Keith had surgery on his neck.
Commission for the Blind Bill: Alice suggested that we request a task force which would include the blind/visually impaired community to show that there is a need for the Commission for the Blind. This will be discussed at the upcoming Alliance meeting. We would submit a couple of questions for this task force.
Delegates to the National ACB Virtual Conference and Convention: Virtual voting will begin the night of the opening session. Alice asked Cecily Nipper, Jr. to be the delegate and Phil to be the alternate delegate. Cecily has also agreed to be on the ACB nominating committee.
Adjourn: We adjourned at 12:13 PM.
Respectfully submitted by
Betsy Grenevitch, Secretary
Georgia Council of the Blind Special Board Meeting via Zoom
By Betsy Grenevitch
Georgia Council of the Blind Special Board Meeting via Zoom
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Call to Order, Alice Ritchhart: Alice called the meeting to order at 7:07 PM EST.
Roll Call, Betsy Grenevitch: Those present were: Alice Ritchhart, GCB President; Phil Jones, GCB First Vice-President; Jamaica Miller, GCB Second Vice-President; Betsy Grenevitch, GCB Secretary; Marsha Farrow, GCB Treasurer; Valerie Hester, GCB Member-at-Large Representative; Deborah Lovell, Augusta Chapter; Cecily Nipper, Jr., East Georgia Chapter; Tonia Clayton, Rome-Floyd Chapter; Marj Schneider, Savannah Chapter; Steve Longmire, Webmaster; Amanda Wilson, GCB Digest Editor; and DJ McIntyre, GGDU. Guests: Deborah Young
Hotel for the November Conference and Convention, Marsha Farrow and Cecily Nipper, Jr.: Marsha told us about the hotel from her viewpoint. The hotel is the Marriott Courtyard in Cartersville, GA. The hotel opened on September 23, 2020. There is a business room we could use for smaller meetings. There is another space that would work for our welcome reception. We would not be charged a cost for these rooms since we will be purchasing food. There is a Starbucks and a bistro.
Outside, there is a seating area with a fire pit.
There is a guide dog relief area.
We would also have access to an exercise room.
There are around 12 accessible rooms. All the rooms are very spacious. The heating/AC units are in the left corner of the rooms instead of in front of the window. Each room has a microwave and a refrigerator.
On Saturday, we would use the Clarence Brown Conference Center that is at the rear of the hotel. There is a big screen available to use during our meeting times. Technology assistance would be available during the day.
Debbie spoke in favor of the hotel. She said that the rooms are well lit.
Cecily said that they have not had many groups at the hotel, yet.
Costs to Attend the Conference and Convention
The room rate is $100 per night. Someone in the community has offered $1000 to go toward the expense of the rooms for those who might need the assistance.
The welcome reception will cost $15 per person.
Box lunches should be between $12 and $15.
The registration fee would go toward the conference center room which costs $750 for Saturday.
Some side benefits would be that our welcome bags would be supplied free of charge. There would be things like granola bars and/or cheese crackers in the bags to help with those who did not want to purchase the boxed lunch.
Cecily made a motion that we hold our conference and convention on November 12-13, 2021, at the Marriott Courtyard in Cartersville.
Valerie wanted to know if there was going to be any hospitality room and Marsha did not think that there would need to be one since hospitality bags will be given out.
Deborah wanted to know when the conference and convention would begin. Cecily said that registration would begin on Friday afternoon. The reception would take place on Friday night and the board meeting would be held on Saturday morning. Our programming would begin on Saturday afternoon There is a possibility that we will have exhibitors on Friday afternoon.
Marj wanted to know the minimum of rooms that would be required by the hotel, and we were told that they have been talking about having 20 rooms.
Deborah wanted to know if they would set up the room the way we need it and Marsha said that they would be willing to do that.
DJ asked about the distance to the conference center, and we were told that it is very close and that you do not have to cross any streets.
After our discussion the motion carried unanimously.
Marsha and Cecily will move on with the contract.
Adjourn: We adjourned at 7:37 PM EST.
Respectfully submitted by, Betsy Grenevitch, GCB Secretary
GCB Chapter News
The Athens Chapter reported that at their August chapter meeting, Dorothy Griffin introduced herself as the outreach manager for the NFB Newsline Service. She shared the free audible universal access service for listeners who are blind, low-vision, and print-disabled. She shared the variety of audible services including weather alerts targeted to each listener's zip codes, job listings at websites such as usajobs.gov, magazines, and newspapers. She encouraged listeners to post emergency evacuation plans and bulletin listings to know what emergency plans posted around office buildings. Dorothy explained that listeners can dial into the services at different times of day such as mornings, daytime, and evenings. She also shared that a digital player and compatible services such as Amazon Alexa can be downloaded from a listener's computer to the person's devices.
The Athens chapter meetings are held on the fourth Saturday at 10:30 AM.
For more information about the Athens chapter, please contact Jerrie Toney at 706-461-1013, or via email at email@example.com.
The Augusta chapter meetings are held on the second Saturday, at 10:00 AM, at the Freedom County Library or on the phone.
For more information about the Augusta chapter please contact Deborah Lovell at 706-726-4054, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
East Georgia Chapter:
The East Georgia Chapter report that at their June meeting they played bingo.
Our chapter is taking on a project which we hope will make more people aware of Braille. Phil Jones has put together a Braille Project Committee, Our August chapter meeting will have a panel consisting of members of that Committee as well as Paul Edwards and Jane Carona from the Act Special Interest Affiliate Braille Revival League.
For more information about the East Georgia Chapter, please contact Phil Jones at 770-713-3306 or via email at Brilman1952@gmail.com.
