Latest Update(s) To This Website – May 2019:

SVCB Meetings –

New Chapter Meeting Location started in February 2019!

SVCB Local Activities

Tabard Theatre – future season dates

KNOWBILITY - Paid Usability Study

Project Invent Summer Camp - SVCB Invite


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:

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

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 Barbara Rhodes Adaptive Technology Grant 

SVCB Constitution & By-Laws

SVCB Resource Links

SVCB Local Activities

SVCB Membership Spotlights

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SVCB Meetings –

New Chapter Meeting Location started in February 2019!

For many years our monthly chapter meetings had taken place every third Saturday in the community room of the Monte Vista Terrace Apartments, 1101 Grant Road in Mountain View, CA

Starting with our February 16th, 2019 meeting, from then on SVCB meetings are being held at the Vista Center – San Jose Office, 101 N. Bascom Avenue, San Jose, CA 95128, 1-408-295-4016, every third Saturday from 9:30 AM. to 1 PM. The center is now under the direction of Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Palo Alto, CA.

We will offer the same lunch function through Subway at the new location as we had in Mountain View.

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


by Michelle McGrew

See: SVCB Phone Tree Message that follows.

SVCB Past Meeting Recordings

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SVCB Phone Tree Message

Our Next Membership Meeting: May 18, 2019, 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

The program for the May meeting has been requested by several SVCB members. You'll have an opportunity to tell your life-story an anything else you want to share. Expect fun!

From Alice McGrath:

Come to the May Meeting for SVCB to participate in a special drawing.  The prize for the drawing will be announced at the meeting.  There is no cost to participate, you just need to be at the meeting to win! Come and join the fun. See you at the May Meeting!

Michelle's Blurb:

We're having an auction at our May meeting! Items up for bid include a Sunbeam electric kettle, sake decanter with a set of four cups, Aqua Spa bluetooth shower speaker, Avon European Tradition porcelain cup and saucer collectable, yoga for the blind and visually impaired DVD, set of six Noritake bone china saucers and teacups, a black leather-like tote bag (large enough to hold a laptop), and a new large canvas tote bag (in red, white, and blue).

We'll also have the following for sale at the meeting: Meltaways ($4 per bag), and, for $1 each, candy bars, nut mix (with cranberries or with chocolate), Welch's Fruit Snacks, Nut Bars, and our Cookies of the Month: Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies baked by Michelle McGrew. 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, 2019:

President  Susan Glass, 

Vice-President   Alice Turner, 

Recording Secretary   Rob Turner, 

Correspondence Secretary – Naomi Grubb, 

Treasurer  Vic Clifford, 

Board Members – Mike Keithley, Lupe Medrano, Joe Silveria, 

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

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


January 2019

February 2019

March 2019

April 2019

May 2019

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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:

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


The purpose of the grant is to ensure greater economic opportunity and a richer quality of life for all blind and visually impaired people, which is also the goal of the California Council of the Blind (CCB).

In keeping with this goal, the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind (SVCB), a chapter of CCB, will make a grant of 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 or advance his/her educational and/or employment opportunities.

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


Barbara Rhodes was a respected and valued member of SVCB from 1991 (when she joined the organization) until her death in 2007. She was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa midway through her adult life. Friends and colleagues remember her good-natured (if sometimes feisty and outspoken) tendencies whenever issues of accessibility for blind and visually impaired people arose. She was a born advocate. A native New Yorker, she, along with her husband Bill and their son Kenneth, moved to San Jose, California, in 1976 where they bought a home in Almaden.

With CCB, Barbara worked tirelessly on the Committee for Access and Transportation (CAT), the Governmental Affairs Committee, the Public Relations Committee, and the Seniors with Vision Loss Committee. In San Jose, she served on the Elderly and Disabled Advisory Committee and the San Jose Disability Advisory Commission. This latter group was responsible for getting over 40 audible pedestrian signals installed throughout the city of San Jose and Santa Clara County. Barbara was passionate about accessible health care, and her voice did much to influence California's Kaiser Hospital system to implement "talking pill bottles," that make taking prescription medications infinitely easier for blind and visually impaired patients.

