Latest Update(s) To This Website – January 2020:

SVCB Meetings – 

SVCB Local Activities

Tabard Theatre – Future Season Dates

Santa Clara County  New Voting Experience

Silicon Valley Council of the Blind

"Access to Life"

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 493, Mountain View, CA 94042–0493

Phone: 888-652-5333 (leave a message)


Website URL:

The Silicon Valley Council of the Blind (SVCB) is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization under the California Council of the Blind. We are a membership organization of persons who are blind or visually impaired, our families and friends. Our goal is to improve the quality of life for all persons with vision loss through advocacy and mutual support. We are organized as a chapter of the California Council of the Blind, which is a state affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, and draw our membership largely from Santa Clara County.

Silicon Valley Council of the Blind (SVCB) Purpose 

SVCB Organization Links

Silicon Valley Council of the Blind (SVCB) Purpose

The Silicon Valley Council of the Blind (SVCB) is a membership organization of persons who are blind or visually impaired, and our families and friends. Our goal is to improve the quality of life for all persons with vision loss through advocacy and mutual support. We are organized as a chapter of the California Council of the Blind, which is a state affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, and draw our membership largely from Santa Clara County. To accomplish our mission, we have undertaken the following activities:

Educate both the public and ourselves about the capabilities and responsibilities as well as the special needs of persons who are blind or visually impaired.

Work jointly with other organizations who share our goals.

Since our founding in 1987 both our size and the scope of our efforts have increased substantially:

Regular monthly meetings are held where persons with vision loss can learn about and discuss issues of concern to them with public officials, professionals in the field of blindness and other blind persons.

Through our annual Barbara Rhodes Access Technology Grant, we offer up to $1500 to a blind or visually-impaired person who can best demonstrate the need for adaptive technology that will improve his/her quality of life of advance her/his educational and/or employment opportunities. To access the current grant application, see or email

A newsletter is published monthly featuring items of current local interest provided in large print, braille, E-mail, and cassette tape.

Our web site has links to resources and contact information.

We continually educate ourselves about legislation and government regulations related to blindness, while actively trying to improve them through testimony and negotiation. For example, we are continuously engaged in efforts to maintain and improve the quality of public transportation, which is so vital to the independence of our members.

SVCB sponsors social and recreational activities where persons who share our goals can get to know one-another and experience the solidarity which helps us all to "keep up the good work".

Participation in SVCB is extended to all persons who share our desire to improve the quality of life of persons with vision loss. Suggestions, donations and volunteers to support our work are welcome.

Rev 1/2018

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SVCB Organization Links

California Council of the Blind – CCB is a non-profit tax-exempt organization composed primarily of Californians who are blind or have low vision.  

Toll-Free in California: 800-221-6359  

Outside California: 916-441-2100 

American Council of the Blind - ACB strives to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and quality of life, for all blind and visually-impaired people. 

Phone: 202-467-5081

SVCB Meetings

SVCB Officers / Board Members

SVCB Committees / Chairpersons

SVCB IN-TOUCH Newsletters

SVCB Business Calendar

SVCB Membership

SVCB The Barbara Rhodes Access Technology Grant

SVCB Constitution & By-Laws

SVCB Resource Links

SVCB Local Activities

SVCB Membership Spotlights

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SVCB Meetings – 

Meetings are held every third Saturday from 9:30 AM. to 1 PM at the Vista Center – San Jose Office, 101 N. Bascom Avenue, San Jose, CA 95128, 1-408-295-4016. The center is now under the direction of Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Palo Alto, CA.

We offer a lunch function through Subway.

To read timely announcements and find out what will be happening during our next meeting, read our SVCB Phone Tree Message.



by Michelle McGrew





SVCB Past Meeting Recordings

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SVCB Phone Tree Message

Our Next Membership Meeting: January 18, 2020, Vista Center – San Jose Office, 101 N. Bascom Avenue, San Jose, CA 95128, 1-408-295-4016, from 9:00 AM. to 1 PM.

9:00: Coffee and conversation. The lunch order deadline is 9:45.
10 AM to 11 AM: Program 
11:10 AM to 12 PM: Business
12 PM to 1 PM: Lunch and socializing


We'll have a discussion of what you want SVCB to be doing in 2020 plus we'll have app demos.


The 2020 SVCB administration takes office. We'll approve the 2020 Business Calender, which was distributed with the January newsletter. We'll also appointment a Picnic Committee chair and discuss a location.

And don't forget your 2020 membership dues. They're now $20 a year. You can pay your dues by bringing them to the meeting and giving them to Mike Keithley, or by sending them to the P.O. Box address. Put "Membership dues" on the memo line.

