VIPS Newsletter for March 2006
On February 11, 2006 the VIPS group had a great meeting with 17 members in attendance. Kyle Parrish and Dave Miller were attending funerals and could not be at our meeting. Millie Gersenson, Gary and Denise Mackenstadt and I had items, described below, discussed at the meeting.
Denise brought several kinds of white mobility canes with her to demonstrate how to use them, correct measuring for each persons need as to the length of the cane and adaptability. Three people bought canes. Two persons, new to canes, were shown how to properly use them.
Gary talked about the upcoming conventions. The first weekend in April, 1-2, there will be a Spring convention in Vancouver, WA for the NFB of WA at the Red Lyon Inn. The National Federation of the Blind convention this year will be in Dallas Texas, July 1 through July 7, at the Hilton. Call 214-761-7500 for room reservations.
Gary also mentioned that the Louis Braille coin that we are looking forward to be minted in time to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth in 2009.
I got the EARS for Eyes [Enrichment Audio Resource Services, Inc.] cassette tapes for Seniors with low vision. We played one tape to see what they were like. These tapes are daily living skills for people who need help with adapting to low vision. The tapes have tips on safety, organization, magnification, lighting, identifying objects, and exploring your environment to better help yourself. These tapes are provided for free. Call 1-800-843-6816 to order your own copies. You do not need a doctors report and your confidence is assured.
Dues for the 2006 year are payable now. The cost is $24.00 per year or $2.00 per month.
There has been a desire for many to lean the simple grade one Braille, which is the basic alphabet plus a few other items. We will be organizing classes in the future.
The National Federation of the Blind convention this year will be in Dallas Texas, July 1 through July 7, at the Hilton. Call 214-761-7500 for room reservations.
New calling committee helpers are Ralph smart and Dan Hoskins.
I have been calling and talking to some of you about your subscriptions to the NFB Braille Monitor, NFB Voices of the Diabetic, NFB Newsline, and the newsletter for the VIPS. All but the news line, which is use by the telephone, are available on cassette tapes. If you would like to have any or all of these resource subscriptions and are not already signed up for them, please let us know when you are contacted. I will bring application forms to the meeting as well.
See you on March 11th at the Sequim Library!!!
Kernel Books
There are currently twenty-seven Kernel Books which tell the stories of blind men and women. When the first editor, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, was asked why he chose the name Kernel Book, he said: "... In the first place, I suppose it has to do with whim. I thought the title was catchy, so I used it. But there is something more. We wanted to go to the very heart of blindness, trying to show our readers what it's really like�and, for that matter, what it isn't like."
We have acquired copies of the Kernel books in large print paperbacks and now on cassette tapes that can be played on any tape player. I will bring the tapes and books to the meeting.
Here is a story from a Kernel book called �Not much of a Muchness�
Cary Supalo is a graduate student studying chemical engineering at Penn State University. He has a keen sense of responsibility and is not willing to use his blindness as an excuse to avoid doing a difficult task. With a measure of pride he relates the following story:
It was a cold evening in mid January, and I had just finished a long day in class and had just finished eating dinner. I was preparing to go to work. I was a computer lab consultant and had a work shift starting at 7:00 p.m. The time had just passed 6:30 p.m. My usual daily plan was to catch a 6:40 p.m. bus that would have gotten me to my computer lab at 6:57 p.m. I was rarely ever late for work because I had always been taught that punctuality was a good trait for an employee to have.
I had just discovered that it had started snowing quite hard while I was eating dinner. Conditions had become blizzard like. I called the bus company to see if the busses were running on schedule. I found out from the dispatcher that the busses were way behind schedule and had not even started their evening routes yet. It was now 6:35 p.m., and I realized that my usual bus commute was not going to work on this evening. I immediately called my employer and informed him that I was going to walk to work in an attempt to get there on time. I had never been a fan of walking in snowy conditions. I realized that I was going to put my cane travel training skills that I obtained from the National Federation of the Blind's training center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to the test.
I put my boots and the rest of my winter gear on and proceeded out the door. I got outside and found that at least five inches or so of fresh snow had fallen on the sidewalk immediately outside of my dormitory. I proceeded to walk down the snow-covered ramp to the main sidewalk.
My commute was about a one-mile walk. I had never walked a distance of that length in the snow before. The snow was falling down at a regular rate and quickly covered my hat and the outside of my coat. I soon discovered that my cane easily moved through the freshly fallen snow and was able to touch the sidewalk, which was still warm, fairly clearly.
I proceeded to walk at a brisk pace towards campus. I crossed a number of different streets and eventually got onto campus where I no longer had the sounds of traffic to keep my sense of direction.
I started walking between campus buildings along what used to be clear sidewalks earlier that afternoon. I navigated through the snow surprisingly easily. I saw my confidence building up with each step that I took. I eventually reached my building and ran up the steps that were covered in snow. I wiped the snow off of my coat and boots and ran to my computer lab.
I arrived in the lab and called in to my supervisor again to clock-in and discovered that the time was right on 7:00 p.m. I had arrived at work despite my not being sure that I could make it on time.
The supervisor on duty was surprised that I was on time because of the forty or so other workers who were scheduled to work the 7:00 p.m. shift over two-thirds of them did not show up due to bad weather. It was at that moment I realized that the confidence I had developed through the National Federation of the Blind really does work in all types of environments.
With confidence in one's skills comes success.
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