GCB Digest Fall 2005 (Text Version)
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, not a hand out!
President: Marsha Farrow
102 N. Elizabeth Street
Summerville, GA 30767
Toll Free: 877-667-6815
Editor: Ann Sims, 3361 Whitney Avenue
Hapeville, GA 30354, 404-767-1792
Assistant Editor: Jerrie Ricks
1305 Chester Place
McDonough, GA 30252
678-432-2670; E-Mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PRESIDENT's MESSAGE: By Marsha Farrow …. 3
LAS Vegas: What An Experience!
by Valerie Thomas ................................................ 5
REFLECTIONS of the 2005 GCB State
Convention: by Members of GCB .......................... 6
YAPPERS 2005: by Linda Cox ………………….... 18
Letter from George B. ……………………………… 23
Memorial Service: …………………………............. 24
Chapter News: …………………………….............. 32
Georgia Council of the Blind adopts Georgia Council of the Blind Lions: by William Holley ………......... 35
2005 GCB State Convention Special Awards: Submitted by Anne and Don Dilley……………….. 37
2005 Resolutions Report: by Alice Ritchhart ……. 40
Beep Ball, The Start of a Wonderful Partnership
with The ASPIRE Coalition: by Anne Wheeler ….. 42
News Briefs: Submitted by Ann Sims and
Jerrie Ricks ………………………………………….. 47
ANNOUNCEMENTS: ………………………………. 54
Pencils, Five Cents: Categorical Rehabilitation Services: Priceless!
By Marsha Farrow
Let’s all take a moment to catch our breath! We have enjoyed and been challenged by the information we were presented at our 2005 convention. The YAP participants reminded us of our future and the responsibilities that we all bear in making their world a more accepting place with increasing opportunities. While we had fun and certainly enjoyed ourselves, we cannot forget the enormous hurdles ahead in the battle to preserve the Rehabilitation Services and Social Security Program benefits for people who have visual impairments. Most of us have felt the weight of concern regarding these major legislative proposals and pondered seriously how these changes will truly impact our lives both now and in the future.
As your president, I have had many opportunities this year to gain further understanding regarding the distribution of funding for Project Independence and rehabilitation services for persons of all ages with vision loss. In March, 2005 at the Older Blind Contractors meeting in Alexandria, VA, professionals in blindness services had no real knowledge of how the changes in the federally funded Rehabilitation Services Agency (RSA) would impact the state and local level. The jury is still out on the domino effect that is bound to happen as a result of major federal structural changes to RSA.
In July, we realized there was no time to waste and we unified our efforts. We marched proudly along side our National Federation and Deaf-Blind brothers and sisters in Washington D.C. and later in Atlanta. We all chanted and carried signs to clearly proclaim that we insist on the right to have the proper training from properly trained professionals. Furthermore, these professionals must have personal involvement with individuals who are visually impaired in overcoming the barriers presented by “real life experience”.
In Atlanta we reminisced on the past lot of the blind as beggars and pencil sellers. We must all utilize our “collective power of the pencil” to send e-mails, letters, and documentations of personal experiences to inform our legislators of the successes in and continued benefit of categorical RSA services. “Beggars really cannot be choosers”, however, we can all stand together to preserve our choices in our current programs and enhance the rehabilitation choices for those bright young minds who will follow behind us.
In conclusion I would like to share that I have been bestowed a tremendous honor. I was selected by RSA's John Hagar to travel to Washington, DC again on August 23-25 to have input into the new RSA program structure. The RSA Monitoring Conference will consist of individuals from all over the U.S. who are stakeholders in the reorganizing of RSA. In Washington, in Georgia and anywhere I go, I will chant again and again in my heart and for all of us: Pencils five cents: categorical rehab services: priceless!
LAS VEGAS: WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!
By Valerie Thomas
I learned in May that I had been awarded the ACB’s First-Timer’s Award. This was exciting news to me and I immediately began making the necessary arrangements to get there.
The official opening of the ACB convention began Sunday evening when we heard from President Chris Gray and other speakers. The new life-time members were recognized, and the roll call of the states was done. The main sessions of the convention were held in the mornings and the tours and programs of the special interest affiliates were held in the afternoons. There were various activities in the evenings such as socials sponsored by different affiliates, a gospel sing-along, a described movie night, and the annual banquet.
I participated in several employment workshops and seminars where I learned some valuable tips on how to find jobs. Also, I was able to do a little networking while making some new friends.
I learned how elections work and how amendments to the Constitution are dealt with as well as the various resolutions voted on. Roberts Rules of Order were carried out by the very able parliamentarian when many issues concerning ACB were discussed and handled.
I enjoyed several tours. One tour was to the city of Las Vegas, and another was to the Hoover Dam. I also enjoyed a few shopping trips to purchase souvenirs.
My goals were to learn about ways to find employment and to make new contacts. I feel that those goals were met. I would invite anyone who has not yet attended a national ACB convention to make plans now to do so. Next year, it will be in Jacksonville, Florida, and plans are already under way to make it exciting and one of the best ever. I would like to thank Judy Presley and GCB for encouraging me to apply for the ACB’s First-Timer’s award.
REFLECTIONS OF THE 2005 GCB
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following articles are submitted by members who have attended several state conventions and by members who were first-timers. Their comments, insights and suggestions are interesting and important.
From Adam Shapiro, long-time member of GCB:
The 2005 GCB convention is now history. As I write this my recollections are still fresh. Since they are, I would like to offer my memories of one of the finest conventions that I have ever attended.
Let me begin with a few words about the hotel. There is nothing like being in an environment that is blind-friendly. One of the first things I found when I got oriented to my room was that the room number was brailled on the wall near the door. If I wasn’t sure that I was in the right place, I would look at the brailled number. The restaurant staff was equal to the task of serving a large group of blind people. I remember one server who always called me by my name every time I frequented that particular establishment. I am glad that we also had braille menus.
Although I arrived late for the kick-off reception, I did make it on time for the talent show. With guitar in hand, I performed an Irish folk song called JUG OF PUNCH. I was followed by Brent Reynolds who performed the Andy Griffith monologue called, WHAT IT WAS WAS FOOTBALL. I enjoyed every minute of it, and I would not have been unhappy if Brent had won the $100 prize for his chapter. To my surprise, I turned out to be the winner. I guess I won one for South Metro. I was asked to play with that new GCB super group known as the Junk Band carried over from the Janet Clary Junk Band. I had them play Jumbalia and Hey, Good Lookin’, old Hank Williams’ tunes. As Waylon Jennings used to say, “I don’t think Hank done it this way.” Our version of the traditional song, Elvira, was also unique.
The first convention session took place on Friday morning. First we heard from an eye specialist who spoke about the latest findings in eye research. This was followed by a diversity workshop that was being presented for the first time.
My favorite convention moment took place at the presidents’ luncheon. The purpose of this luncheon is to honor members of the GCB local chapters who have done important work for their organization during the past year. One of these individuals receives a loving cup. That recipient is selected by chapter vote. The other two individuals receive certificates from their chapter president who is responsible for their selection. One of my duties as president of the South Metro Chapter was to give these awards to the selected chapter members. This year’s loving cup for my chapter went to Jackie Wood. Diane Simms and Lori Cseh received the two certificates of appreciation. While these three special people received their awards, I received the satisfaction that comes from giving. I thank them for the unselfish contribution that they have given to me as an individual and to the South Metro Chapter as a group.
