Latest Update(s) To This WebsiteAugust, 2018:

SVCB Resource Links

Guide Dog Users, Inc.


SVCB Membership Spotlights

Bev Clifford – Kaiser Permanente San Jose and Presciption Labeling


SVCB Local Activities

Menlo Charity Horse Show – a Benefit for Vista Center

Tabard Theatre

Vista Center

Superfest Disability Film Festival

Shared Vision - Low Vision Expo - FREE Event


Latest Update(s) To This WebsiteJuly, 2018:

SVCB Resource Links

Research Opportunities:


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:

Ø   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.

Ø   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:

Ø  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.

Ø  Through our annual Barbara Rhodes Adaptive 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

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

Ø  Our web site has links to resources and contact information.

Ø  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.

Ø  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 BlindCCB 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 Barbara Rhodes Adaptive Technology Grant

SVCB Constitution & By-Laws

SVCB Resource Links

SVCB Local Activities

SVCB Membership Spotlights

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SVCB Meetings

Our meetings take place every third Saturday in the community room of the Monte Vista Terrace Apartments (1101 Grant Road in Mountain View) and run from 9:30 AM. to 1 PM. The Monte Vista Terrace Apartments are one block from the intersection of Grant Road and El Camino Real and are accessible by bus #22. To read timely announcements and find out what will be happening during our next meeting, read our SVCB Phone Tree Message.

SVCB Past Meeting Recordings

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SVCB Phone Tree Message

SVCB meetings are held on the 3rd Saturday of each month, 9:30 AM to 1 PM. The location is the dining room of the Monte Vista Terrace Apartments at 1101 Grant Road, Mountain View, one block from El Camino Real, 22 VTA bus.

Phone Tree Message for August, 2018

From President Susan Glass

Get ready for the picnic! It's on Saturday, August 18 at Hellyer Community Park in San Jose, and our picnic site is called Yerba Buena. The address of the park is 
985 Hellyer Ave. It is accessible by VTA Access and bus lines, and Access will not be required to pay for parking. The registration date for the picnic is Monday, August 13.

The chapter is providing hamburgers, hot dogs, and vegie burgers. Let Bev Clifford know whether you are bringing drinks, a dessert, or an appetizer. 

Michelle's blurb

Join us at our August picnic for a special raffle! Five very nice prizes have been donated for this event: a Starbucks gift card, a Wilson voice recorder, a Pair of accessible walkie-talkies (batteries and chargers included), a Nokia N82 cell phone with Talkx screen reader and KNFB reader on it (to be used as a hand-held reading device), and a voucher for a Pair of tickets for Tabard Theatre's production of "Another Roll of the Dice." Tickets are $1 each or six tickets for $5. 

Please let Michelle know if you have need of a Prodigy Voice Blood Glucose Monitoring System (comes with case and instructions). She can get it to you at the picnic if she knows in advance. You can contact her 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 A donation of any amount would be appreciated. 

If you wish to purchase bags of Welch's Fruit Snacks, Kirkland Nut Bars, and/or nut mix with cranberries or with chocolate at the picnic, please order these items from Michelle in advance so she knows how many to bring. (Her contact info is listed above.)

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SVCB Past Meeting Recordings

SVCB Meeting Programs – To skip instructions, click SVCB Program List.

Welcome to the index page for SVCB's meeting program segments. Through links on this page, you can stream or download presentations that occurred during the program segments at monthly meetings of the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind. Program segments posted here have been approved by their presenters for online availability. Other segments that have not been approved are available to SVCB members by contacting  

Feedback is welcomed. Send comments to

What is streaming and downloading?

Each month in the list below has two links associated with it: "stream" and "download." Both links let you listen to your selected program but in different ways.

When you select "stream," your media player starts, and you hear the program almost immediately. Problem is, you can only listen to it, you can't move forward or backward easily nor do you have a copy of the program on your computer to listen to later. But if you just want to sit back with your favorite "whatever," selecting "stream" is the right choice. When you need to stop the program, exit your media player (typically with the alt-f4 key combination).

Selecting the download link for a program starts the sequence you use to download a file. After the file is downloaded, you start your media player, open this file and begin listening to your program. The difference is that now you can easily move backward and forward through the program as well as increase the speech rate (on some players). The downside of the download process is that getting the file to your computer can take some time, perhaps two minutes.