Greater Hall County Chapter:
Greater Hall County Chapter phone meetings are held on the second Saturday at 11:00 AM.
The Greater Hall County Chapter reports that they voted not to meet the months of July and August. We were looking forward to our in person meeting the second Saturday in September. However, this may not happen because of COVID. We will have a phone meeting if this is not possible. We are looking forward to our guest speaker, Brian Donegan who is the Lions camp representative of the program called “Keep the Campfires Burning.”
Our hard working and dedicated President, Dianne Roberts is still working on her recent deceased mother’s trust. She is hoping to preside over our September meeting. We will all be happy to have her back with us again.
For more information about the Greater Hall County Chapter, please contact Judy Presley at 706-400-2185, or via email at Hoyal@windstream.net.
Northwest Georgia Chapter:
The Northwest Georgia Chapter reports that at their April meeting they heard from Neal Florence from Medi-Thrift Pharmacy to talk about the history of their organization, and the COVID shots. At their May meeting, they heard from John Logan from the Walker County Transit System to talk about what he wanted to happen with the transit system. At their July meeting, they heard from Bryan Hart from the Walker County Commissioner Board Post to talk about what was going on in their county. The Northwest chapter meetings are held on the second Tuesday, at the Bank of Lafayette Community Center which is located at 104 North Main Street in Lafayette, Georgia at 1:00 PM.
For more information about the Northwest Georgia Chapter, please contact Fred McDade at 706-278-4084.
Rome Floyd County Chapter:
The Rome Floyd County chapter meetings are held on the third Tuesday at 11:00 AM. This summer we met in person at the Tor taco Restaurant in Rome, Georgia.
For more information, please contact Tonia Clayton, at 706-346-8940 or via email at email@example.com.
The Savannah chapter meetings are held on the third Thursday in the conference room at J. C. Lewis Ford, 9505 Abercorn Street, Savannah, Georgia from 6:00 pm until 7:30 pm. For more information, please contact Marj Schneider at 912-352-1415, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
South Atlanta Chapter:
The South Atlanta chapter meetings are held on the second Tuesday, from 4:00 PM until 6:00 PM, at the Piccadilly Cafeteria, which is located at 2000 Crescent Center Boulevard, in Tucker, Georgia. For more information, please contact Brent Reynolds at 404-814-0768, or via email email@example.com.
Georgia Guide Dog Users News:
By Betsy Grenevitch
For more information about Georgia Guide Dog Users, contact Betsy Grenevitch at 678-862-3876, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
GCB Community Phone Calls
The Georgia Council of the Blind is holding community phone calls. The phone number for all the GCB community calls is 1-605-562-0400, and the access code is 780-5751, followed by the pound sign.
If you cannot get in, then use the alternative phone number. It is 1-717-275-8940 and the access code is 7805751, followed by the pound sign.
Here is the schedule for the GCB community phone calls.
Reading with Touch:
Betsy Grenevitch will discuss all things associated with Braille. This call will be on the second Monday of every month at 7:00 pm.
Praise and Prayer:
Mike Hall will lead us in praise and prayer on the third Tuesday of the month at 7:00 PM.
Mary Woodyard will lead us in different types of trivia games. This phone call will be on the third Thursday of every month at 7:00 PM.
GCB Book Club:
Debra Lovell and Judy Presley
Since the COVID epidemic, our GCB book club has been active for several months and we have read a wide variety of books. These include fiction, nonfiction, as well as biographies. Sometimes when you read a good book, you feel like you just must share it with others. This is what makes book clubs so much fun. That is why we encourage our members to suggest their favorite books and would love to have other book lovers out there to join us. We meet the fourth Thursday of each month at 7:30.
Comments About the American Council of the Blind, ACB, Conference and Convention:
Phil Jones from the East Georgia Chapter stated that he really enjoyed this year’s American Council of The Blind, ACB, Conference and Convention. He stated that it was one of the best conference and conventions ever. He stated that he thoroughly enjoyed the Hospitality Zoom Room. He stated that he also was thrilled to be able to vote remotely. He enjoyed the Sight and Sound Impaired sessions and the social. There were so many wonderful sessions that sometimes it was difficult to pick and choose. Be that as it may he enjoyed the sessions that he did attend. Phil liked the session about the Accessible Pharmacy and emergency preparedness. He liked the one about audible pedestrian safety signals. He enjoyed the Baby Boomer Trivia Night as well as other sessions.
Caesar Mattioli from the Athens Chapter stated that he liked the speech by the talking book reader. He liked the information about Spectrum Access.
Update from Cassie Love, GCB Scholarship Recipient:
Cassie Love states that she is working on her graduate degree in marriage and family therapy at Northcentral University. When she graduates and completes her practicum, she will be a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of Georgia. Cassie believes that access to mental health is very important for everyone but can be especially valuable for those with special needs or disabilities. In particular, the recent expansion of mental health services to the virtual platform makes mental health even more accessible. Of course, accessibility is a very important feature for individuals who are visually impaired and often deal with chronic transportation issues. Upon graduation and licensure, Cassie plans to volunteer some of her therapy services to support the visually impaired community. Also, she believes her position as someone who is visually impaired puts her in a unique perspective and understanding the challenges of the visually impaired and disabled community.
Update from Tiana Gates, GCB Scholarship Recipient:
Hello! My name is Tiana Gates, and I have congenial glaucoma. I have been going to Emory in Atlanta, GA since I was 3 days old, and I am 23 years of age today. My first surgery was operated on me at only 6 days old. Today, throughout my life I have endured a total of 35 eye surgeries. Doctors informed my family and I that I would not be able to swim or do things other kids did. But I never went by man’s words, I went by the words of the man upstairs. I am a strong believer in faith. Faith is like a grocery bag at the grocery store. When we see that a bag is about to rip from a heavy grocery, we double bag it. The bag is like our faith when things come at us heavily, we must double up on our faith and not let it get broken.