On Saturday morning, we were treated to a lively look at the cane versus guide dog controversy. When I first found out that this would be a part of the program, I had reservations. I knew that cane and dog users have strong feelings about their particular mobility tool. These strong feelings had caused some friction inside the National Federation of the Blind. An entire issue of their magazine, THE BRAILLE MONITOR, had been devoted to the subject in 1995. I saw no reason why this should ever come before our convention. I was wrong. The panelists were Anil Lewis, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia, Al Kaufman, mobility instructor at the Center for the Visually Impaired, Melanie Brunson, executive director of our parent body, the American Council of the Blind, and Lukas Franck, field instructor with The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey. Franck and Brunson did a creditable job, of course, but the team of Lewis and Kaufman brought a touch of comedy to the presentation that made them the life of the party (I mean, the convention). I could see them taking their act on the road! Perhaps other conventions of the blind would love to have them.
At 9:30 on Sunday morning, a memorial service was held for recently deceased members of GCB. The business meeting began at 10:45 and ended close to 1:30. Our need to deal with the hotel check-out process made it extremely difficult to conduct business. Voting had to be delayed while our members flocked to the front desk. The meeting adjourned with an agenda that was not completed. If the memorial service had been scheduled for 8:30 rather than 9:30, we would have been able to cover much more in the business meeting. Even then, there might have still been business left undone.
Perhaps the planners for future conventions may wish to explore the possibility of holding the business meeting on Saturday afternoon. Convention business needs to be conducted in a relaxed atmosphere where time constraints do not play as important a role as they did this time. Obviously, the state board meeting that was supposed to take place after adjournment did not happen. In all fairness, certain things were accomplished. Constitution and Bylaw changes were made after thorough debate. The Georgia Council of Blind LIONS was voted in as a special interest affiliate and matters relating to future conventions were discussed.
Let me conclude by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this convention. I look forward to the next one in Savannah.
From Darla Rogers, first-timer from Albany:
Some of you may know that I have now lived in Georgia three times--and I promise this is the last time. I was married to a Georgia boy, Gary, about six and a half months ago. We met in California in 1987, but circumstances didn't put us together that time. When Gary retired back to Georgia, he heard I was living here and asked for my contact information. A year after we met again, we were married in a small ceremony here in Albany.
When I lived here the first time, I was very concerned about getting a job and the like, so I didn't make much contact with GCB. The second time I moved to Georgia, I received The GCB Digest, but my work schedule didn't allow me to attend conventions. Recently, I was thrilled to have the time and opportunity to attend the 2005 Convention held at the Atlanta Marriott Northwest.
I arrived some time after 2:30 Thursday, August 4th. Since I couldn't check into my room, I was graciously guided to registration and to the hospitality room. There I was thrilled to see my old friend, Brent Reynolds and two new first-timers, John and Tammy Denning. We all chatted until I could check into my room, and we learned quite a bit about the upcoming events of the convention.
Oddly, I don't recall if I ate dinner that night as I was so ecstatic to be among the movers and shakers of Georgia's blind community again. I do know, however, that on Thursday evening I attended the talent show, and on Friday morning I dove right into all the formal convention activities. In fact, I just grabbed a quick breakfast as I didn't want to miss a thing.
President Marsha Farrow opened the meeting by enumerating some of the activities we could expect at the convention. She also informed us about participants in the convention program, including the YAPPERS, a special group made up of both blind and sighted young people.
The attitude that pervaded the entire convention was truly impressive. While I found the pace a little slower than my convention days in California and Oregon, the activities were presided over with grace and efficiency. I was constantly struck by the kindness shown to first-timers and seasoned attendees alike. I don't know how many dog guides were present, but they were all gentle and sweet. I believe my own guide, Nuance, enjoyed herself and made some new friends as did I.
I was also impressed by the fantastic participation of everyone in the auction where GCB successfully raised over fourteen hundred dollars for its scholarship program. I, myself, was able to take away from the auction a lovely bath set and a bottle of perfume.
The promised piano for the Thursday evening talent show never materialized, but all performers handled their songs and instruments with professionalism, even without the assistance of the piano. I do believe that everyone had a good time. I never knew GCB had so much talent, and I bet it will be even bigger and better next year.
We were also pleased to give ACB's executive director, Melanie Brunson, a warm southern welcome to Georgia. We first heard from her on Friday as our outstanding speaker at the presidents’ awards luncheon. Later, she participated in the cane versus dog panel and also provided other information to convention attendees.
We were honored at our annual banquet to hear from the Megiverns, authors of "People of Vision." There were copies available for purchase afterward.
The guide dog versus cane workshop was handled better than any such workshop I ever attended. One of the panelists is the president of the Georgia NFB with whom GCB works very collaboratively to benefit all blind Georgians. While the workshop contained a lot of humor and gentle teasing, the panel participants made the points, both pro and con, ably and eloquently.
The only presentation that disturbed me a little was the one dealing with making the ADA work for us. While I believe Nancy Duncan made some valid points, it almost felt like victim blaming. So I have resolved, and I hope you will stand with me, to help anyone who decides to pursue a complaint through DOJ and assist them through the process in any way we can.
I enjoyed the GGDU meeting led by president Alice Ritchhart, and was made to feel very welcome and involved.
If I can be of service to any blind Georgian, please don't hesitate to call on me by Email at email@example.com or by telephone, 229-436-2272.
See you all in Savannah next year. This is definitely an event you won't want to miss, so make your plans early to join us there.
From Jan Elders, Savannah Chapter:
The 2005 GCB convention was the third one I attended, and in my opinion, the best. The sessions were topics that were interesting to me and the general organization of the convention was excellent. I especially enjoyed the participation of the YAPPERS this year. Their enthusiasm was electric and contagious!
One thing my husband pointed out after reviewing the schedule was that there was nothing for the families of the blind. It was for this reason that he did not attend. We both feel that having some type of programming that could address the needs of the family, especially those of the newly blind, would be a great addition. I would be willing to work on this to make it happen.
I really enjoyed this year's convention. The example it provided will be a great benefit as we plan the 2006 convention in Savannah.
From John and Tammy Denning, new members of GCB:
WOW! What a conference! As first timers to a GCB conference, we really enjoyed ourselves. Alice, Linda, Carle and all those who assisted them in putting this conference together and keeping it running smoothly did a great job. Kudos to them all.
We especially enjoyed the cane versus guide dog panel discussion. It was lively, funny and made good points for both sides. John particularly liked the ADA discussion because it was challenging and brought up topics of concern to us all. These topics included information about ADA compliance with such matters as business related situations, the workplace, and transportation needs. Certainly, these are all important issues that need our attention.
We love the YAP program. Although our kids are grown and gone, we are confident that this program can create greater understanding between blind and sighted youth and will have a positive benefit for society as a whole.
We applaud all the young people who participated in in this year’s convention. Their talent was great, and their speeches showed just how much insight they had developed.
The auction was lots of fun. Kudos to Carle for keeping it going so smoothly. What a splendid idea for a fund raiser!