Barbara Rhodes lived a committed life. Her legacy is one of determination and concrete accomplishment.


The qualifications for the grant are as follows - the individual must be:


The winners will be selected by a task force comprised of SVCB chapter members who will read all applications and select a winner.


The award process consists of a completed application, which must be postmarked no later than Thursday, February 28, 2019.

The Barbara Rhodes Technology Grant task force will review all applications. If you are selected as a finalist, you will be invited to meet with the committee for an in-person or telephone interview. The committee will notify the winner by early April, and present the application award at our May 18 general membership meeting, where the winner will be invited to attend a special ceremony.


Individuals who are applying for the grant need to complete the following steps:

  1. Submit a completed application form, see: ‘Application Form’ Please fill in all the blanks.

Note: If you would like coaching to get you started on your application, call 888-652-5333 or email A committee member will contact you.

2.  Write a 200-word personal statement, typed and double-spaced. At the end of the application form, you will find instructions explaining what is required in the statement.

Note: Some information asked for in the personal statement is the same as in the application form.  Consider the statement an opportunity to tell your story more fully, using, if necessary, the facts listed in the application form.

3.   Be sure to include a letter from an eye care professional, medical doctor, or blindness professional stating that you are legally blind.

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, leave voicemail at 888-652-5333, or email

See: Past Barbara Rhodes Technology Grant Award Winners

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.

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: 


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 – 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

KNOWBILITY - Paid Usability Study

Dear Silicon Valley Council of the Blind,

My name is Angela Bailey and I work for a non-profit called Knowbility we believe in accessibility to all digital platforms for all abilities. We are conducting an in-person, PAID usability study with a large tech company between 5/30 and 6/6. We were wondering if you know individuals who are blind or low vision who would like to make $150 for about 1.5 hours of work?

If so, would you be willing to send out the following information to them, along with my email address as a contact?

User Testing Opportunities in Sunnyvale, CA

Please complete the following two tasks:

Email if interested.

Sign up for our database - Link to AccessWork database

We conduct studies throughout the year. Including remote ones where you simply sign onto Zoom for the study so you don't have to travel. If you wish to be notified any time there is a study you pre-qualify for please sign up for the database using the code Sunnyvale.  

If you want to know more about us feel free to check out our website. We have been around for 20 years and have been recognized as leaders in digital accessibility.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Thank you,

Angela Bailey



Project Invent Summer Camp - SVCB Invite

I'm Connie Liu, founder and executive director of Project Invent. Project Invent is hosting a free weeklong summer camp for students from low-income households in Milpitas from June 10-14. Students will be learning how to use design and engineering to make an impact in the community. We are inviting people with disabilities to work with a group of 10 students who will be using their creativity and technology skills to invent you a solution to an existing challenge you have. Some photos from last year's camp is attached. We hope you can join us for an hour in Milpitas on Monday, June 10 and Wednesday, June 12 to share your experiences and feedback to their innovations. We are offering a $150 stipend for your time. We would love to have you be part of this powerful learning experience!


Mon, June 10: 1-2:30PM Interviews

Wed, June 12: 1-2:30PM Prototype Testing

[OPTIONAL] Fri, June 14: 1-2PM Presentations


San Jose Evergreen Community College Extension at Milpitas

1450 Escuela Pkwy

Milpitas, CA 95035, USA


You will be paid a $150 stipend to help offset travel costs and to thank you for your time!

Please get in touch with Connie at if you (or anyone you know) are interested in getting involved. Many thanks!

Connie Liu

Founder & Executive Director


phonr: 760.805.7638



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

Into the Wake Of the Moon – Jun 8-9, 2019

Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Crown Jewel – Sep 13 – Oct 6, 2019

The Tin Woman – Oct 25 – Nov 17, 2019

A Taffeta Christmas – Dec 6 – 22, 2019

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

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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