I am currently a senior at Columbus State University. I will graduate this December with my Bachelor of Science in Mathematics degree and a minor in Data Analytics. My last semester of undergraduate school only consists of 2 classes. I am a member of the National Council of Negro Women, Collegiate Women of CSU where I am the Financial Committee Chair, the National Society of Leadership and Success and the secretary of the Creations Gospel. I also just completed an internship with the LaGrange Housing Authority, substitute teach for Muscogee County, work part time at Publix, and I run a math tutoring business called T X Tutoring. So, as you can see, I DO NOT let my unique difference hinder me from being successful. After graduating in December, I plan on continuing my education by earning my Master of Arts in Teaching degree online and afterward earn my doctorate degree!
If I could give advice to anyone who has a visual impairment or any type of impairment, it would be to do what is easiest and best FOR YOU. Do not consider what others say or think, make every obstacle easy for YOU. We are just as capable of doing things just as others if not better than everyone else. It may take us some time, but if we EXCEL, that’s all that matters. We are different, but we are different for a reason. Nobody would have been able to handle our different situations just as great as we have, and that’s why we were chosen to live our great lives. Yes, we will have our impairments for our lifetimes, we are who we are and that is a group of strong, intelligent individuals who are different from others but more because of good reasoning instead of bad.
Georgia Council of the Blind 2021 Conference and Convention Announcement:
The Georgia Council of the Blind November 2021 Conference and Convention will be held in person in Cartersville, Georgia. The theme is, ‘GCB: Together Again’. The hotel is the Courtyard Marriott in Cartersville, and the Saturday events will be held at the Clarence Brown Conference Center on the same property. The Courtyard Marriott features a Bistro and a Starbucks on site. You may also sign up for a Grab-and-Go breakfast including three options listed on registration including a vegetarian option, coffee, or juice. Reserve your room for just $109 plus tax. The deadline to receive this group rate is October 15. Call 678-721-1660 and press 2 for reservations to reserve your room and mention that you are with Georgia Council of the Blind, or click the following link if you are viewing this online:
If you need to apply for a stipend to offset the cost of your hotel room, please contact Amanda Wilson at 770-547-4700, or via email at email@example.com. A small sub-committee has been formed to disperse these stipend funds. We want as many people as possible to be able to attend this convention. The registration fee this year is $25.00 for the 2021 GCB Conference and Convention. You can pay through PayPal, with a small service charge, or send a check to P.O. Box 381, Trion, GA 30753. You can also pay in person at registration the day of the Conference and Convention. If you would like to purchase any meals, please the deadline for registration is November 5, 2021. Please visit georgiacounciloftheblind.org/register to register.
Here is a brief overview of some of the convention events:
Friday, November 12, 2021:
Registration will open at 1:00 PM on Friday afternoon, followed by an Audio Described tour of the nearby, ‘Booth Western Museum’. At 2:00 PM. The exhibit hall will be open throughout the afternoon for folks to speak to exhibitors.
Friday afternoon, Georgia Guide Dog Users will be holding their meeting. After an action-packed afternoon, prepare to be delighted by a welcome reception featuring the guest of honor, Kay McGill, who will be retiring after many years of service. We would like to honor her on this special night for all she has done for blind and visually impaired people in Georgia. Sign up for the welcome reception meal for just $15 to enjoy chicken fingers, nachos, fruit plate, vegetable plate, and meatballs.
Please note: In lieu of a hospitality room this year, individual donors in GCB are partnering with the Cartersville Visitors Bureau to pack welcome bags full of donated goodies. To contribute something to the gift bags, please contact Cecily Nipper, Junior at 470-218-7885 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the welcome reception, spend some time getting re-acquainted around the fire pit; have a drink at the bar; or just find a quiet corner to catch up with old friends, and maybe make some new ones.
After a brief time on Saturday for last-minute registrations, the much anticipated in-person membership meeting will commence to conduct the business of the organization. Elections and Amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws, along with featured speakers and spotlights from our President, Alice Ritchhart, will enliven the morning. These events will be held at the Clarence Brown Conference Center in a room generously sponsored by Vanda Pharmaceuticals.
Turn in your award nominations for the awards’ banquet featuring a keynote speaker and a boxed lunch from Panera Bread. You may choose from among options listed on the registration sheet, including sandwiches as well as vegetarian options. Stick around for a program by Charlie Kinnune, as well as Brian Finney, Founder and President representing our sponsors, Democracy Live. They will be speaking to us about electronic absentee voting options that could be available to Georgians with the help of advocacy and our lawmakers. Many states are achieving independent, private absentee voting for individuals with disabilities. Come hear about what Georgia can do!
There will be two concurrent afternoon sessions following Democracy Live. Those who wish to may adjourn to the classroom at the Clarence Brown for a presentation by Shirley Robinson about the changes that are going on at Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation. Designated counselors will now serve all blind people in their respective districts. Come hear how this plan has the potential to enhance services for blind Georgians. At the same time, Nathan Coflin, Outreach Specialist at Senior Medicare Patrol will bring us helpful hints as to how to detect and avoid scams and Medicare Fraud. This program applies to everyone, not just seniors or Medicare recipients. Although prevention is their goal, anyone can fall for a scam, and when that happens, Nathan’s company will also step in to do what they can to help.
The convention will close with a board meeting. Thank you for reading, and we hope you will join us as we get Together Again in November.