Depending on file associations on your operating system, you may have trouble with the audio links. If nothing happens when you click on the "listen" link, try the "download" link as experiments indicate that this may behave like the "listen" link.

If you can only listen to audio, the audio file can still be downloaded. Here's how:

Do the keystroke to stop the audio. This is control-p in Windows Media Player.

Pull down the file menu:, typically with alt-f.

Select the "save as" function.

The name of the audio file will be highlighted so all you have to do is click the "save" button.

You will be returned to your media player after the file has downloaded to your computer.


SVCB Program List

Choose a year, and then select stream or download.

2018 programs

2017 programs

2016 programs

2015 programs

2014 programs

2013 programs

2012 programs

2011 programs

2010 programs

2009 programs

2008 programs

2007 programs

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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).

President Susan Glass,

Vice-President   Alice Turner,

Recording Secretary   John Glass,

Correspondence SecretaryNaomi Grubb,

Treasurer Vic Clifford,

Board MembersMike Keithley, John McNulty, Lupe Medrano,

Immediate Past-President   Rob Turner,

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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 Adaptive Technology Grant:

Chair: Alice Turner  

Committee: Alice Turner, John Glass, Susan Glass, Diane Harms, 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

Due to content sensitivity, for online IN-TOUCH Newsletter review prior to February 2018, email an access request to:

February 2018

March 2018

April 2018

May 2018

June 2018


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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:

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

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

Ø   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.

Ø   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 $10 per year (or $13 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 Barbara Rhodes Adaptive Technology Grant

Launched in 2010, this program annually awards a grant of up to $1500 to a blind or visually impaired person living in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Santa Cruz or San Benito Counties who can best demonstrate the need for adaptive technology that will improve his/her quality of life or advance his/her educational and/or employment opportunities.

Examples of items that the grant might fund include, but are not limited to:

Ø   Polarizing sunglasses

Ø   Hearing aids and audiologist fees

Ø   Mobility aids (like white canes) and payment for mobility instructors

Ø   Adapted mobile devices

Ø   Adapted computers

Ø   Repair of adapted computers

Ø   Magnifying systems

Ø   Medical aids

Ø   Bar code readers

Past awardees


Grant Recipient Awarded $1000 for a Trekker Breeze

Our first recipient, Fulton Mah of San Jose, received a Trekker Breeze, a GPS system designed for visually impaired people, at SVCB's February, 2011 meeting. Fulton told us how his award will help him travel on foot and use public transit.


The 2012 grant recipients were Ms. Lynette Kersey and Mr. Abdihakiin Ahmed, both from San Jose. Both award recipients are blind. Ms. Kersey was awarded a Language Master talking dictionary to help her teach braille to blind students whose first language is not English. She also used her grant funds to purchase a 1-year maintenance agreement for her braille notetaker, a computer that she uses for teaching, and for her work as a braille proofreader.

Mr. Abdihakiin Ahmed is the founder and developer of a nonprofit organization called East African Visually Impaired Community (EAVIC) which advocates for the East African Blind Community in both the Bay Area and Africa. He was awarded an iPhone, which he plans to use to enhance both his personal independence and his nonprofit organization.


The 2013 technology grant was awarded to Ms. Susan Durst of Santa Cruz California. Ms. Durst is a client of Vista Center for the Blind, and she has been losing her eyesight for some time now. She received a Junior Goose Neck Lamp that affords good lighting for low vision people, and a Pico Magnifier, a small CCTV that fits in a purse. Though retired from her career, she enjoys an active life complete with lots of reading.


The fifth-annual Barbara Rhodes Adaptive Technology Grant, awarded at SVCB'S April, 2015 membership meeting, was awarded to Mr. John Vandervort of San Jose! Mr. Vandervort has partial sight, and for some time now has found reading difficult. He requested the following items: Reinecker MANO Portable CCTV (a portable video magnifier), ZoomText Update version 10.1, and the Jim Bliss Low Vision System +training course.