The talent show was great. We would like to have seen and heard more from the adult members, however. We thought Adam and Brent did an exceedingly good job. Perhaps next year Tammy will sing. The junk band was unique and fun.
If the convention attendance was a good representation of the membership of GCB, we would like to work towards increasing a diverse membership in respect to age, abilities and ethnicity. Perhaps we should consider forming some additional special interest groups that would include more members and the expression of their particular expertise. For example, John is an ex-professional and enjoys scuba diving. Tammy and John are both government employees, and she loves to sing.
We both see many issues at work and in the community that we as visually impaired people need to address: jobs, education and transportation, to name a few. We hope to work with you on these and other issues in the years to come.
We certainly look forward to attending many more GCB conferences in the future. You may contact us at:
From Marj Schnider, Savannah Chapter
On the drive from Savannah to Marietta, I found myself wondering how this convention would compare to others I’d attended, and what I might learn that would be useful for our hosting next year’s gathering in Savannah. The initial presentation that excited me about attending my first GCB convention was the panel on using a cane versus a guide dog. The topic was one I’d not seen discussed before, even though I’ve been participating in gatherings of blind people on and off for 30 years. Such a discussion would have helped me tremendously when I was trying to decide if a guide dog would be right for me.
The Saturday afternoon session on the ADA was equally informative and thought provoking. I appreciated hearing so many people speak who want to use the law to bring about the kinds of changes that will benefit blind people. That can be a slow, frustrating process at times, which is why it helps to hear about situations where advocates have been successful.
One aspect of the convention that struck me was everyone’s enthusiasm about the young people who were present. I know we all agree about how important the YAP program is for encouraging youth to get involved in the blind community. I was reminded of what a life-changing experience it was for me to meet and become friends with blind adults when I was in high school. I hope the YAP participants benefited much from their weekend with GCB.
GCB is very good at recognizing those members who have given significantly of their time and energy to the organization. I’ve been in other organizations where the important work of different individuals was barely acknowledged. Maybe it’s a southern thing, or unique to Georgia, but I was surprised at just how many awards there are for recognition of achievement. I expect I better nominate somebody for one next year.
Speaking of next year’s fiftieth anniversary of GCB, who can we expect to equal the performance of the Megiverns as outstanding banquet speakers? It will have to be one of ACB’s founders, someone who lived the history Jim and Marjorie Megivern wrote about. Both authors gave an absorbing account of their interviewing, researching and writing process. It is admirable that they stuck with the project, even though the book, “People of Vision”, took nine years to complete. I couldn’t resist talking with them later about some of the people they interviewed and sharing with them a bit of my own short-lived involvement with the NFB.
Leaving Marietta on Sunday, I thought about what a great opportunity these conventions are for renewing friendships and making connections that people build on throughout the year. I’d like to see that opportunity used more fully through a session where chapters would make presentations on the projects they’ve been involved with. I know we read about chapters’ activities in the pages of The GCB Digest, but there is nothing like person-to-person, interactive discussions for learning how other people get things done.
Next year’s convention is nearly a year away, but since everyone is coming to Savannah in 2006, I know that Brian Leighton, our chapter president, is already considering everything we will need to do to make the event successful. He has planning for the convention on the agenda for our chapter meeting this month. See you next summer.
Submitted by Linda Cox
This year's participants for the Youth Awareness Program were:
Koby Boatright, David Brenner, Patricia Cox,
Caroline Cutbirth, Owen Dean, Summer Frost,
Arthur Ganger, Holly Harris, Larky Peterson,
Wilson Shugart, Allie Watkins
As many of you know the YAP (Youth Awareness Program) was started last year as an experience to educate both sighted and blind youth about blindness. I am proud to report that the second year has been a huge success as last year's was. The students from all over Georgia participated in a speech contest. This year's topic was about education. The visually impaired students were asked to discuss their education and in their speech answer the question, "what, if anything, has your visual impairment not allowed you to accomplish?" The sighted students were asked to observe the way the visually impaired students are taught in their school and then compare their education to the visually impaired students’ education.
Three students returned from last year (Senior YAPPERS) to help "coach" the new students. I was very proud to stand and listen to all of the speeches. It was obvious to all that the students had worked hard and they felt a sense of accomplishment.
There were two grand prize winners this year, one sighted and one visually impaired. We have included the two winning speeches below. The sighted winner was Owen Dean, and the visually impaired winner was Larky Peterson, both from Parkview High School. They were both awarded $150.00 and will be invited to Savannah as senior YAPPERS for 2006. CONGRATULATIONS!
The Georgia Council of the Blind would like to say thank you to all of our participants this year. We are proud of you, and you were fun to have around! Of course, it was not all work this year. The students also participated in our annual beep ball game, enjoyed swimming, going to a movie, and shopping. They attended two of the seminars. We had six students participate in the talent show. Wilson Shugart won first place, Holly Harris, second, and Koby Boatright, third.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks for our chaperones. A program cannot be successful without their help. We were very fortunate to have the assistance of the following individuals:
Teresa Brenner, Carle Cox, Betsy Grenevitch,
Neal Hardin, Suzan Peterson, Deidre Watkins
Thank you for your dedication and interest in this program.
YAP Committee Chair and
Hello, my name is Larky Peterson. I am seventeen years old, and I attend Parkview High School as a vision student. My eye condition is called high myopia, which means extremely near-sighted. Due to my visual impairment, there are certain things I cannot see or do in a classroom. For example, I am unable to see the whiteboard even if I am sitting in the front row. I cannot read normal sized text in school books and such. The overhead projector cannot be seen without the use of my monocular, but sometimes even that is not enough. I have a magnifier and CCTV, but at times they are not enough. What needs to be magnified simply cannot be magnified due to the actual size of the object in question. Sometimes the print is so small that not even high tech magnifiers can enlarge it enough to be seen.
Another thing that my vision has impeded me from doing is fulfilling a life long dream to join the United States Army. You see I am adopted; I was born in Santiago, Chile, which is part of South America. Being able to live in a country with so many freedoms and the technology to allow me to do better in school, I feel it is my obligation to fight for and protect my country. But unfortunately, due to my visual status, it's just simply out of the question for me to join any branch of the military.
Education of the visually impaired
Visually impaired education is an unfortunately expensive process. Because of the price of braille lites (the most advanced being around 5,000 dollars), the lack of functionality, the added cost of braillers, and the monetary value of software such as ZoomText and Jaws, it is a costly endeavor. This coupled with the county's unwillingness to supply new, up to date equipment, make education difficult for most visually impaired students.
Although there are cheap, or even free, alternatives to the software, the Braille Lite and braillers are not so easy to replace. Adequate equipment is absolutely vital to a proper learning environment for any student. But while we sighted people do not need much more than a pencil and a piece of paper, visually impaired students require a Braille Lite, a brailler for mathematics, books that, for a sighted student are comprised of a few hundred pages, may be in the form of volumes that take up an entire book case. The Braille Lite and the brailler alone may cost up to about $5,800, not all of which the county is going to pay. So, instead of supplying the students with the top of the line technology, they are given relatively outdated equipment, and told "Make do.”