Georgia Council of the Blind First-Timers Scholarship Guidelines and Procedures
This fall GCB is offering its members who have never attended the organization’s conference and convention the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to cover expenses to attend this annual event, to be held in 2021 On Friday, November 12 and Saturday, November 13 in Cartersville, Georgia. Applicants are required to be 18 years of age or older; must be blind or visually impaired; should be members in good standing of GCB; and have never attended the GCB conference and convention, either as a member or non-member.
A member interested in applying for this scholarship should draft a letter of application and should obtain a short letter of reference from his or her chapter president. If he or she is not a member of a GCB chapter, the member at-large representative or a leader in the blind community can be asked to provide this reference letter. Both letters should be submitted to the scholarship committee for consideration by October 7. The deadline for letters to be received is approximately one month in advance of the GCB conference and convention.
The application letter should include:
· Discussion by the applicant of his or her background, education, and how long he or she has been blind or has had low vision.
· A description by the applicant of his or her involvement and contributions to a GCB chapter, to the local blind community or to the larger community.
· What the applicant hopes to gain personally by attending the GCB conference and convention.
· How the applicant hopes to contribute in the future to his or her GCB chapter or to the local blind community because of participation in this event.
The first-timers scholarship recipient is expected to attend and participate in all sessions during the GCB conference and convention. He or she will be introduced during the opening session and will be asked to speak briefly. Following the conference and convention the recipient is expected to submit an article reflecting on the experience for publication in The GCB Digest and is expected to give an oral report at a GCB chapter meeting, a board meeting or at another GCB event. Failure to submit an article and provide an oral report will result in the recipient being ineligible to apply for GCB scholarships in the future.
The scholarship committee of GCB will meet immediately following the October 7, 2021, deadline for first-timer applications to review those that have been submitted. The committee will determine the dollar amount to be awarded, given the cost of registration, hotel accommodations and transportation to the conference and convention. The scholarship recipient will be notified as soon as possible and, if needed, the committee will assist him or her in deciding to attend the event.
Chapter presidents and other leaders should encourage members to apply for this scholarship.
The letter of application and letter of reference should be emailed to scholarship committee chair Marj Schneider at: email@example.com.
For questions call Marj Schneider at 912-352-1415
The Ins and Outs of Coffee:
By Cecily Nipper, Junior
During the summer and fall of this year, I facilitated an eight-week series on the ins and outs of coffee on the ACB Community call schedule. This call has covered a variety of topics, including roast and grind as well as coffee origins in the many different countries in the “coffee belt” surrounding the equator. Here are a few of the key thoughts from the coffee calls. Whether you frequent a chain, a small local coffee shop, or choose to make your coffee at home (maybe for the first time during this time of COVID), there is a coffee niche for you. Don’t believe it? Read on.
Early in the calls, people were invited to share how they take their coffee. Although a few people had favorite drinks at the local coffee shop or chain such as Frappuccino, espresso, or something in between, most said they took their coffee at home, especially during the past two years. The Keurig machine is very common, and there are a few that are more accessible than others. Selecting a machine that has buttons is very important for accessibility, but even one new Keurig machine (the Keurig K-Supreme Plus: $199) is operated in this way, although it can also be run by a smart phone application. On the more affordable side, a Chulux single serve coffee maker can be purchased on Amazon for $39; however, an accessibility review has not been conducted by a person who is blind or visually impaired as far as I know. In terms of accessibility, a manual grinder exists that clicks into place at each grind size to make it easy to adjust for those with low vision.
When selecting coffee, a guiding principle of these calls was the blind taste test, and the encouragement to try something new. However, no matter your favorite: from Folger’s to Brazilian, from automatic to French press, find your groove and go with it. Some of the most special coffee memories may be very humble ones. At my late-grandfather’s house, I remember drinking instant coffee with milk and pink sweetener. There is no substitute for those precious sensory memories. Many effective ways exist to make coffee without a lot of equipment. Turkish and Percolator coffee is made right on the stove top, while a simple pitcher and plunger is all you need for French Press. Which method you’re using dictates the grind, so automatic drip grind for an automatic machine, a coarser grind for French Press, and espresso grind for your espresso machine. Much to my surprise, a medium roast grind ground to the very smallest grind possible comprises Turkish coffee, because the coffee grounds stay in the bottom of your cup rather than being filtered out. This provides a thick, rich cup of coffee, but can be challenging to master.
Some popular suggestions were a recipe for a cold brew cocktail which is listed at the end of this article, as well as taking a dark roast cup of regular coffee and adding a cinnamon stick and heavy cream for a decadent afternoon pick-me-up. Skinny syrup was a brand recommended for those who want extra flavor while living with Diabetes. Stevia and Truvia are low-sugar sweeteners with less aftertaste. To double up on flavor, use flavored coffee grounds that match the coffee syrup, or incorporate ground spices into the grounds before brewing for extra punch without added sugar. Coming in at most highly recommended were the San Francisco Bay Decaf French Roast pods, which are accessible from Amazon, have a recyclable filter, and feature Swiss Water Processing for decaffeination, meaning you’re enjoying rich coffee while leaving out astringent chemicals.
For those who wanted to branch out even further, the coffee series featured a week on tea, where the basics of matcha and chai were discussed. Taking requests took us right back to coffee, though, with requested topics ranging from coffee shop culture to coffee storage and subscription services. May this article inspire you to try something different in your morning cup.
These are just a few of the topics covered in this eight-week series on coffee.
Irish Cream Cold Brew Cocktail Recipe
For the cold brew:
Here are some instructions on how to make your own cold brew. You may also choose to buy it already made. If you do this, please note that it is very strong, and even if you like black coffee, you will likely need to water down commercial cold brew as it is more of a concentrate than a ready-to-drink beverage. If you’re using pre-made cold brew, dilute as needed to achieve the strength you like, then skip down to the cocktail recipe.