Our 2015 Tech Grant award winner was Ms. Camille Gilmore. Diagnosed as legally blind with glaucoma at the Vista Center Low Vision Clinic, Ms. Gilmore has attended Mission College since 2011, where she is earning a Community Health Worker certificate, and an Associates Degree in Sociology. She has thus far completed 60 units, and she has 3 more semesters to complete. In addition to her studies, Camille volunteers as an assistant in the Adaptive PE program at Mission College. She will use her grant award to purchase school supplies and adaptive technology. From the Vista Blind Center store, she'll purchase Eyewear shades, 10-20 pens, bold line paper, Symantech Endpoint Protection, a Kurzweil 1000 upgrade, and a Clear View c Speech 24-inch HD Desktop Magnifier. Congratulations, Camille!


The 2016 Barbara Rhodes Technology Award was given to Lupe Medrano. Lupe is a long-time SVCB member, and she received an iPhone along with funds to pay for training at the Silicon Valley Blind Center and funds to cover transportation costs to and from the center. Lupe hopes that her iPhone will help her be more independent.


The 2017 Barbara Rhodes Technology Award was given to Gabriela Aldana. Gabriela is a mentor to new clients at the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, and she continues to learn new technology to further cope with her blindness. She received the grant to purchase accessible computer technology, specifically an Apple iPhone 7 Plus phone and an HP Laptop computer – replacing outdated and failing equipment.

For more info about the Barbara Rhodes Technology Grant, call 888-652-5333 or email Click SVCB Barbara Rhodes Grant for a print application to be downloaded that gives all the instructions.

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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 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.


Breast Cancer Support Group - For questions, call Lori Scharff

516-887-1336, or


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:



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.


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


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:

Ø      Healthcare Survey

How many times have you all wished for better interactions with health care professionals? Carmel, a research assistant at the University of Texas-El Paso, is working on a study about that very topic. And you can help! My name is Carmel and I am a research assistant with the Judgment and Decision Making Lab at the University of Texas at El Paso. My lab is doing research with blind, low vision, and visually impaired adults and their interactions with healthcare professionals. We are currently administering a survey on this topic. The PI is a blind doctoral candidate. All participants will be entered into a raffle for a $100 gift card. If you are interested please e-mail us at, or give us a call at (915) 747-8659. If you get our voicemail, feel free to leave a quick message with your name and phone number so we can get back to you as soon as we can.


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.

2018-2019 Season –

Another Roll Of the Dice – Sep. 14 – Oct. 7, 2018

The Explorers Club – Oct. 26 – Nov. 18, 2018

Uptown Holiday Swing – Nov. 30 – Dec. 16, 2018

Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook – Jan. 11 – Feb. 3, 2019

Beau Jest – Feb. 15 – Mar. 10, 2019

Queen Of the Mist – Apr. 5 – Apr 28, 2019



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


Los Altos Ye Olde Towne Band

Come and enjoy a free, old-fashioned band concert in a beautiful park setting. Each month, Ye Olde Towne Band of Los Altos provides an enjoyable concert presenting music ranging from rousing marches to popular musicals. Spend a lazy Sunday afternoon sitting on the grass listening to your favorite concert music. A playground is available for the youngsters. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy.


Superfest Disability Film Festival

Enjoy a night “out” at the movies at our first-ever outdoor Superfest Showcase! Bring candy, food, drinks, blankets, & friends! There will be limited chairs and tables, so feel free to bring your own seating arrangements.

When: Wednesday, August 29, 2018, 8:00pm-9:30pm
Where: Redwood City Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City

All entertainment will have open captions and audio description. 

If you have any additional access requests, please email by August 19, 2018.


Menlo Charity Horse Show – a Benefit for Vista Center

Free AIRA Service for the Menlo Charity Horse Show

Anyone who is blind or visually impaired and interested in attending the Menlo Charity Horse Show, a benefit for Vista Center, is invited to experience the show by using the Aira app on their smart phone at no charge. 

The Menlo Charity Horse Show will be held from Tuesday, August 7th through Sunday, August 12th at the Menlo Circus Club, 190 Park Lane, Atherton CA 94027. Events are generally from 9 a.m. " 5 p.m., though some run a little later (though earlier on Sunday, the last day). 

To receive a Gate Pass (otherwise a $10 admission that goes to Vista Center), contact Julie at or 650 858-0202 x110. She can mail it to you if there is time, or hold it at the Vista Center reception desk for you to pick up on your way to the show.

Please refer to the instructions below for downloading the app ahead of time so that it will activate when you arrive at the Horse Show.

Aira is an assistive technology that provides subscribers instant access to information through highly trained agents. 