For example, my good friend Lauren Gunder's Braille Lite broke, and it took at least a month to be fixed. Within that time, she was not given a replacement and was unable to do work with the rest of the class. It can only be assumed that she dictated answers to a vision teacher because she did not seem to fall behind. Regardless, this was a ridiculous situation to begin with. Has the county no spare Braille Lites to replace broken ones?
Along the lines of vision teachers, there are but three or four members of the faculty solely devoted to the vision department, and one such teacher works only part-time. These four teachers, wonderful as they are, are spread between seventeen students. Teachers that are not specialized in visual disabilities often act strangely around visually impaired students, treating them as if they are also hearing impaired, or that they might be mentally impaired, speaking slowly or as if to a child. While my disabled colleagues take it in stride, it irritates me that some supposed "educational experts" or even student teachers, might assume that they have disabilities they do not possess.
To finalize, education of the visually impaired is expensive, and somewhat inefficient. Measures Should be taken to improve this poor state of affairs, specifically by raising the budget, lowering the price of mandatory equipment, and raising faculty awareness.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The GCB had a fundraiser for the YAPPERS, and the following letter is from the winner of that drawing.
From George B.:
Hi, I am George B and I am from SoutheasternGuide Dogs. The Cox family is responsible for my "puppy raising." I am now 17 months old and almost ready to go "in for training." It has been fun getting to know all of you. One day I hope I am able to work as well as the other dogs that I have met at the convention.
I was very happy to win the prize at the convention. I have donated $500.00 to GGDU and today I sent $500.00 to the Gwinnett County Humane Society. I plan to donate all of winnings to many organizations that work with animals.
The following GCB members were honored and remembered at a special memorial service on Sunday morning, August 7, at the recent GCB state convention:
Janet Clary, Artherene Lee, Bill Meyer,
Dr. Rasheen Bey, Nancy Moulton, Carolyn Witcher,
Talulah Morran, Carolyn Langford, A.A. Moore,
Annie Baldwin, Jimmy Mooney (spouse of Elsie Mooney), Lavoisia Green, Gerald Pye
Our beloved Gerald Pye, a charter member of the Macon Chapter, GCB and ACB, received tribute, and below are excerpts from some of the comments made about him at the memorial service as well as submissions by people who were not in attendance but sent their cherished memories of Gerald to be included in this issue of The GCB Digest.
Marsha Farrow: When I first came into GCB and was so green and new at everything, Gerald Pye, along with so many of you here in this room, befriended me, encouraged me and valued me. He and Jerry, as most of you know, were charter members of GCB back when it was the Georgia Federation of the Blind when ACB was born. Tim Ledford, Houston County Chapter member who couldn’t be here today, said that people at Warner Robbins Air Force Base where Gerald worked for many years, are still talking about what a fine man Gerald Pye was. I am so glad to have known Gerald Pye and to learn so much from him about this organization he so dearly loved.
Frances Sweet: When I first was losing my sight, my children were just so upset and didn’t know what to do. One day Gerald and Gerry walked into the grocery store where my son and their son, Charlie, worked together. My son was surprised to learn that Charlie’s mother was blind, and immediately, he began talking to Charlie and trying to find out how he could help me. One thing Charlie told him was that I should learn to be as independent as I could. So I came to a chapter meeting and sat across from Gerald who began telling me all about GCB and encouraging me to join. He is the main reason I am a member today. I deeply appreciate the Pyes helping my son to accept my blindness and to see that despite our loss of sight, we did not have to lose our vision.
Patricia Fitts: Gerald was a fighter even to the very end of his life. He had three kinds of cancer, but time and time again when everyone thought that this was the end for him, he would make a come back. He dearly loved GCB and ACB and inspired, encouraged, promoted, and helped everyone he knew in this organization. One vital message that he leaves with us is that we should stand for what we believe and fight for all causes for the visually impaired.
Bernace Murray: I was just sitting here reminiscing about Gerald Pye. I was picturing these big buildings with these huge pillars holding up the structure and Gerald Pye being one of these pillars. Gerald had a positive effect on my life. When I was trying to choose the organization of the blind I wanted to be involved with, it was Gerald and other gentlemen in this organization like John M. Sims, Grady Coursey, John Brockington, Jack Lewis and others, who had this great influence on me as a black man. There were no barriers between us. I have so much respect for Gerald and these other men, and I appreciate the way they have guided me and encouraged me as a newly blinded person back when I was going through my rehab training at the Center for the Visually Impaired. When I heard Gerald speak in the board meetings and at conventions sharing about this organization he loved so dearly, he had convictions, high principles, and wisdom. He was a statesman like John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. I would be remiss if I didn’t say, in public, how much I respect Gerald and these other gentlemen, and the positive effect they had on me to be in this organization. Because of Gerald Pye and these other men who have such a powerful influence on my life and how they have treated and accepted me I see why I want to be in this organization. I shall never forget Gerald Pye.
Granger Ricks: I guess I knew Gerald as well as anyone here, but somehow we never meshed until right at the last part of Gerald’s life. Although we did not have a close relationship, I always heard that he was frequently promoting me. He was very kind in saying good things about me which somehow got reported to me later. I appreciate that. He had very complimentary things to say about other people as well. I agree with Bernace that Gerald was a statesman and a wise man. The Bible says that he that wins a soul is wise. We often apply that Bible verse to the work of an evangelist, but in the book of Proverbs, the verse really refers to the idea that when an individual is kind to people and does good things for them, he is full of wisdom. Certainly I think that Gerald Pye was that “Proverbs” kind of man.
Alice Ritchhart: I remember when Jack Lewis brought me to my first GCB state convention and I met the Pyes. They were so friendly. Every time I saw them after that, even at the national conventions, they would always come and speak to me and ask how things were going. I always thought of Gerald as being a quiet man until last year at the national convention during all the turmoil. During that time I saw a very compassionate man who definitely loved the organization. This inspired me, and I highly respected him for his stand and his principles.
Peggy Chavis: Gerald was an inspiration to me, and an encouragement to me. He is one of the reasons I took a board position as second vice president in GCB. He and his wife are just the epitome of what a married couple should be. They were always together, and I never heard either one of them say anything negative about anyone.
Brent Reynolds: I really knew Geraldine Pye better than Gerald because she was my first grade teacher and my sixth grade teacher. But, whether at the Georgia academy for the Blind or at GCB meetings, the Pyes were always together. In the Bible near the beginning when it says God created man and woman, He said the man shall leave his mother’s house and cleave unto his wife and they two shall become one flesh. I think if you were looking for a personal, real life flesh and blood example of what that ought to be, that would have to be Gerald and Geraldine Pye because that married couple were like two peas in a pod, exemplifying just what that meant. They were wonderful people. We miss them, and we hope Ms. Pye will be back with us again soon.
Tom Ridgeway: President McKay, a former head of the Mormon church, once said, "No amount of worldly success can compensate for failure in the home." I told Jerry after the funeral that both she and Gerald were truly successful people because they had done an excellent job in their home with their children and grandchildren. They both worked public jobs in addition to being homemakers. They are both excellent examples of what visually impaired and blind people should be as contributing members of society. And, yes, family came first with them. They are remembered for being truly ethical and moral individuals because of their religious convictions. Jerry is special to me because she taught me when I was in the sixth grade while the regular teacher, Mrs. Pursley was out having surgery. Jerry read so fast that we asked her to slow down while reading to us.