A cold brew maker of your choice (I use the Primula Pace Cold Brew Maker, available on Amazon for $10.99)
Coffee grounds ground to automatic drip, which is how most coffee is ground unless otherwise noted. (I use a half/cafe mixture of five tablespoons decaf coffee, three tablespoons regular coffee or flavored coffee, and one tablespoon chicory.)
Place the coffee grounds in the cold brew machine filter. Lock in the cold brew filter. Slowly pour water over the grounds in a circular motion until you can lift the lid and feel that the water is about three quarters of an inch from the top of the machine. Place the lid on and leave in your refrigerator for 24-36 hours, depending on how strong you’d like your coffee.
Pour the finished cold brew into a quart jar to store, mixing well before enjoying as the stronger coffee will sink to the bottom.
For your cocktail:
1 ½ cups of cold brew coffee
2 tablespoons (or to taste) of Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur
If you’d rather not use liqueur, feel free to use Irish cream flavored syrup, available online
3 tablespoons liquid creamer of your choice (I use hazelnut)
Top with Redi whip and drizzle with caramel syrup and chocolate syrup
Computers For the Blind: A Valuable Community Resource
By Marj Schneider
I’ve been a computer user since the 1980s, but I still appreciate how much this technology has changed my life and the lives of other blind and low vision individuals. In contrast with people who are sighted, I think it has more profoundly affected our lives more than theirs. The choices I have now for communicating, learning and employment simply didn’t exist during the first few decades of my life.
During my years as a computer user, I’ve had to purchase new ones, both to keep up with the changes in technology and because machines stop working well, or at some point they just die. This spring, I found myself facing that situation, so I used some of that government stimulus money to buy myself a new HP desktop computer, which also forced me to make the transition to windows 10 (I’m always slow to transition to a new operating system). Fortunately, I had the funds as well as the resources to learn the new software I was starting to use.
Though I like my new desktop computer, I realize that if it needs repairs or I want to travel with a computer, I will need to have a laptop on hand. I knew the cost of a new laptop was more than I could afford this summer, so I turned to a wonderful resource available to us as blind or low vision individuals, ‘Computers for The Blind’ (CFTB).
The founder of this nonprofit organization, Bob Langford, was blinded in an accident at age 16. Instead of quitting, he worked hard and after he graduated from high school, he continued with schooling and earned a doctorate in Vocational Rehabilitation. Later in life, Bob received his first computer and discovered how computers could overcome many obstacles.
Bob said "For the first time, I could communicate privately. I was in control of when I wanted to read. I could independently manage my own finances.” He began to experience freedom and independence he had never dreamed of before. He wanted to share this gift with others with visual impairments, and with help from close friends he began to find computers to give to others. His efforts started what would become Computers for The Blind.
The organization’s mission is to open the world of information technology to persons who are blind or visually impaired by providing computer equipment, software, and training. They receive donated computers and other parts and refurbish them. They then set up accessibility software that is customized for each consumer and other software that helps each person navigate the computer. Since their beginning in 1995, CFTB has provided over 16,000 computers and they don't plan to slow down!
Computers are donated by corporations and smaller businesses and are then cleaned and rebuilt by skilled volunteers. The cost to blind and visually impaired consumers is modest, with desktop machines starting at $145 and laptops starting at $200. An individual who wants a computer chooses a particular configuration and can even add additional options at minimal cost such as more RAM, a bigger hard drive, or a larger monitor. Grants are available to SSDI or SSI recipients and for veterans and spouses of veterans, and such discounts bring the cost down even further.
The computer is loaded with either JAWS, for voicing what is on the screen, or ZoomText for magnification, depending on which software a person needs. Those programs can be used by the recipient for a year, at which time a home license needs to be purchased from Freedom Scientific, which produces both programs. Each computer comes loaded with other applications as well, including a student version of Microsoft Office.
Computers For the Blind offers various resources and guidance for people who are acquiring a computer for the first time or who haven’t used one since their vision loss. The organization’s staff members are very helpful in answering questions about the computers they offer and will repair machines that develop problems after they are shipped to a consumer.
The application process with CFTB is easy and straightforward and the documentation required is minimal. Applicants aren’t asked about their income or about how they will use a computer. The approach of CFTB is very refreshing, much easier, and friendlier than other situations where I’ve had to complete applications and provide documentation.
Though I’ve ordered the laptop I want, I haven’t received my computer just yet. It takes a few weeks for the machine I will be sent to be cleaned, built, and shipped to me. Since it will already have been used for some period, I don’t expect to receive the latest and fastest of computers, but the newest and fastest thing isn’t always the most important. What I will get is a reliable backup computer that I’m sure will meet my needs, and if something goes wrong early on, I know I can turn to CFTB for help.
I am so thankful that Computers for The Blind exists and has helped so many people in our community. I recommend you take advantage of what they offer when you next need a computer but don’t need one that’s the latest and greatest. Also, if you know anyone who is blind or has low vision, do let them know about this opportunity. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Computers For the Blind
1201 S Sherman St Suite 206
Richardson, TX 75081
GCB Braille Project Committee:
By Phillip Jones
GCB is forming a new committee to promote Braille, whose purpose is to promote the teaching of and using of Braille. We are looking forward to having committee meetings which of course will be open to the membership. Phil Jones is glad that so many people in Gcb are interested in promoting Braille!
For more information or to join this committee please contact Phil Jones at 770-713-3306,
Promoting Your GCB Chapter or Lions Club:
By Mike Hall
In the last Digest, I had some fun with promotional stories from my time as an employee of Fox97. What I would like to do this time is to share some ideas for promoting our GCB chapters or local Lions Clubs. But first, how about two more promotional stories from the archives of Fox97.