Michelle's Blurb

We're having a 50/50 raffle at our January meeting! Tickets are $1 each or $5 for six.

We'll also have the following for sale at the meeting: calendars ($10 each), Meltaways ($4 per bag), and, for $1 each, candy bars, nut mix (with cranberries or with chocolate), Welch's Fruit Snacks, Nut Bars, and Almond Cookies baked by Michelle McGrew using Dawn's recipe (this is January's Cookie of the Month). Funds from the cookies benefit our tech grant. To pre-order any items, please contact Michelle by calling 888-652-5333 (leave a message to be forwarded to her, or look her up on our Membership List to call her directly), or send email to



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SVCB Past Meeting Recordings

SVCB Program List

Choose a year, and then select stream or download.

SVCB Meeting Program Segments


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SVCB Officers / Board Members 

All SVCB Officers and Board Members may be contacted by phone at: 888-652-5333 (leave a message).

As of January 1, 2020:

President  Rob Turner, 

Vice-President   Mike Keithley, 

Recording Secretary   Gail Roe, 

Correspondence Secretary – Carol Silveria, 

Treasurer  Vic Clifford, 

Board Members – Naomi Grubb, Lupe Medrano, Joe Silveria, 

Immediate Past-President   Susan Glass, 

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SVCB Committees / Chairpersons 

All SVCB Committee members and Chairpersons may be contacted by phone at: 888-652-5333 (leave a message).

Barbara Rhodes Access Technology Grant:

Chair: Alice Turner  

Committee: Alice Turner, John Glass, Susan Glass, Lorraine Brown, Bev Clifford, Lynette Kersey, Mike Keithley, Michelle McGrew 


Braille Literacy:

Chair: Bev Clifford 

Committee: Bev Clifford, Susan Glass, Mike Keithley, Rob Turner 


Constitution & By-Laws  – Roger Peterson, 


Database Information  – Mike Keithley, 






Goodies  – Bev Clifford, 


Fund-raising  – Michelle McGrew, 


Hospitality  – Naomi Grubb, 


IN-TOUCH Newsletter: 

Chair: Susan Glass 

Copy Editor: Bev Clifford 


Legislation  Mike Keithley, 


Membership  Mike Keithley, 


Sound   Mike Keithley, 


Transportation  Lupe Medrano, 


Volunteers   Naomi Grubb, 


Webmaster   Vic Clifford, 

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SVCB IN-TOUCH Newsletters 

For online IN-TOUCH Newsletter review prior to 2019, email an access request to:













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SVCB Business Calendar

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SVCB Membership

Become a member of SVCB

SVCB is a support group for visually impaired people. If you're visually impaired or want to help, become a member. Although our meetings are open to everyone interested in the blindness community, SVCB membership has these additional benefits for you:

Opportunity to serve on the Board or committees and directly influence chapter activities in the blindness community.

May participate in special SVCB activities such as parties and outings.

Become a member of the California Council of the Blind, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for visually impaired people in California. SVCB is a local chapter of CCB, and we actively assist members to participate in CCB conferences and conventions as well as network within the CCB family.

Become a member of the American Council of the Blind, the national organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for visually impaired people in America and the world. Since CCB is a state affiliate of ACB, you'll belong to the ACB family, and we help visually impaired people attend ACB conferences and convention.

Becoming an SVCB member is easy - fill out a membership application, and along with membership dues send it to P.O. Box 493, Mountain View, CA 94042-0493. Dues are $20 per year (or $30 if between 7/31 and 12/31 to cover through the next year). Click SVCB Membership Application for a print application to be downloaded that gives all the instructions. For more information, email or call our voicemail box at 888-652-5333 (leave a message).

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SVCB The Barbara Rhodes Access Technology Grant

For current information and an application, see:

SVCB The Barbara Rhodes Access Technology Grant 

Click ‘Grant’ for an MS Word document application.

See: Past Barbara Rhodes Access Technology Grant Award Winners

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SVCB Constitution & By-Laws

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SVCB Resource Links

American Foundation for the Blind - "We’re the dreamers and the doers, improving the lives of the more than 20 million Americans who experience blindness or vision loss by amplifying those voices and ensuring equitable access for all."

Bay Area Accessible Performances -

This website shares information about audio described events in the Bay Area for the Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI). We also list shows featuring ASL and relaxed events for neurodivergent folks. 

Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors - Departs every Sunday at noon from Pier 40 in San Francisco. 