To use Aira:
1. Download the Aira App, either the iOS or Android version
2. On the Aira app, choose "Tap to use Aira as a Guest for FREE!"
3. Enter your email address and tap on "Sign Up as a Guest." You can do this from any location.
4. When you arrive at the Horse Show, which is a free access zone, you will receive a push notification confirming you are in a free zone and can make calls. 
5. The call button will be activated automatically for you to make a call. (You do not have to select anything on the app..)

John Glass
Access Technology Manager
Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired
2500 El Camino Real, Suite 100
Palo Alto, CA 94306
650-858-0202 ext. 123


Vista Center


Shared Vision - Low Vision Expo - FREE Event

Our Low Vision Expo is on Saturday, September 8th, 2018 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Louden Nelson Community Center, 301 Center Street, Santa Cruz, CA  95060.  
Our keynote speaker is ophthalmologist Dr. Carolyn K.. Pan with Byers Eye Institute at Stanford, whose presentation will be on Diabetic Retinopathy.  Highlights include a technology presentation presented by the Computer Engineering Department at UC Santa Cruz; and Adventures in Low Vision - Living Each Day to the Fullest, where panelists will discuss  the social/emotional impacts of vision loss, factors in deciding whether or not to have a guide dog, an overview of Assistive Technology, and how to maintain an active recreational lifestyle. 

The very latest in equipment and technology will be demonstrated by a variety of exhibitors. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn about critical resources in the community including services provided through Vista Center and other local organizations.  Register by September 1st to receive a free lunch. This is an event not to be missed!            

Low Vision Expo Event Schedule is listed below. For more details, please visit our website at under the header News & Events.

10:00 AM - 12:30 PM       Registration/Visit Exhibitor Hall 
[Exhibitor Hall is open 10 AM - 4 PM]
10:30 AM - 10:45 AM       Welcome & Introductions
10:45 AM - 12:00 PM       Diabetic Retinopathy 
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM Lunch - (Included if you register by September 1st, 2018)
1:00 PM - 1:45 PM          Technology Presentation             
2:00 PM - 2:45 PM      Adventures in Low Vision - Living Each Day to the Fullest
4:00 PM                     Low Vision Expo Concludes. 


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SVCB Membership Spotlights


Bev Clifford – Kaiser Permanente San Jose and Presciption Labeling

Before I begin this narrative, I want to pay tribute to the woman who started it all: the late Barbara Rhodes, long-time and treasured member of our Silicon Valley Council of the Blind chapter. Due to her tireless effort and New York chutzpah, Kaiser began offering Talking Pill Bottles to its patients in our area sometime in the early 2000's. We miss her, and our chapter has since created our Barbara Rhodes Technology Grant in her honor. I was one of the patients who benefited from her work, and her example inspired me to take action.


I was also inspired by a company called EnVision America, which for several years had been struggling to convince Kaiser Permanente that their product, ScripTalk (a playback unit that audibly reads a person all the information on their prescription labels) would be beneficial to its blind and visually impaired patients. Near the beginning of 2017, not long after Vic and I had signed up for the Kaiser Senior Advantage program, I determinedly began a phone campaign to encourage Kaiser to seriously consider ScripTalk—and that's making a long story short: there were many calls to many departments before finally, in April 2017, I reached someone who was willing to listen to and take notes on what I had to say. And whether because of their ongoing communication with EnVision America, or possibly spurred on by my insistent nagging, I received a call two months later informing me that my next prescriptions would arrive with a ScripTalk unit that would read the information that a mail-order pharmacist would record on a little label on the bottom of each prescription bottle or box. I was thrilled! And I made a special call to their Pharmacy Department that very day thanking Kaiser fervently for finally seeing the light.


In January of 2018, I became a member of Kaiser San Jose's Member Patient Advisory Council (MPAC), which meets once a month to glean important input from and listen to the concerns of patients on any and all issues, whether trivial or serious, surrounding their Kaiser facility here, so that patients and Kaiser staff can work together to address them. During my intake interview, I made it clear that my major reason for joining this committee was to advocate for people with disabilities, particularly (of course) those of us who are blind and visually impaired, and that I was especially interested in speaking with pharmacy representatives. For although I was extremely grateful for Kaiser's adoption of ScripTalk, I knew they could do more. I was aware that EnVision America also offers braille labeling on prescription containers (a fact that would be vital to the deaf-blind community), plus they have developed an iPhone app called ScripView that enables VoiceOver to read a specific kind of label affixed to the little instruction booklet that comes with each prescription, therefore allowing visually impaired patients with large print capability to read the information on prescription containers as well.