Fox97 started out as a local Gainesville radio station. Eventually, the station was bought by a California company known as Shamrock Broadcasting and owned by Roy Disney, nephew to Walt Disney. The company wanted to make Fox97 an Atlanta radio station by increasing the signal to Atlanta. To make that happen, a tall broadcast tower was built south of Gainesville. Standing at 1763 feet, at the time it was built, that tower was the tallest man-made structure in Georgia. While the tower was going up, the station endeavored to reach potential advertisers in the Atlanta area. Along with information about the station and the new format, which would be announced at a kickoff party, prospective advertisers received paper models of the tower under construction. When a new piece was added, a new paper model piece was sent out. If a part was defective and replaced, a new paper piece was sent out with instructions to replace the defective one. When the tower was finished, the last paper piece was sent out with an invitation on top inviting the recipient to the kickoff party at the Ritz Carlton Ball Room in Atlanta.
One of the neat promotional items the new station sent out later to advertisers and listeners was a coffee cup that would light up when filled with a hot beverage. It would light up with a message something like "Good morning, Atlanta from Fox97 and the morning show."
The purpose of these products was to bring attention to the radio station. That's exactly what we want to do for our chapters and Lions Clubs. When people know who we are and what we are doing, they may want to support us or get involved. We may not have the budget to send out coffee mugs or to do mass mailings, but there are some inexpensive things we can do.
Probably a good place to start in promoting your organization is by contacting the local newspaper. Most papers will have information on their website for sending in press releases. Press releases are best used for a special event you may be doing such as a White Cane Safety Day in October or if you have a guest speaker with an interesting topic. A program designed to attract seniors who are losing their eyesight is a story that would be of interest to a good segment of the community. My press releases are not fancy but if you would like to see one, let me know. When you send a press release to the paper, be sure to make a follow up phone call a few days later and invite the newspaper to send a reporter.
Most newspapers also have a community calendar or some type of events page. The Gainesville Times has a Get Out section that lists community events. The community page is a good place to list your meetings. At one time our newspaper had a listing of all the civic clubs and that is where you could find information about our local chapter.
A similar procedure can be used in contacting local radio stations. Send a press release and follow up with a phone call or email. Radio stations run 10 second Public Service Announcements or PSAs for nonprofit organizations. Since many radio stations have gone to satellite and automated programming, it may not be as easy for an announcement to get on, but it doesn't cost anything to try. Have someone in your chapter or club be available in case the station wants to do an interview for a news or talk program.
Brochures are always popular. The Georgia Council of the Blind has a brochure that can be used, or you may create one for your chapter. My chapter, the Greater Hall Chapter of the Visually Impaired, has printed business cards that tell who we are, where we meet and gives contact information. These cards can be left at doctor's offices, dentist offices, beauty shops or handed out to individuals. It has been suggested that we should have used large print, but this is a standard size business card that is easy to handle. The print Digest should contain a picture of the card if I am able to get it to scan properly.
Finally, the best promotion you can do is word of mouth. Tell someone about your chapter, how you enjoy the meetings and what the organization means to you. When you invite someone to attend as a guest, make sure they are welcomed and accommodated throughout the meeting.
What attracted you to GCB? One day I'll tell my story and I would like to hear yours. Mike Hall
Judy Presley, Chair, PO Box #231, Helen GA 30545, 706-400-2185, Hoyal@windstream.net
The nominations shall include the name of the candidate, plus the reason the candidate deserves the award. Nominations for all awards shall be submitted to the respective award committee chairperson in writing (including email) no later than October 15, 2021.
GCB Awards Criteria and Committee Members:
The Gerald Pye Community Service Award:
The recipient must be an active legally blind member of GCB in good standing. He or she must have demonstrated superior service to his or her community in several ways that exemplify the work of Gerald Pye. The candidate must be nominated in writing by a GCB member who knows firsthand of the candidate's community services. Examples of this service must be included in the written recommendation.
Cecily Nipper Junior, Chair, 21 Butler Bridge Road, Covington GA 30016, 470 218 7885, email@example.com
Teresa Brenner, 912-247-0446, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy Morris, 706 466 2253, email@example.com
The Walter R. McDonald Award:
The recipient is an outstanding individual with low vision, who has, through his/her leadership and service, contributed significantly to the betterment of the blind and low vision community, and has demonstrated by deeds and achievements his/her dedication to the principles incident to blindness espoused and practiced by the late Walter R. McDonald. The recipient may or may not be a member of the GCB.
Deborah Lovell, Chair, 3215 Lake Forest Drive, Augusta GA 30909, 706-726-4054, firstname.lastname@example.org
Amanda Wilson, 770-547-4700, moonrocks@!bellsouth.net
D J McIntyre, 678-343-7550, email@example.com
The Rhoda Walker Award (suggested by Rhoda's sister, Helen Wasileski):
The recipient can be a blind or sighted individual. Services rendered must be of non-paying status. Services may be any endeavor in the field of teaching, service, and betterment of life for the blind. The recipient must provide public awareness through speaking, seminars, and/or demonstration. There must be involvement of the educational field/teaching braille. The recipient must push any innovation involving blindness or blind people.
Hoyal Presley, Chair, PO Box #231, Helen GA 30545, 706-878-2962, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeremy Adams, 706-200-2087, Adamsj154@gmail.com
Phil Jones, 770-713-3306, Brilman1952@gmail.com
The June Willis Guiding Eyes Award: The recipient must be a sighted GCB member who is known to GCB members through attendance at GCB state activities, and through his/her willing assistance and service to the blind and visually impaired.