Gerald Pye: A Leader, Friend and Brother
Submitted by Dr. Otis Stephens
My last visit with Gerald Pye was on Saturday, May 21, 2005, on the campus of the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon during our annual alumni association convention. Although he was very ill, he was determined to attend at least some of the scheduled activities of the association that he and his beloved wife Jerry had supported faithfully for more than half a century. During our last visit, just after the banquet on Saturday evening, Gerald told me that he hoped we could talk by phone in a few days about the upcoming ACB national convention and about the Georgia Council's upcoming fiftieth anniversary. Unfortunately, we did not have that conversation. Gerald entered the hospital shortly after the alumni convention and died on June 6.
The Academy meant a lot to Gerald, as it does to most of us who attended school there. Gerald and Jerry were classmates at the Academy, graduating in 1948. They were highly successful members of the high school Debate team, although Jerry reminded me that they were always on different sides. In those days, the high school on the Vineville campus competed against other public high schools in the region and state in debate, declamation, essay writing, and several musical events. Gerald and Jerry were members of a team that won the District and State championships in 1948. This team consisted of Gerald Pye and Bill Love on one side and Jerry Harris (later to become Pye) and Ed Lain on the other. Gerald and Jerry were also members of the cast in a one act play competition that won first place at the District level in 1947.
Gerald Pye and Ed Lain somehow convinced the teachers who supervised the required nightly study hall Monday through Friday evenings to allow them to do their studying in the studio of the Academy's great piano teacher Frank Pursley. Mr. Pursley would occasionally come to his studio to practice during the two-hour study hall period. On these occasions Gerald and Ed would "persuade" Mr. Pursley to play something from his huge repertoire by threatening to hang him out of the window by his wrists if he refused (it was only about eight feet to the ground). Needless to say, Ed and Gerald had what amounted to a solid course in music appreciation that year. How much studying they did is anybody's guess, although we could check with Ed on that question.
Gerald Pye, as most readers know, was a charter member of the American Council of the Blind. He and Jerry joined the National Federation of the Blind in the mid-1950's and attended their first national convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1956. Gerald and Jerry played major roles in organizing what was then the Georgia Federation of the Blind in Macon in 1956. They worked closely with Walter McDonald and other Georgia leaders in NFB to try to resolve the lengthy controversy that resulted in the expulsion of a large number of state affiliates (including Georgia) and the formation of the American Council of the Blind in Kansas City, Kansas in the summer of 1961.
Gerald Pye was a pioneer in the vital work of organizations of the blind and visually impaired. He contributed significantly to “People of Vision”, the recently published history of the American Council of the Blind. His recollections of Georgia leaders such as Walter McDonald and Ned Freeman, both before and after the formation of ACB, were of great value to Jim and Marjorie Megivern in writing crucial chapters of the history.
Gerald and Jerry seldom missed a national ACB convention, including last year's gathering in Birmingham. They were also very active in the state affiliate, now the Georgia Council of the Blind, and in its Macon chapter. Gerald held virtually every office in GCB over the years, including a term as president (1976-78).
Gerald Pye will be fondly remembered as a steadfast friend to those of us who were privileged to know him. Although quiet and unassuming, Gerald was a strong and determined person who was deeply committed to advancing the opportunities of other blind and visually impaired people. It is fitting that the Georgia Council of the Blind, some years ago, established the Gerald Pye Community Service Award in honor of his service to the organization. It is important that we remember and recognize his many contributions to others--his family, his school, his state, and beyond. He will be greatly missed.
From Brian Leighton, President of the Savannah Chapter
The Savannah Council of the Blind met with our County Commission Chairman, Pete Liakakis, with a list of requests for increased Accessibility for persons who are blind or visually impaired. Chairman Liakakis sent our list to all County Departments and each one responded swiftly. Most of our requests were answered with a timeline. Two of our requests have already been met. On August 12, for the first time, a large print agenda was available for county commission meetings, and a police officer was appointed as a liaison to the blind and visually impaired community to discuss our issues.
We have been working with the NFB on audible pedestrian traffic signals, and it has borne fruit. Both groups have worked hard on a list of places to put audible pedestrian traffic signals for the city traffic engineer. The city had one installed at Bay and Bull Streets, as we requested. The Savannah traffic engineer invited us to try out the new audible pedestrian traffic signal, and we got a lot of media coverage out of it. Now both groups and the Savannah Association for the Blind peer support group are working on White Cane Safety Day. We are planning to have a march from the county commission offices to the City Hall and a luncheon.
From South Metro: Adam Shapiro, President
Congratulations to Jackie Wood, the one chosen by her chapter members for this year’s loving cup. Ms. Wood has been a faithful member for many years and has always made herself available to help anyone she can in the chapter.
Diane Simms and Lori Cseh received the president’s certificates of appreciation which they definitely deserved. Diane has been a member for several years and has worked hard on various committees and has attended several state and national conventions. Although Lori joined the chapter at the beginning of the year, she has jumped right in to help the chapter in various ways. She attended the April GCB board meeting and the state convention in August. Next year she plans to go to the national convention in Jacksonville, Florida as well as the state convention in Savannah.
The chapter enjoyed a wonderful June picnic, and Frances Sweet is to be thanked for having a friend to donate all the food and beverages for this event. She also brought a prospective new member, Jewel Bell, who will be joining the chapter this fall. The next chapter program will be all about the mentoring program with the STARS students at the Center for the Visually Impaired.
Several of the female members have been taking aerobics at CVI under the expert teaching and guidance of Kristi Maxwell, Annie and Wilard Maxwell’s lovely daughter. Keep up the good exercise Frances Sweet, Barbara Graham, Lori Cseh, and Jewel Bell!
Please remember Patty Parris who is in Northside Hospital at this time undergoing tests after suffering from a broken ankle and a stroke.
John M. Sims would like to thank everyone for your thoughts and prayers. He is doing well as he continues to play tennis at least three days per week and take all his nutrients and vitamins.
Congratulations to Jerrie and Granger Ricks for their sixth grandchild born August 19, to son, Michael and daughter-in-law, Betsy! This big boy is their first. This gives Granddad and Grandmamma three girls and three boys so far.
The chapter had the privilege of sponsoring Wilson Shugart, a YAPPER, who won first place in the youth talent show at the GCB state convention in August. Wilson played Humoresque on his violin, and he designated the one hundred dollar prize to be given to South Metro. Wilson has a natural talent for playing the violin, and everyone agrees he will go far with his musical endeavors. Thank you, Wilson, for a job well done!
From East Georgia Chapter, Anne Wheeler, President
The East Georgia Chapter hosted a fabulous family picnic in June. Read all about the activities that day in the article about beep ball. Also, several members of the chapter worked hard to plan and organize and carry out the state GCB convention. As president, I would like to thank Anne Dilley for all her hard work the past year in making registration go so easy. Don Dilley took care of the awards. Linda Cox, her sisters, Janet Harden and Beverly Brooks, and her mother, Barbara Brooks, were, without question, the busiest workers at the convention. Carle Cox and Patricia Cox helped to make the YAPPER program go smoothly. Betsy Grenivitch worked at the registration desk and helped with the YAPPERS. Thanks to all!