Visit  or call: 415-281-0212

Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP) - BORP believes that everyone should have access to the unique challenges that outdoor recreation provides, and makes every effort to accommodate each person's needs, including providing transportation and volunteer support. Visit   or call 510-843-4398 (Lori Gray)

Be Ready to Go: Disability-Specific Supplies for Emergency Kits

Blind Interest Resource Directory (BIRD) – Resource guide offered through VISTA Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Bookshare – Bookshare makes reading easier. Access a huge collection of ebooks for people with reading barriers.

Breast Cancer Support Group - For questions, call Lori Scharff 

516-887-1336, or - Information on business plans, adaptive speech-accessible technology, marketing strategies, funding, training, networking and more - all tailored specifically for entrepreneurs with vision impairments and other disabilities

California Assembly Members (as of March 2018)

California Senate Members (as of March 2018):

Career Corner - Organizations serving the blind, and employment organizations.

Classical Guitar Using Braille – Let’s Play

Article Link:

With Let’s Play, people who are blind or visually impaired can take lessons, and read music using Braille.

Common Good Careers - A mission-driven search firm that is committed to social impact. Our purpose is to support the hiring needs of organizations that are dedicated to tackling today’s most pressing social problems. Contact Jessica Mah at: 

Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI) - CCLVI is an advocacy membership organization for people with low vision ability. The monthly "Let's Talk Low Vision" conferences from CCLVI can be accessed as podcasts at: 


County of Santa Clara – 

Office of Emergency Services

Patty Eaton

Public Risk Communication Officer

Office of the County Executive

55 West Younger Avenue, Suite 450, San Jose, CA 95110-1721

Office: 1-408-808-7818  Cell: 1-408-386-3055

CSUN, California State University, Northridge – Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference.  1-818-677-4929

Disability Air Travel: Information for Seniors & Disabled

Disability Remodeling - What is the Average Cost to Renovate?

Ears For Eyes - A nonprofit public charity. We provide, free of charge, audio lessons that teach adaptive daily living skills to the vision impaired and their caregivers.

Earthquake Safety (courtesy of

Employment (courtesy of

Exercises To Try At Home For Disabled People

When you live with a physical disability or illness, keeping fit can be difficult.

Fire Safety for People with Disabilities: A How-To Guide for Prevention and Evacuation

Guide Dogs for the Blind - Guide Dogs for the Blind empowers lives by creating exceptional partnerships between people, dogs, and communities. 1-800-295-4050

Guide Dog Users, Inc. - Publishes Handbook to Help People Who Are Blind Decide If the Guide Dog Lifestyle is Right for Them. Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI), the largest membership and advocacy organization representing guide dog handlers in the United States, is pleased to announce the recent publication of a revised handbook for perspective guide dog users which shares comprehensive information about acquiring and using a guide dog for safe and independent travel. "A Handbook for the Prospective Guide Dog Handler" is available as an E-book and in print from, Smashwords, and other online sellers. Visit this link for further information and to explore options for purchase:

Help Colleagues With Disabilities Succeed in Meetings - If you’re working with a colleague with a disability in a new capacity, you probably have questions about how to address their needs. You and your organization can easily make accommodations for your colleague, whether you’re working with them remotely or in person. Here’s how to respectfully hold meetings with or onboard a disabled colleague.

Hidden Talent - How Leading Companies Hire, Retain, and Benefit from People with Disabilities, edited by Mark L. Lengnick-Hall

Legislative Hotlines - current issues for blind persons:

800-221-6359, after 5 PM and weekends

800-424-8666, 3-9 PM and weekends

Let's Talk Low Vision - The monthly conferences from CCLVI can be accessed as podcasts at

Lighthouse For the Blind and Visually Impaired - Promote the equality and self-reliance of people who are blind or visually impaired through rehabilitation training, employment placement, Enchanged Hills camp and other relevant services.  1-415-431-1481

Medicine Management (courtesy of

Moving an Aging or Disabled Parent into Your Home: 4 Things You Should Know

National Braille Press - Supports a lifetime of opportunity for blind children through braille literacy and provides access to information that empowers blind people to actively engage in work, family, and community affairs.   1-617-266-6160 or 1-888-965-8965

Navigating Learning Disabilities and the Cost for Treatment – ‘Simple Dollar's’ guide that outlines how to afford out of pocket treatment costs, and provides information on specific rights and services offered to families of children with learning disabilities.

Online Shopping For Consumers With Disabilities – From ‘wikibuy’ a blog guide designed to help people with vision impairment and other common disabilities regain their independence by shopping online. The resources mentioned will help individuals with low vision, colorblindness, or dyslexia have a positive online user experience by helping them read what’s on their computer, tablet, or smartphone screen.