Keith Morris, Chair, 3359 White Oak Road, Thomson GA 30824, 706-799-5225, email@example.com
Teresa Brenner, 912-247-0446, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Hall770-532-9708, N4hgo1@gmail.com
ACB’s Get Up & Get Moving Campaign
Over 4 million Americans experience severe vision loss and blindness, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), puts a $51.4B burden on our annual economy. Statistics show that one out of three Americans with diabetes experience signs of diabetic retinopathy, now the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults. The negative impact felt by the COVID-19 pandemic, has brought to the surface many of the challenges to inclusion and opportunity for many individuals experiencing blindness.
The driving force behind the social and economic burden of blindness is the onset of additional debilitating conditions, morbidity, and lost productivity. Collectively, these forces stand in the way of inclusion and independence, deeply weaving their way into the physical, psychological, and social fabric of life for people who are blind and have low vision. As these harmful barriers assume an even greater impact amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has recognized the potential to elevate a national campaign focused on health and well-being.
Tony Stephens, the director of the ACB Development and Communications team, said, “the more we engage individuals most at risk, the better we can create a pathway to empowerment, and the more they can play a leadership role toward securing full and equal inclusion and independence in our society”.
The campaign aims to increase physical well-being by undertaking a health and wellness campaign entitled “Get Up & Get Moving,” bringing together partners from the public and private sectors to create opportunities for physical activity through safe peer-to-peer and social events, leveraging technology, when possible, to make mobility easy.
The ACB Campaign committee chairperson, Tom Tobin, affirms, “the more we get up and get moving, the more we can come together and take back our health, showing the world that we can break down the barriers to independence when empowered with the right knowledge, tools, and desire.”
The last 19 months is a powerful indicator of how a diminished physical, emotional, and social lifestyle can place a heavy weight on health and wellness. Now is the time we must drive a national campaign that gets Americans who are blind and low vision, up and moving.
The 2021 Get up and Get Moving kick-off event will be on White Cane Day October 15th! Stay tuned for more information.
There Are Two Sides to Every ‘Ski Button’ Story:
By Janet Di Nola Parmerter
With October being white cane month, I thought this story showing the value of the white cane, would be apropos for this issue of the Digest.
Picture 1: Janet, wearing her blind skier bib, races behind her guide. Picture 2: The now famous, ‘I love skiing’ button.
Since I began losing my sight at nine years old, I adjusted to most situations with a grain of salt. Well, perhaps it was more like a pound of humor. At first glance, most people don’t think I have vision loss, and often say to me, “You look so normal”, and I want to ask, “What exactly does normal look like?”
For many years I worked as a runway model in New York City, and successfully hid my vision loss, evidenced by the fact I never fell off a runway or walked through a mirror! It seems I didn’t fit the stereotypical view of a “blind person” with dark glasses and a white cane, but if people knew I couldn’t see, I’m sure cynical comments would have flown. Many times I laughed to myself, imagining terse comments like, a blind model? Get real…that would never happen! Or, come on…who’d hire her, the “Love Is Blind” poster people? Yet, in an effort to achieve a “normal” life, I finally attended the Denville New Jersey School for the Blind, and was trained to use an assistive device designed for independent mobility. Though it was small in size, for me it was a huge mental obstacle.
When walking about, a simple folding white cane with a red tip is a tool widely used by the blind and low vision community.
To begin using this fabulous aid, first, I needed to jump a few self-imposed hurdles. The first hurdle was fear. In New York City, I felt using a white cane would make me an easy target for muggers and nefarious people. The second and biggest hurdle was my vanity. It was very, very humbling for me to use my cane in public. At first I was somewhat embarrassed unfolding it, and often left it in the car or held it folded under my arm. Whenever Kim, my dear friend, saw me without my cane she firmly questioned me,
“Janet, where’s your cane?” Over and over she asked the same question until my embarrassment waned. Now, together with my “red tipped white knight,” we have won my independence. Since January 2000 B.C., (Before Cane) I’ve felt an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders, while navigating the twisting paths of life with a simple tap, tap, tap.
Prior to my using the cane, people were unaware of how difficult it was for me to see and accomplish ordinary tasks. Recognizing or greeting friends constantly created unpleasant situations. After I heard a familiar voice, I’d happily say hello to my friends, then, the next day I walked right by them without saying a word. Of course, they thought I was deliberately ignoring them, walking around with my nose in the air, not even acknowledging them. I was called “stuck-up” for passing them without as much as a smile. Some accused me of feeling superior to them while “living in my own little world.” My friends never knew my seemingly distant attitude was because I really didn’t see them. How could they know I spent every second analyzing each step of my surroundings? How could they understand I was using every sound, smell, feeling, and what little sight I had, as a means to figure out my location?
In order to determine what was going on around me, I’d scrutinize forms, colors, sizes, and use contrast to pretend I saw things. My life was like a huge mental puzzle that had hundreds of pieces, with every minute someone adding new bits to the complex puzzle. For me, everyday happenings were enormous difficulties that I patiently learned to deal with.
Take shopping, the average person loves to shop but I detest it – it is truly the nightmare of my life. It was, and is basically a major chore. It’s right up there with pairing and folding socks. Searching for correct aisles, finding sizes, matching colors, styles, prices…oh my, just thinking about it makes me groan. Then after finally finding the right item, the nightmare gets worse if you have to pay with cash! Sad to say, some unscrupulous cashiers gave me incorrect change, hoping the innocent person with low vision would never know.