Congratulations to Carle Cox for receiving the June Willis Guiding Eyes award. Our president's certificates went to Janet Hardin and Christine O'Brien. The chapter voted for Linda Cox for the loving cup, an award she very richly deserves.
GEORGIA COUNCIL OF THE BLIND ADOPTS
GEORGIA COUNCIL OF THE BLIND LIONS
By William Holley
The Georgia Council of the Blind (GCB) voted unanimously to accept the Georgia Council of Blind Lions (GCBL) as an affiliate member at its 49th Annual State Convention. The 49th State Convention was hosted by the East Georgia, South Metro, and Atlanta Chapters on August 4-7, 2005 at the Marriott Hotel, Northwest Atlanta. The motion to adopt the GCBL as an affiliate member of GCB was made by council member and LION William K. Holley and seconded by council member and LION J.C. Coefield.
Following the third annual LIONS’ breakfast, hosted by the LIONS Council of Governors on August 6, 2005, representatives of GCB and LIONS met to discuss how blind individuals could assist in the development of LIONS’ clubs. District A’s District Governor, Jane Price, spoke to the group about LIONS’ Clubs International and the need to increase membership in LIONS clubs. Council member and LION J.C. Coefield explained how the LIONS’ Council of Governors voted to recognize blind LIONS as an official program of the Georgia LIONS’ Clubs International. Representatives of GCB and LIONS at the meeting voted to accept the challenge of the LIONS’ Council of Governors by establishing the GCBL. The purpose of GCBL shall be:
A. To promote accessibility and/or reasonable accommodations for the members of blind LIONS serving as LIONS in the state of Georgia.
B. To promote fellowship and support among blind and visually impaired Georgia LIONS.
C. To encourage LIONS clubs in Georgia to actively recruit blind and visually impaired individuals into their clubs.
D. To work to increase knowledge of LIONS International leadership in Georgia about the ability of blind individuals and the potential of blind people to join and serve as LIONS in the LIONS International Clubs in Georgia.
The GCBL elected the following individuals to serve as officers: president, William K. Holley; vice president, Peggy Chavis; secretary, Ann Sims; treasurer, Anne Wheeler; and board member (liaison to LIONS’ Council of Governors), J.C. Coefield.
The GCBL agrees with the mission statement of LIONS’ International “To create and foster a spirit of understanding among all people for humanitarian needs by providing voluntary services through community involvement and international cooperation.”
As blind LIONS we understand the benefits of LIONS clubs and realize our responsibility to assist in the advancement of services to our community. It is our obligation to serve.
2005 GCB STATE CONVENTION
Submitted by Anne and Don Dilley
Presidents’ Awards Luncheon
The following members received awards from their chapter members and presidents during the annual Presidents’ Awards Luncheon at the GCB state convention:
Athens: president, Peggy Chavis
Loving Cup: Annie Harris
Certificates: Cynthia Cole, Daniel Myers
Atlanta: president, Brent Reynolds
Loving Cup: Wade Norton
Certificates: June Willis, Wade Norton
Augusta: president, Stanley Lopez
Loving Cup: Kathy Morris
Certificates: Jack & Rita Eckert, David & Joyce Everly
Bainbridge: president, Adeline McCarthy
Loving Cup: Adeline McCarthy
Certificates: Tonja Wright, Janice Tootle, Gloria Hampton
Chattooga: president, Barry Vaughn
Loving Cup: Vicki Vaughn
Certificates: Mary Baggett, Ed Baggett
Columbus: president, Crawford Pike
Loving Cup: Jimmie Ruth Burkes
Certificates: Jimmie Ruth Burkes, Clifford Jones
East Georgia: president, Anne Wheeler
Loving Cup: Linda Cox
Certificates: Janet Hardin, Christine O’Brien
Macon: president, Carolyn Carr
Loving Cups: Geraldine Pye, Patricia Fitts
Certificate: Kaye Hall
Northwest Georgia: president, Tim Barrett
Loving Cup: Ronald Burgess
Certificates: Cindy Wilson, Robert Sprayberry
One from chapter to Diana Tope
South Metro: president, Adam Shapiro
Loving Cup: Jackie Wood
Certificates: Diane Simms, Lori Cseh
Stephens County: president, Al Camp
Loving Cup: Leah Hunter
Certificates: Faunnell Haney, Nettie Mae Lyles
GGDU: president, Alice Ritchhart
Julie Aichroth Award: Ann-Margaret Perkins
The following awards and scholarships were presented at this year’s GCB state convention banquet:
Walter R. McDonald Award: president Marsha Farrow
June Willis Guiding Eyes Award: Carle Cox
Rhoda W. Walker Award: Louise Walker
Gerald Pye Community Service Award: Al Camp
The Janet Clary Memorial Scholarship Fund:
Virginia Jordan, Kayley Vaughn, Billy Seals
There was also a beautiful plaque presented to June Willis, GCB’s former treasurer, in appreciation for her many years of dedicated service to the members. Unfortunately, she could not attend, but the plaque was presented to June by Brent Reynolds, president of the Atlanta Chapter at their September meeting.
Thank-you Letter from the 2005 Recipient of the
Julie Aichroth Award:
I am rarely at a loss for words, but last Friday I was. I cannot tell you how honored I am that your organization feels that the work I am allowed to do on behalf of people and dogs that I love is making a difference. Julie was the pacesetter for all of us in Georgia, and I feel confident saying that none of us will ever match her accomplishments or dedication. Her work and the wonderful person she was continue to inspire us all.
While my formal position is with Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc., I want you to know that I am happy to try and help you or your organization in any way. Dana knows all the ways to reach me. I hope that we will see you all at the second Annual Julie Aichroth Memorial Puppy Prance this year on October 15 at the Newnan County Fairgrounds. While it's a fun event, it is also a learning experience. It is important to have guide dog users there so that participants can meet them and their dogs and learn more about the issues that face the blind in our communities and the use of dog guides.
Vice Chair, Southeastern Guide Dogs
Board of Directors
2005 RESOLUTIONS REPORT
Submitted by Alice Ritchhart
This year at the Georgia Council of the Blind (GCB) convention business meeting, the membership passed several resolutions. The first resolution stated that in the future the Georgia Council of the Blind will not distribute any materials including convention registration applications unless it is provided in some alternate format; and, that anyone presenting and providing handouts to the general assembly or at any GCB board meetings will not distribute such material unless alternate formats are offered.
The second resolution deals with the annual awards luncheon of the chapters and special interest affiliates and says that any member who is just attending the awards luncheon because he or she is being honored will not be required to pay the convention registration fee, and that the individual’s lunch be paid for by someone other than GCB.
The third and fourth resolutions acknowledged the Marriott Hotel and the Cobb County Convention and Visitors’ Center for their contributions and services provided to making this year’s convention a success. They state that the members of the Georgia Council of the Blind express their thanks and appreciation for the services and accommodations provided their members by the Atlanta Marriott Hotel Northwest and its staff, and that the members of the Georgia Council of the Blind express their thanks and appreciation for the services and hospitality provided to their members by the Cobb County Convention and Visitors’ Center and its staff. A copy of this resolution was presented to the hotel management, and a copy was also sent to the Cobb County Convention and Visitors’ Center.
