"Access to Life"
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 493, Mountain View, CA 94042–0493
Phone: 888-652-5333, leave a message
Website URL: www.svcb.cc
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.
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 www.svcb.cc or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Toll-Free in California: 800-221-6359
Outside California: 916-441-2100
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 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 January, 2018
Our January Annual Meeting
Date: Saturday, January 20, 2017
Time: 9:30 AM to 1 PM
9:30: Coffee and conversation. Lunch order deadline: 9:45.
12 AM to 1 PM: Lunch and socializing. The room must be cleared by 1 PM.
Place: Community room of the Monte Vista Terrace Apartments
1101 Grant Road
Event: Raffle (see Michelle's blurb below.)
Our January program speakers are Ms. Jingyi Li and Alexa Siu from Stanford University. They study human interaction with computers and hope to bring prototypes of their work.
Your 2018 SVCB membership dues are due. They are $10. If you haven’t paid yours yet, bring them to the meeting. You can also send them to
PO Box 493
Mountain View, CA 94042.
Make check to “Silicon Valley Council of the Blind,” and put “membership” in the memo.
If you’re dues are not received by January 31, you’re newsletter subscription will be cancelled.
We will be approving the 2018 SVCB business calendar, which was distributed in your newsletter.
We will have 12 Tabard Theater tickets for the February 17 performance of the Miracle Worker. See Michelle’s blurb.
We're having a raffle featuring donated items at our January meeting. Items to be raffled include cassette mailers, a pair of stereo headphones, an iHome speaker, a brown belt (48-inch), body lotion, books on cassette, a pair of photo albums, a box of nice note paper, a pair of Sweet Tomatoes meal certificates, and a $25 New York Pizza gift card. Tickets are $1 each or $5 for six.
We'll have the following for sale at the meeting: Meltaways ($4 per bag) and candy bars ($1 for World's Finest, $2 for See's). And for $1 each, we'll have nut mix (with cranberries or with chocolate), Welch's Fruit Snacks, Nut Bars, and chocolate chip cookies baked by Dawn Wilcox (January's Cookie of the Month). Funds from the cookies benefit our tech grant. To pre-order any items, please contact Michelle at 650-964-7973 or at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, we're hoping you can make it to see Garvey in Tabard's "The Miracle Worker." We're encouraging those with vision impairments to attend both the hands-on presentation for visually impaired patrons at 1:30 pm and the 3 pm show on February 17. You can purchase tickets for this showing at the SVCB meeting for a very special price of $15 for members and $20 for non-members. We'll have more info about the show, show times, and tickets at our meeting.
Want one of the "Blind Strong" T Shirts? Please contact John Vandervort at 888-652-5333 for more info or to place an order. Shirts cost $20 (XXL and above cost $23). He'll need to know what color and size shirt you want.
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 email@example.com.
Feedback is welcomed. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Choose a year, and then select stream or download.
All SVCB Officers and Board Members may be contacted by phone at: 888-652-5333, leave a message.
President – Susan Glass, email@example.com
Vice-President – Alice Turner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Recording Secretary – John Glass, email@example.com
Correspondence Secretary – Naomi Grubb, firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer – Vic Clifford, email@example.com
Board Members – Mike Keithley, John McNulty, Lupe Medrano, firstname.lastname@example.org
Immediate Past-President – Rob Turner, email@example.com
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Committee: Alice Turner, John Glass, Susan Glass, Diane Harms, Bev Clifford, Lynette Kersey, Mike Keithley, Michelle McGrew – email@example.com
Chair: Bev Clifford – firstname.lastname@example.org
Committee: Bev Clifford, Susan Glass, Mike Keithley, Rob Turner – email@example.com
Constitution & By-Laws – Roger Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Database Information – Mike Keithley, email@example.com
Chair: – firstname.lastname@example.org
Committee: – email@example.com
Goodies – Bev Clifford, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fund-raising – Michelle McGrew, email@example.com
Hospitality – Naomi Grubb, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chair: Susan Glass – email@example.com
Committee: Susan Glass, Mike Keithley, Bev Clifford – firstname.lastname@example.org
Legislation – Mike Keithley, email@example.com
Membership – Mike Keithley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sound – Mike Keithley, email@example.com
Transportation – Lupe Medrano, firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteers – Naomi Grubb, email@example.com
Webmaster – Vic Clifford, firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to content sensitivity, for online IN-TOUCH Newsletter review, email an access request to: email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call our voicemail box at 888-652-5333.
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
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.
For more info about the Barbara Rhodes Technology Grant, call 888-652-5333 or email email@example.com. Click SVCB Barbara Rhodes Grant for a print application to be downloaded that gives all the instructions.
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." https://www.afb.org/default.aspx
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. http://www.borp.org/510-843-4398
Breast Cancer Support Group - For questions, call Lori Scharff
516-887-1336, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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: http://www.commongoodcareers.org
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: www.airsla.org/cclvidd.aspwww.cclvi.org/1-844-460-0625
CSUN, California State University, Northridge – Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference. March 19 to March 23, 2018, Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, San Diego, CA 92101. http://www.csun.edu/cod/1-818-677-4929
Hidden Talent - How Leading Companies Hire, Retain, and Benefit from People with Disabilities, edited by Mark L. Lengnick-Hall https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0275992896
Hotlines, current issues for blind persons:
800-221-6359, after 5 PM and weekends
800-424-8666, 3-9 PM and weekends
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.
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. http://www.nbp.org/
617-266-6160 or 888-965-8965
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. http://www.svilc.org/1-408-894-9041
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. http://www.vistacenter.org/
Call the Tabard box office at
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. At this time, AudioVision is not commissioned to describe shows in 2017 at SJCPA. If you want 2017 shows described at SJCPA, email email@example.com. 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
One of America’s outstanding professional theatres. Our work celebrates the human spirit through innovative productions, new works, and education programs inspired by and engaging our diverse Silicon Valley community. https://theatreworks.org/
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. http://www.windband.org/oldtowne/
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.