Just last month, when I received the agenda for our upcoming MPAC meeting, I saw that people from Pharmacy would be attending. And fortunately for me, I was in a position to demonstrate not only the ScripTalk unit, but also the braille labeling and the iPhone app, reason being that before I returned to Kaiser I was under AETNA's medical insurance, and AETNA had agreed to implement all three of EnVision America's options, wherez at that time Kaiser hadn't agreed to any of them. When I was asked which option I wanted, I requested them all, so that when the time came I could show somebody at Kaiser how they all worked. And now, at last, that time had arrived.


So I happily packed up my ScripTalk unit, an old AETNA prescription bottle with the braille label, the little instruction booklet to be used with the ScripView iPhone app (that I had just downloaded that morning), and off I went to the meeting. The other MPAC members and the assembled staff seemed impressed with the products--most of them had never heard about or seen them--and after the meeting one of the pharmacists came to my table to get a better look at the bottle with the braille label. I was pleased with my demonstration except for the iPhone app, which had worked (although slowly) that morning, but which I couldn't guarantee would work properly at the meeting. But at least I was able to explain the concept, showing them the app, and then turning up the volume to the max so they could listen to how VoiceOver can read the prescription information from the history of the labels it had previously scanned this morning. Then I went home and forgot about it all.


That meeting was about two weeks ago. And just two days ago, I received a call from one of the Volunteer Coordinators we work with, who was delighted to spread the news that Kaiser San Jose's mail-order pharmacy has just ordered the braille printer they need to emboss braille labels for prescription bottles, and that when I refill my next prescriptions, the bottles/boxes will have braille on them! And if they'll do this for me, that means that any other San Jose Kaiser patient who wants braille on their bottles can get it, too. Hallelujah! I'm not sure if every walk-in pharmacy will have a braille printer quite yet, and I have no idea whether Kaiser will implement the large-print option in the future, but this is a good start. Hooray for advocacy!


SVCB Recognized with California Senate Member Resolution No. 137


California Senate Resolution

By the Honorable Jim Beall, 15th Senatorial District;

Relative to Commending

Silicon Valley Council of the Blind


WHEREAS, As a Mountain View-based, nonprofit membership organization, the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind has worked diligently for over 30 years to fulfill its mission to improve the quality of life for all persons with vision loss through its long-standing and singular advocacy, mutual support, and other consequential efforts, for which the Council and its members are deserving of special honors and commendations; and

WHEREAS, Extending a welcome to all persons who share its desire to improve the quality of life for persons with vision loss, the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind is a membership organization of persons who are blind or visually impaired, and their families and friends, that draws its membership largely from Santa Clara County and is organized as a chapter of the California Council of the Blind, which, in turn, is a state affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, a nonprofit organization with a nationwide reach; and

WHEREAS, In service to accomplishing its mission, the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind has undertaken a number of activities which include, among others, educating both the public and its own members about the capabilities, responsibilities, and special needs of persons who are blind or visually impaired, and working jointly with other organizations that share the Council’s goals; and

WHEREAS, Since the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind was founded in 1987, as its membership has undergone a substantial increase, so too has the scope of the organization’s efforts, which now include regular monthly meetings that provide opportunities for persons with vision loss to learn about and discuss issues of concern with public officials, professionals in the field of blindness, and other blind persons; the publication of a monthly newsletter in formats that include braille, large print, e-mail, and cassette tape; the hosting of a Web site with links to resources and contact information; and the sponsorship of social and recreational activities where persons sharing the Council’s goals can get to know one another and experience the solidarity that encourages them to “keep up the good work”; and

WHEREAS, Also reflective of the broader scope of the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind’s activities is the focus on members educating themselves about legislation and government regulations related to blindness, as well as members’ active efforts to improve legislation and regulations through testimony and hearings, especially in relation to matters vital to the independence of blind and visually impaired persons such as transportation; and