The final resolution dealt with an incident of individuals using service animals being denied access to state highway rest areas and welcome centers. The action voted on by the membership was: That the Georgia Council of the Blind calls upon the Georgia Department of Transportation to develop a written policy to address the discrimination of visitors using service animals to the rest areas and welcome centers; that the Georgia Council of the Blind and its special interest affiliate, Georgia Guide Dog Users (GGDU), offer its services to the Department of Transportation in carrying out the policy to educate its contractors on the Americans With Disabilities Act as it pertains to service animals and other related disability issues; and that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Georgia Commissioner of the Department of Transportation.
The Start of a Wonderful Partnership with The ASPIRE Coalition
by Anne Wheeler
When I took over as president of the East Georgia Chapter after Carolyn Witcher’s death, I had an idea of what I wanted our chapter to do. I wanted to see more involvement of young people, both blind and sighted, in activities that would include recreational experiences and social times, but I did not know how we were going to accomplish it. And then, I met Tom McPike. Tom had just been hired by the Rockdale County Recreation Department to head up something called the ASPIRE coalition. The acronym stands for “All Special Needs People Involved in Recreational Activities.” The coalition consists of various agencies and businesses in Rockdale County who are interested in expanding the world of the disabled. The list of representatives includes the Miracle League, Gold’s Gym, Rockdale Cares, Special Olympics, R.I.O. (Rockdale Industrial Organizations),Tech-Able, and others. I felt like my idea for the chapter’s activities and what the coalition was going to do in Rockdale County were a perfect match. I now sit on the coalition’s board representing the blind and visually impaired in a multi-county area. Therefore, the Georgia Council of the Blind has a voice on the coalition’s board. It is with this partnership and with Tom McPike’s personal commitment that I can see recreational activities, like beep ball or jingle ball or goal ball or blind golfing, or tandem biking are not just a noble ambition. They can be a reality.
The East Georgia Chapter has already seen the result of this partnership at our annual family picnic in June. Activities that day included a delightful beep ball game, tandem bike rides, and blind golf. I say the beep ball game was delightful even though our team lost to the team from Cleveland, Georgia. I had contacted Judy Presley and Bob McGarry to ask if they could bring a team to Conyers and they gladly did so. The Rockdale Recreation Department gathered up volunteers from their ranks and offered a crash training session in the rules for beep ball. Tom McPike had played beep ball before and was excited to participate on a team here in Georgia. The participants on Rockdale’s team included several sighted employees including Rockdale City Council Attorney, Holly Bowie and the head of Rockdale Co. Rec. Dept., Don Holley. Also playing were a reporter from the Rockdale Citizen, Pat Hanus from Tech-Able, Gary Garner representing Gold’s Gym, and Bill Silvers from Rockdale Special Olympics, and Tom McPike. The visually impaired were represented on the team as well. Patricia and Carle Cox played and so did Larky Peterson. Larky will later go on to the GCB convention as one of our YAPPERS.
Another visually impaired player was Richard Eden from Monroe who also happens to be an amputee having lost one leg in a train accident when he was seven years old. Richard has not let his amputation of one leg stop him and now, being fairly new to the experience of vision loss is obviously not going to let that stop him either.
The score was Cleveland “Bats” two, the Rockdale LIONS one, but everyone who played or attended the game was a winner that day. The biggest win, however, is in the potential for growth in beep ball participation. The East Georgia Chapter is lucky that the Covington LIONS Club agrees with this assessment. This club not only sponsored the game that day by providing T shirts for the players, but they also gave generously to the East Georgia Chapter so that equipment such as the bases, beeping balls, and blindfolds could be purchased. This equipment now belongs to the East Georgia Chapter, but it will be housed at the Rockdale County Recreation Department on Parker Road and can be taken out on loan by anyone wanting to host a game. I hope we will see some of you taking advantage of this. Different chapters can use it to sponsor their own games. Families with blind children can host a game at their family picnic or reunions. Clubs, churches or scout troops can have children and adults alike play in order to learn what it is like to be blind and still have fun. Vision resource teachers can involve their children in field day activities. The possibilities are endless. I would encourage anyone reading this article to tell others about this opportunity.
Another addition to the recreational experiences for the blind has come via a United Way grant allowing Tom McPike to purchase a tandem bike. The bike can also be taken out on loan. You do not have to live in Rockdale County. I am excited to have the chance to go biking on a wild ride in the country (or maybe around the block). I gave this a try at the picnic in June, and I was not the only one who did so. Elsie Aguilar, a young lady in the East Georgia Chapter, gathered up enough courage to sit on the back seat so she could feel what a bike was like. John Braden, a LIONS club friend of mine who is an experienced biker and who had volunteered to take us for rides, talked Elsie into actually letting him take her for a spin around the parking lot. This was the high light of the picnic for me because I knew that this experience was so different and so exciting for her. She will never forget the ride!
Speaking of new experiences, I have never played goal ball or jingle ball, but they sound like fun to me. I have always been under the impression that I could never learn how to play golf. My association with the coalition and Tom McPike is beginning to change my opinion about what I can do. Now if I can get back into shape, lose a few pounds, tone up those muscles that have been sitting on the couch for such a long time, then maybe I will have some new stories to tell. Maybe, there will be a story about making the winning run in the beep ball World Series, or maybe the story will be about a wild and exhsilarating ride in the tandem “tour d’Covington”. Look out Lance Armstrong!
I would love to hear from those of you who have some ideas for new recreational experiences. You can contact me at Tech-Able. My address there is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call me there on Thursdays at 770-922-6768. My home phone number is 770-786-5778 or e-mail me at home at email@example.com.
I’m willing to give some new experiences in recreation a whirl, are you?
HEAR YE! HEAR YE!!! Georgia Guide Dog Users has a new Listserve!
Darla J. Rogers, List Owner/Moderator
I am pleased to announce that Georgia Guide Dog Users now has its own listserve on the ACB.org page!!!
List purpose: To provide a forum for guide dog users of Georgia to exchange ideas and to provide support and information especially as it pertains to guide dog users of Georgia.
I have attempted to keep rules as simple and straightforward as possible, but what rules there are, will be strictly enforced because some of our users work and have other responsibilities in addition to Email.
If you have issues with how the list is run, or a problem with a list member, please send them directly to me so as not to clutter the list. To address messages to me, send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To subscribe to the list send the following information email@example.com
To send a message to the list for everyone to read send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to getting to know those of you I didn't meet at this year's GCB/GGDU convention as well as obtaining information from members who have worked dog guides in Georgia longer than I have.
Triumph Technology Information
Introduction: Triumph Technology provides assistive technology solutions for people who are blind or have low vision. Whether you're looking for technology solutions for yourself, a family member, friend, co-worker or employee, Triumph Technology is the company you can depend on for timely and reliable service and support.
Training for Individuals: Triumph technology is in the business of working with our customers to identify the assistive technology solutions that best fit their lives and then teaching them how to use that technology. All Triumph Technology trainers must pass Minnesota State Services for the Blind's stringent proficiency exams and complete an adult education course before they are permitted to work with clients. We believe that this standardization of service not only maximizes the quality of training for our clients, but also raises the bar with regard to what is expected of training professionals in the assistive technology industry. If you would like to schedule a training session, or you would like to learn more about the training services Triumph Technology provides, see the contact information below.