Online Writer’s Group for the Blind

Our goal is to improve the quality of our writing by sharing and discussing our work with each other. If you are a lover of fine writing, we encourage you to join us. Even if you're not an author yourself, you can help by critiquing.
We have created a mailing list, Writersretreat on There you can post any writing you wish the group to discuss. To subscribe to the group, send email to The link to the group  is

Research Opportunities – tbd

Silicon Valley Council of the Blind (SVCB) – Board Meeting

SVCB Board meeting. Call-in: 

800-662-6992; ID: 1184109. If you're not on the Board but wish to attend, contact the SVCB President beforehand.

Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SVILC) - A non-profit, non-residential organization which serves all people with all types of disabilities, including seniors with disabling conditions, who live in Santa Clara County.  1-408-894-9041

Transportation Options for Seniors Who Don’t Drive

VISTA Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired - Empowers individuals who are blind or visually impaired to embrace life to the fullest through evaluation, counseling, education and training.  

1-650-858-0202 or 800-660-2009

2500 El Camino Real, Suite 100, Palo Alto, CA 94306

VTA/ACCESS - VTA ensures a comparable paratransit service is provided to eligible individuals with disabilities who cannot use conventional public transit service due to their physical, visual or cognitive disabilities. Read to learn more about paratransit Service, eligibility, and how to apply.

VTA Access: Call 408-321-2380. After dialing the VTA Access number, press 1 for English or press 0 for an agent and you'll get the recording you need. Then press 1 to schedule a ride, 2 to cancel a ride, 3 for status of a ride (late vehicle), and 4 for general info and client account info. With complaints, concerns, or compliments: call Robert Gebo at 408-321-5954. Your Guide to the Disability Process

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SVCB Local Activities

Tabard Theatre – 

Tabard Theatre shows: To order tickets, call the Tabard box office at 408-679-2330 and speak to Marilyn Watts, or visit SVCB members and Blind Center clients should use Discount Code BC27 when ordering. Performances take place at The Tabard Theatre, 29 North San Pedro Street, San Jose, CA 95110.

2019-2020 Season – New Beginnings

A New Brain – Jan 10-26, 2020

The 39 Steps – Feb 7 – Mar 1, 2020

Baby – Mar 13 – Apr 5, 2020

The Secret Garden – Apr 17 – May 10, 2020



For shows described by AudioVision: 

Get tickets for Broadway San Jose by calling 866-395-2929. Performances are at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts (SJCPA), 255 West Almaden Boulevard, San Jose, on Sundays at 6:30 PM unless noted. Note: 

For all San Francisco productions (Golden Gate and Orpheum theatres): Tickets are generally on sale four weeks before the production opens. To charge tickets and reserve receivers, call 

888-746-1799 (SHN Theaters), or fax your order to 415-581-2121 and ask for AudioVision tickets. If you have any questions, please email

Santa Clara County - New Voting Experience:

Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters is modernizing voting and providing voters with greater flexibility and convenience.

​​​What's changing?​

Starting with the March 3, 2020 Presidential Primary Election:

Every registered voter will receive a Vote By Mail ballot starting 29 days before Election Day

Voters can vote at any of the Vote Centers in Santa Clara County

Approximately 25 Vote Centers will open for 11 days including Election Day and approximately 100 Vote Centers will be open for 4 days including Election Day for a total of 125 Vote Centers throughout the County on Election Day

Vote Centers will offer more space, additional services and new enhanced

voting equipment​

​VOTERS w​​ill have more options an​d will get to choose WHEN, WHERE, and HOW to vote​!​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

So, what are the options?​


Mail your ballot in a postage-paid return envelope​

Place your ballot in an Official Ballot Drop Box

Return your ballot to any Vote Cente​r​​



When: Vote any day during election week (February 22-March 3, 2020)

Where: Visit any of the Vote Centers located throughout the County

How: Vote a paper ballot or on a new voting machine

Check out:


Vista Center – Tech User Group Meetings. If you are interested, please send a message to: 

John Glass 

Director of Access Technology

Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired 

2500 El Camino Real, Suite 100  

Palo Alto, CA 94306 

650-858-0202 ext. 123


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SVCB Membership Spotlights

Bev Clifford – Kaiser Permanente San Jose and Prescription Labeling

Dawn Wilcox - Sea Trials: Around the World With Duct Tape and Bailing Wire by Wendy Hinman is now available on Bookshare. A shipwreck might end a dream of circumnavigating the globe. Not for the Wilcox family. In 1973, the Wilcox family sets off to sail around the world aboard the 40-foot sailboat, Vela. Do enjoy Dawn Wilcox’s saga as written by her daughter-in-law, Wendy Hinman.

Vic and Bev Clifford – Watsonville Nature Center – Braille added to Topographical Map 

SVCB Recognized with California Senate Member Resolution No. 137



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