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

SVCB Meetings – 



SVCB Local Activities

Tabard Theatre – Future Season Dates

Santa Clara County – New Voting Experience

New Resource Links:

·     Earthquake Safety (courtesy of

·     Medicine Management (courtesy of

·     Employment (courtesy of



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 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

·         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 Barbara Rhodes Adaptive Technology Grant 

SVCB Constitution & By-Laws

SVCB Resource Links

SVCB Local Activities

SVCB Membership Spotlights

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SVCB Meetings – 

Starting with February 16th, 2019 meeting, SVCB meetings are 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 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


See: SVCB Phone Tree Message that follows.



SVCB Past Meeting Recordings

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SVCB Phone Tree Message

Our Next Membership Meeting: November 16, 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


Phone Tree Message for November 2019

Event: raffle, see Michelle's blurb below.

Get ready to vote! Our program will be a hands-on interaction with the new voting equipment being use for the 2020 election. People from the Registrar of Voters will help up to 30 people vote. Now you can find out if you can vote using accessible equipment.

We'll have a short business meeting to elect SVCB's 2020 administration and then commence to the program.

Holiday Party:
Don't miss the holiday party! It will be at the
Vista Center – San Jose Office, 101 N. Bascom Avenue, San Jose, CA 95128, 1-408-295-4016 on Saturday, December 14. Do plan to come! You can register by giving your money to Victor Clifford at the November meeting, or by sending a check : P.O. Box 493, Mountain View, CA 94042–0493. Put "holiday party" on the memo line. Registration is $20 for CCB/SVCB members, and $25 for guests. The deadline to register is Monday, December 9.

Armadillo Willy's will be our caterer, and we'll have turkey and ham--just like last year! And we may have some old time radio shows as entertainment. Be sure to check out the December newsletter.

2020 Dues:
As explained in the November newsletter, SVCB dues will change to $20 per year. Bring your 2020 dues to the November meeting and give them to Victor Clifford. Life members and members of other chapters (who pay for them to CCB0 will pay $10.00. If a new membership is started between July 1 and December 31, the cost is $30.00 to cover the remainder of the starting year and all of the next year.

Michelle's Blurb:
We're having a raffle featuring donated items at our November meeting. Think of this as an opportunity to do some early Christmas shopping! Prizes include beauty products, football-shaped container and picture frame ornament, an evening clutch, a fondue set with 3 forks, a green candle, a hummingbird pin in a small jewelry box, a Japanese trinket container, a magenta scarf, hat & glove set, a pewter pin with 3 fish design, a set of pillowcases with a cross stitch rose design, a wooden collapsible basket, and 2 sets of Christmas paper, bags & cards. Tickets are $1 each or $5 for six.

Items for sale at the November meeting include calendars ($10 each), Meltaways ($4 per bag), and, for $1 each, Kirkland Nut Bars, Welch's Fruit Snacks, candy bars, nut mixes with cranberries or with chocolate, pretzels, chips, and for our Cookies of the Month: Spicy Fruit Drops baked by Suzanne Smith. Funds raised from the sale of the pretzels, chips, and cookies will benefit our tech grant fund.

If you would like additional details about the sale items, or would like to pre-order any, 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, 



Chair:   –

Committee:   –


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

June 2019

July 2019

August 2019

September 2019

October 2019

November 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:

·         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 $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:

·      Legally blind

·      A resident of one of the following counties: San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, or San Benito

·      Sixteen years of age or older

·      Planning to use the technology for educational, vocational or quality of life purposes 

·      Seeking technology that the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation or other service/educational organizations will not fund or do not have available




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 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.


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


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

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


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:

1.               Every registered voter will receive a Vote By Mail ballot starting 29 days before   

     Election Day

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

3.               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

4.               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?​






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

Please join us at Vista Center Palo Alto for an interesting opportunity to participate in a Stanford University Community based project.  Noted below are the details and request to RSVP to Son Kim at

Date and Time: Wednesday, November 13 from 2 pm to 4 pm
Location: Vista Center Palo Alto, 2500 El Camino Real Suite 100, Palo Alto
RSVP:    ASAP to Son Kim at

Note from the Speaker, a long-term professor at Stanford University:
The Role of Community Members in Stanford's Assistive Technology Course
David L. Jaffe, MS
Lecturer, Stanford University, Mechanical Engineering Design Group

Dave will describe the critical role that older adults and people with disabilities play as they work with teams of Stanford students to design and fabricate prototype devices that address their real problems and challenges. He will also invite project suggestions for the upcoming course.

Please join us to learn about how you can offer problems to Professor Jaffe, and your challenge may be selected by the Stanford Students.  This is a great opportunity to find a solution to a daily challenge for those who are blind or visually impaired, and work with students to develop a solution.

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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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