WHEREAS, In addition, since the initiation of its annual Barbara Rhodes Adaptive Technology Grant in 2010 and consistent with its mission, the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind has offered up to $1,500 to a blind or visually impaired person who can best demonstrate the need for adaptive technology as a means of improving quality of life, or advancing educational or employment opportunities, or both; and

WHEREAS, Having worked diligently for over 30 years to provide its members and the wider community of blind and visually disable persons with “Access to Life,” the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind has proved itself to be an effectual and laudably mission-driven organization, whose members’ advocacy, provision of mutual support, and diverse beneficial efforts have improved the well-being and quality of life for persons with vision loss throughout Santa Clara County and beyond; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED BY SENATOR JIM BEALL, That he takes great pleasure in commending the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind for its exemplary efforts in fulfillment of its mission to improve the quality of life for all persons with vision loss, and extends his best wishes for the continued success of the Council’s invaluable services and programs in the future.

Members Resolution No. 137

Dated this 10th day of March, 2018

Honorable Jim Beall

15th Senatorial District


Bill Tipton - Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

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Picture of Bill Tipton.


May 17 was Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). To celebrate that day and the importance of accessibility, Bill Tipton shares a blog posted by his employer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Community, which includes a tip to assist in increasing one component of accessibility. The blog also describes some of the importance of accessibility and its content can be located at this URL:



A Celebration of Julie B. Lovin’s Life

Picture of Julie B. Lovins.


Dr. Julie Beth Lovins, civic activist, active citizen, “language doctor”, Mountain View resident.

A celebration of life occurred Sunday, 11 February 2018, 12:30 pm at the Mountain View City Hall Council Chambers. The event was led by Lenny Siegel, Mayor of Mountain View, California, and sponsored by the Pacific Studies Center and the Old mountain View Neighborhood Association.

Julie died peacefully in hospice care at her home in Old Mountain View on Friday night, 16 January 2018, after a 15-month journey with brain cancer, supported by wonderful friends and neighbors. Julie’s beloved husband and civic partner Dr. Greg Fowler had died unexpectedly on 25 September 2016. She was diagnosed with glioblastoma – an aggressive, incurable brain cancer – in October 2016, just 18 days after the unexpected death of her husband of nearly 29 years. Born in Washington, D.C., in 1945, she grew upon on the East Coast and attended high school in Amherst, Massachusetts. She earned her associate degree with honors at Pembroke College (now Brown University) and her master’s and doctoral degrees in linguistics at the University of Chicago. Julie taught Japanese phonology for three years at prestigious Tokyo universities, implemented early speech synthesis at Bell labs, then engineered software at seven Silicon Valley firms and consulted on computational linguistics for many more through the 1990s. According to her family, she invented the first “stemming algorithm” that cuts endings off a word until just its meaning-bearing stem is left, enabling computers to understand and synthesize human speech. This past September, then-Mayor Ken Rosenberg described her diverse and devoted civic efforts in a tribute at a City Council meeting, saying of her and her husband, “They enlightened our discourse and anchored our civic conscience. Few have done so much to make our lives better. This couple set us a high standard for what it means to be citizens of a democracy.” The video tribute may be viewed at:

The family prefers that memorial donations be sent to the League of Women Voters (, Mountain View Educational Foundation (, Community Health Awareness Council ( and Silicon Valley Council of the Blind (

You can carry on Julie and Greg’s good work by volunteering with Mountain View coalition for Sustainable planning ( or Advocates for Affordable Housing (


Honorary membership in SVCB awarded to Ms. Cathy Spielberger Cassetta, Tabard Theatre Company

This certificate is awarded September 16, 2017, San Jose, CA to: Ms. Cathy Spielberger Cassetta


The members of the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind, an affiliate of the California Council of the Blind, celebrate and commend Ms. Cathy Spielberger Cassetta, Producing Artistic Director at the Tabard Theatre Company, for her lifelong dedication to bringing live theater to blind and visually impaired patrons. She does this through carefully choreographed pre-show descriptions of stage settings, and hands-on experiences that let blind patrons touch actors' costumes and other props and artifacts that are integral to a particular show. She also provides accessible play bills, discounted tickets, and donated tickets that are part of Silicon Valley Council of the Blind's fund-raising efforts. We therefore present her with a Lifetime, Honorary Membership in the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind, with all benefits and privileges that accompany such membership.

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Certificate award to Ms. Cathy Spielberger Cassetta


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