Training Workshops and Seminars: Triumph Technology hosts a series of workshops and seminars on a variety of topics such as trends in the assistive technology industry, providing access to electronic and information technology, Web accessibility and disability awareness as it relates to assistive technology. Visit the Triumph Technology Web site or call the number listed below.
Section 508 and ADA compliance consultations: The unfortunate fact is, we are all just a traumatic injury, hereditary predisposition or age-related condition away from acquiring a disability. When it happens to you, what protections do you have against disability discrimination? Under the law, what accommodations are you as an employer required to extend qualified employees with visual impairments and why? What recourse do people with a disability have in situations where reasonable accommodations aren't considered? Triumph Technology works with companies and organizations to find technological solutions for qualified job candidates with visual impairments as well as long time dedicated employees who acquire a disability. Contact Triumph Technology to schedule a consultation. Assistive Technology Product Distribution: Triumph Technology is always adding to our inventory of assistive technology products. Current offerings include speech and braille note takers, talking cell phones, scan and read systems, braille embossers, talking computers and screen magnification systems. View the full array of technology solutions via our Website.
Triumph Technology LLC
Adaptive Technology Training, Consulting and Product Distribution
Web Site: www.triumphonic.com
Getting a recycled computer from this program: There are various packages. If you plan to use screen reading or magnification software Pkg BV is needed. Computers do not include the adaptive software. ReBoot can load it on the computer for the client, but it must be purchased. The cost of the software is whatever Enable Mart's catalog price is plus tax. This should be ordered directly from ReBoot-ATRC for this cost.
Call ReBoot to apply. During this phone call, you will give basic info, including what kind of a system package you will need, such as, adaptive software. A file will be started on you and an application will be sent. Complete the application and fax it back to ReBoot. Be sure to put it to the attention of Ken Willis! When Ken gets this, he will review it with the application committee, compute the cost of the system and call you to let you know the next step and cost. If you are okay with the cost, the next step is to complete 20 hours of community service. When you finish the volunteer work, you need to fax this info to Ken and send a check to ReBoot.
It takes about 2 weeks for ReBoot to build the computer. When it's done, ReBoot will contact you to pick it up at its facility, have you sign paperwork, and orient you to the system.
ReBoot also has New Computer Systems. Tell us what you need and we will build a NEW System for you. Call for a price quote. The application process is the same except you are not required to do volunteer hours.
Credit-Able, the Georgia Assistive Technology Loan Guarantee Program provides guarantees to enable loans for assistive technology and home and vehicle modifications.
Credit-Able provides these loan guarantees, along with negotiated rates and terms, to help Georgians with disabilities, their families and care-givers, and/or employers or individuals become independent and involved members of their communities with an improved quality of life.
Applications are available at Tools for Life Assistive Technology Resource Centers, ReBoot, Independent Living Centers and participating Credit Unions. For information or to request an application, you may contact:
Credit-Able via email at email@example.com.
Tools for Life at 404-638-0385 (Voice/TTY) or 1-800-497-8665 or http://www.gatfl.org.
ReBoot: 770-934-8432, or Fax: 770-934-8433.
Ken Willis: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming up on Eye on Blindness
Your help in spreading the following message is greatly appreciated, as is your feedback. Thanks.
“Eye on Blindness,” the interview show that Blind & Low Vision Services co-produces with Georgia Radio Reading Service (GaRRS) airs twice a month on GaRRS the last Wednesday of each month at 2 p.m. and the following Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The format of the show is one or two guests answering questions posed by our interviewer, Dick Edwards, a retired television broadcaster.
If you don’t have a GaRRS radio, you can tune in on your computer if you have Microsoft Media Player at:
If you would like to get a GaRRS radio, call the office at 404-685-2820 to find out how to get one. Here’s what we have lined up:
September 2005 show (Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. and Oct. 1 at 10:30 a.m.): Topic, The Vocational Rehabilitation System: Frequently Asked Questions Part 1 - Policy and Employment. Guest: Linda Prozonic, Policy Unit Manager for the Georgia Department of Labor, Vocational Rehabilitation
October 2005 show (Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. and Oct. 29 at 10:30 a.m.): Topic, The Vocational Rehabilitation System: Frequently Asked Questions Part 2 - Assistive Technology and Employment. Guests: Joy Kniskern, Assistive Technology Unit Manager, Georgia Department of Labor, Vocational Rehabilitation; Jack Gilson, Assistive Work Technology Services Supervisor for Regions 3A and 3B, Georgia Department of Labor, Vocational Rehabilitation.
If you have comments on a show, please send an e-mail to April Cline, executive director of GaRRS at
or call the main number at GaRRS: 404-685-2820. We would love to have your feedback on our shows. If you have an idea for a show, send those to me at
Community Relations Director
Blind & Low Vision Services of North Georgia
3830 South Cobb Drive, Suite 125, Smyrna, GA 30080; 770-432-7280, or 800-726-7406;
Visit our Web site at
GCB Car and Vehicle Donation Info:
DONATE YOUR CAR. Donate Your Vehicle. Get a Tax Deduction. Fair market value per IRS. We Do All Paperwork. Free Pick-up, running or not! Some restrictions apply. Enabling individuals with visual impairments to reach full potential.
Don’t be hassled selling a used car--if you itemize, you may be ahead with a tax deduction along with helping a charity. Live operators take your call everyday. To Donate call: (800) 831-5597
Georgia Guide Dog Users:
This year's GCB convention featured a panel discussion on using a white cane versus a guide dog. While many of us have decided which travel method works best, there may be times when we want to rethink that decision. Others of us are new to being blind or visually impaired and haven't fully explored the options. Whatever your situation, you'll find this an informative and provocative discussion that brings up the advantages and drawbacks of guide dogs and white canes in a friendly yet sometimes competitive fashion. The presenters are: Lukas Franck, field instructor for the Seeing Eye; Al Kaufman, mobility instructor for the Center for the Visually Impaired; Anil Lewis from the Client Assistance Project; and Melanie Brunson, Executive Director of the American Council of the Blind.
If you weren't at this session, or simply want to hear it again, cassette copies are available for $3 from Georgia Guide Dog Users. Make checks payable to GGDU and send your orders in any format to Marj Schneider, 212 Oxford Drive, Savannah, GA 31405-5427. For further information call Marj at 912-352-1415 or email her at
Please send your changes of address (including e-mail) to GCB treasurer, Linda Cox, , e-mail: email@example.com; or fax to 770-972-9840. You may also contact her via telephone at 770-972-2231.
The next GCB board meeting will be held in Atlanta at the Center for the Visually Impaired, Saturday, October 15, beginning at 10:00 a.m. All GCB members are invited to join this open meeting. For directions, please contact John M. and Ann Sims, at 404-767-1792. Secretary Alice Ritchhart will be sending out a notice and the agenda. If you want to include an item for the agenda, please contact president Marsha Farrow. Her contact information is on the cover page of this magazine.
The editors would like to thank everyone who assisted with this issue of The GCB Digest. There was a variety of articles submitted, and everyone was helpful in getting the necessary information to us in a timely manner. We hope you enjoyed this issue. The deadline for submissions in the next issue is December 10, 2005.