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4-Indoor rock climbing; River Sports, 10:00 am-12 noon; $5/person
7-Board meeting; 6:00 pm
19-No biking
19-Fitbit team meeting, 2:00 pm Buckley's
28-College/Young Professional Group meeting; 6:00 pm; Buckley's

4- Indoor rock climbing; River Sports, 10:00 am-12 noon; $5/person
13-17-Knox County and UT Spring Break
14-Board meeting 6:00pm
19-No biking
28- College/Young Professional Group meeting; 6:00 pm Buckley's

1-Indoor rock climbing; River Sports, 10:00 am-12 noon; $5/person
2-Tandem biking, Cherokee Blvd; 2:15 pm; RSVP Sue
2-Spring flower sales begin
11-Board Meeting; 6:00 pm
23- Tandem biking, Cherokee Blvd; 2:15 pm; RSVP Sue
25- College/Young Professional Group meeting; 6:00 pm Buckley's

Freedom to Fly Blog

We have two blogs from guest blogger, Sarah Holloway. Sarah is a VIBES member and board member who has recently graduated from the University of Tennessee therefore having first hand experience with navigating college as a visually impaired person.

I discuss the skills that a visually impaired student must possess before entering college and utilizing vocational rehabilitation and the college's office of disability services to obtain needed accommodations  Read Article

I explain in more detail about what services Vocational Rehabilitation and the college's office of disability provide as well as their strengths and weaknesses. 

Club VIBES is excited to partner with the United States Association of Blind Athletes and the Anthem Foundation to participate in the National Fitness Challenge grant. VIBES is one of 13 organizations who have been selected for this grant. We will have 21 blind/visually impaired participants for this challenge. All participants will receive Fitbit bands and will strive to increase their fitness levels throughout the nine-month program. The program begins March 1, 2017 and ends November 30, 2017. This is a very exciting opportunity for us because it will allow us to help those with visual impairments become more active.

Knox County Schools Certified Teachers of the Visually Impaired are going to San Diego for the 32nd annual CSUN conference on assistive technology at the end of February. Club VIBES presented to Knox County Schools payment for one teacher if Knox County would send more to the international conference.
They will be bringing back vital information regarding the latest technology for blind and low vision users of magnification devices, note takers, apps, software, and many more UDL (Universal Design for Learning) options for current and former students, as well as adults associated with Club VIBES.

Information regarding future devices, innovations, and ideas will be explored, and materials/information for these will be forthcoming.

From left to right CTVIs: Linda Montjoy, Patty McDonough,
Linda Attanasio, and Jody Mackay, (O&M and CTVI)

If you have visited our website recently, you might have noticed some changes. We hope to make it more informative and easier to use, especially with screen readers and magnifier tools. It will also provide a better format to tell about Club VIBES and what we are doing. Some of the changes will the ability to access our past and current newsletters and blogs with just a click along with the ability to subscribe to them. There are also some interactive features to encourage an exchange of information through the comments box. Development is still underway, but the changes can be viewed at   

All of this is possible because of the assistance of Michael Dayah, who has volunteered his time and his computer genius to making these improvements. Club VIBES and board member, Sarah Holloway was instrumental in setting this project in motion with the recruitment of her friend Michael. Thanks Michael for your time, patience and assistance in making this happen and thank you Sarah for getting the ball rolling by bringing us this talent.

We were a wild group when we attended the UT Men's basketball game against South Carolina on January 11. Club VIBES Young Professional and College group, other VIBES members, friends, family, and ladies from Delta Gamma were among the wild ones. We thank Admiral Schofield for making this night possible.  

The idea was born when Admiral, a member of the UT men's basketball team, came to the beeping kickball game in November between VIBES and UT student athletes. Admiral thought maybe VIBES members would like to attend a basketball game and approached his coaches who generously gave VIBES 25 tickets. We also owe a big thank you to Delta Gamma for making the game more meaningful by providing verbal descriptions of the game to those unable to see it and running to the concessions stands to keep us fortified and hydrated.

We hope this partnership with UT Athletes continues to grow and result in our attending games in other UT sporting events.

Former member and current mentor of Club VIBES, McKenzie, is playing the role of Meg in the production of Phantom of the Opera at Farragut High School. We would love for some of us from Club VIBES to go to one of her performances to show our support for McKenzie. The performances are March 3 and 4 at 7:00 pm and March 5 at 5:00 pm. Tickets are $5.00 and $10.00.  We are proud of McKenzie who is now volunteering with Club VIBES' national fitness challenge.

VIBES members love DG House                        DG Volunteer Of The Year Plaque

On Tuesday, November 29, 2016 members of Club VIBES and friends were welcomed by the Delta Gamma Sorority to kick off the holiday season at the DG Sorority house on the University of Tennessee campus.  The house was decorated with greenery and the hosts and guests donned beautiful sweaters, festive socks and leggings; even the GRINCH showed holiday spirit!  There were some sweetly dressed twin elves to lend their cheer.
The party was well attended by DG members, Club VIBES members, and family and friends. It was full of revelers eager to be finished with a semester of school and to get on with the holiday celebrations and fun!  Snacks, song, and fellowship were shared throughout the evening; karaoke is a fun way to meet new friends as inhibitions fade and the microphone is turned up.