After discussing these pitiful money problems with my doctor, Eleanor Faye, she suggested folding my bills. Using my hands to feel the specific fold of each denomination would inform me which bill I handed the cashier. A five dollar bill had a left diagonal fold, a ten a right diagonal fold, a twenty dollar bill a horizontal fold and a one dollar bill remained unfolded. Until I started using this folding system, I was often handed back change for a lesser bill. But folding the money worked brilliantly! When given the wrong change, I’d say, “Oh I’m sorry, I believe I gave you a ten dollar bill not a five. If you look in your register, there’s a ten folded just like this one, would you like me to find it?” Immediately the cashier would say, “No, that’s fine,” and I’d be handed back the correct change. NEVER ONCE did the cashier check the money drawer. Kudos to you Dr. Faye!
Last, but not least, at the top of my “why I hate shopping” list is coping with difficult salespeople who refuse to believe I can’t see. Often, because I didn’t look blind, or at that time unfortunately I didn’t use a cane, salespeople neglected to help me find an item or tell me its price. There were many, many occasions B.C. (Before Cane) when I requested assistance finding something or to have a price read and I’d receive answers like:
“That’s in aisle number whatever…”
“Why don’t you just wear your glasses?”
“It’s right over there!” Or,
“The price is right there on the ticket! Put on your glasses.”
After telling one individual I was unable to read the price, he actually laughed and said, “Don’t tell me, you’re just like my wife, too vain to wear your glasses.”
Frequently, I‘d simply put the item back and leave. From youth, my mother would say: “YOU NEED TO BE MORE ASSERTIVE! JUST KEEP TELLING THEM YOU CAN’T SEE! Don’t let them do that to you! Speak up!”
Over and over my mother would defend me to salespeople while encouraging me to stand up for myself.
Now that you have all the above seemingly useless information you will fully understand the shocking main point of this nightmarish, “There ARE two sides to every SKI BUTTON story!
While attending a New York ski show at Rockland Community College, again before using my white cane, I passed a long rectangular table where you could purchase ski buttons. The cute buttons were lined up neatly in straight rows, like little tin soldiers. Someone told me that around the outside of each button it read “I Love Skiing.” Yet, what made the button so adorable was the picture in the middle, there was a red heart with two skis going through it. As an avid skier, I decided to buy a few buttons. Picking one up, I asked the salesman the cost. Sadly, I received a familiar response; he pointed to the sign with the price and walked away. I looked around to no avail for my friend, hoping she would read me the price and I’d be done with this guy. No chance. Standing in front of his table, I was alone with only my thoughts and the desire to walk away. Before I turned to leave, my mother’s words suddenly came to mind, “Be assertive and tell them you can’t see! Don’t let them do that to you!” At once I realized she was right. I needed to stand up for myself. “O.K. Mom,” I mused, “This one is for you.” Firmly planting my feet, I waited until he walked by, cleared my throat, and said in a mild voice, “I’m sorry I can’t read that, I am visually impaired. Could you please tell me the price of this ski button?" He picked up the price tag, laid it on the bridge of my nose, then put it down and walked away to help someone else. I could hardly believe it; this was absolutely the rudest salesperson I’d EVER met. Quickly folding my arms in protest, I decided I wasn’t going anywhere until he came back.
As soon as I heard him come toward me I called out, “Excuse me! I STILL can NOT read it even that close. The print is much too small. Could you just tell me how much the button is?” Immediately he whipped around, pointed to a large poster board sign with the price and words in giant letters, and then disappeared as fast as he came.
Shocked at his insensitivity, I was more determined than ever to stand my ground.
Abruptly, I called him over and tersely repeated, “I know that sign is large print, but I still can’t see it over there. Now, just tell me how much the button is!!!?” With one hand he reached behind himself, picked up the poster, plopped it down directly in front of me right on top of all the buttons and took off again.
For the first time in my life I was SPEECHLESS! As I felt my cheeks become hot with embarrassment and anger, my blood pressure shot up and my frustration level was off the chart.
Thankfully, at that moment I was distracted by a man who suddenly appeared alongside me. He quickly grabbed a button, tossed a bill on the table, and briskly walked away. At the risk of looking like a thief, I picked up the bill he had thrown on the table and closely examined it. After realizing it was a one dollar bill, I plucked another dollar from my pocket, threw both our bills on the table, grabbed my own button, turned in a huff and stomped away!
A few minutes later I found my friend, and in frustration I grumbled to her, “Sylvia, I’ve just met the rudest salesperson EVER! All I wanted was to buy a ski button, but, I had to faceoff with the captain of RUDE! This salesman ABSOLUTELY takes the cake for being obstinate. He is the worst, most inconsiderate salesperson I’ve EVER met in my entire life! He REFUSED to tell me the price of this button” and I went on to relate to her the rest of the story. When I finally took a breath and the steam had stopped shooting from my ears, Sylvia asked me where I bought the cute button. I pointed to the table at the end of the aisle. Sylvia stared at the table in silence then dropping her head to her chest, closing her eyes she shook her head slowly from side to side. In a few seconds, she opened her eyes again and turned to face me.
To my horror she softly moaned, “Janet, all the signs say, “WE ARE DEAF MUTES; COULD YOU PLEASE MAKE ANY DONATION TO OUR DEAF ASSOCIATION!”
My mouth dropped open; I was mortified!!! The first time I attempt to be REALLY assertive and MAKE the salesperson tell me how much an item is he turns out to be MUTE! Thanks Mom! So much for being assertive!!!
It seems reasonable to think he could probably read my lips and was equally frustrated. Throughout the years I’ve often laughed to myself, imagining him signing the story to his friends. “And the persistent, crazy blind girl kept saying, “WOULD YOU JUST TELL ME HOW MUCH THE SKI BUTTONS ARE?”
Therefore, the title really fits because there were definitely, ‘two sides’ to this ski button story! email@example.com