Club VIBES took advantage of this gathering to present Delta Gamma with their plaque honoring them as a Club VIBES volunteer of the year, 2016. They were unable to attend the volunteer thank you party in November so this was a great opportunity to thank Delta Gamma for all that they do for us . Their contributions include fund raising, assisting in our programs, planning numerous social activities, serving mentors to our members and providing them with a view of college life.

As always, the Delta Gamma sorority far exceeded expectations and hosted a fabulous gathering. Thank you Delta Gamma!

We are continuing with our first hand reports from Club VIBES members who participated in our visit to Washington DC. This article focuses on transportation in the big city and was written by VIBES member, Sophie. 

Throughout my trip to Washington D.C. with Club VIBES, I got to learn many new things! Most of what I learned involved transportation around the busy Capital (or any city for that matter). I saw many historical Monuments (the Vietnam Wall, WWII Memorial, etc.) by tandem biking around the city. I also got to experience my first few rides on the Metro, which was fascinating to me because I'd never traveled underground before! The buses were pretty nice too! They made getting to and from the Metro stations a lot easier and more efficient.
Being visually impaired, I will say there were multiple challenges along the way. For example, maneuvering the tandem through large crowds of people was no easy task. Thankfully, we still managed to get where we needed to go on time! I also found it hard to know exactly when what Metros were coming and going and to where. The buses left from the hotel, so that wasn't really a big deal. To be a person with low or no vision is hard when traveling around a big city, but it's all part of becoming independent. Memorizing what metros, subways, and buses go where and when is important when it comes to living on your own one day.
My advice for ANYONE who plans on using other means of transportation besides driving is that you learn the times you need to be ready by and where you need to be. Make a schedule if it helps. Also don't hesitate to ask someone for help if you need it!

 Sophie and Vance taking a spin on the tandem

Club VIBES is honored to have been selected to receive a donation from the Knox Revolution Women's Cycling Club.  This group has decided to cease to exist and their board has selected three bicycling charities among whom to disperse their remaining funds.  We are proud that Club VIBES has been recognized as an organization that promotes bicycling among the visually impaired and blind.  Thank you Knox Revolution!

Because of all of you who purchased holiday flowers and wreaths, our annual holiday fundraiser was a success.  It is through your support that we are able to carry out our many programs and add new ones.  Thank You!!

The once beautiful holiday plants may be getting a bit scraggly now, but their life is not over. They can be beautiful patio plants that will last all summer and even bloom again for next Christmas. It is very easy to keep them. Follow these simple directions.
-Continue to water and keep in a sunny place
-When nightly lows rise into the 40's, cut plants down to about 6 inches high.
-Put outside in a sunny location. Water about 1 time a week and feed with all purpose plant fertilizer. They can also be transplanted into a more attractive (and larger) container if you wish.The plants will soon come to life and will continue growing all summer into large bushy plants. They will get 3-4 feet tall and wide. They plants will begin to turn red in the fall and if you want to keep them, bring them inside when the temperature gets below 40.


On November 29, 2016, Bookshare hit a momentous milestone when it passed the mark of 500,000 titles in its collection. That means that people unable to read standard print now have access to 500,000 books in various formats to suit their individual needs.

It wasn't that long ago that the blind community had to rely on braille, a limited number of human-narrated books, or having someone read to them if they wanted to enjoy a book. Even just 15 years ago, Bookshare had a modest collection of 20,000 books. Fast forward to today where Bookshare boasts over 509,000 titles, has partnerships with over 800 publishers, and adds over 5,000 new titles each month. Not only are we building up the collection, we're expanding Bookshare's reach by partnering with organizations and communities around the globe to ensure all individuals, regardless of where they live, have access to literacy. Members around the world can now access books in 30 languages in over 70 countries.

The most exciting part of this momentum is that we've only just begun! The path forward is clear: 500,000 accessible ebooks today, one million accessible ebooks tomorrow, and ultimately a world where all books are made accessible from the moment they are created.

Serving more members with more books is a critical part of our mission. That is why our ultimate goal is a  Born Accessible future. If a book is born digital, it should be born accessible, period. Every member of society, including the estimated 5% of the population who have difficulty reading traditional print, should have equal access to books as soon as they are published. Benetech will not rest until a Born Accessible future is a reality, and we will continue to work with publishers and the larger accessibility community to achieve this goal.

Meanwhile, we are encouraging U.S. school districts to use their purchasing power to  buy accessible to increase the demand for accessible textbooks and curriculum materials that work for all students. When school districts across the country demand Born Accessible materials, publishers will recognize the importance of accessibility. Benetech is dedicated to working with school districts to request accessible materials so publishers respond with the content that schools need.
Collaboration Achieves Scale

I am challenging our community of mentor teachers, parent ambassadors, seniors, librarians, and disability rights advocates to continue to demand equal access to literacy for people who can't read standard print. To that end, we are collaborating with key public libraries in New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, and establishing partnerships with nonprofits such as the Royal National Institute for the Blind in the United Kingdom, The Lighthouse Guild in New York, and All Children Reading in India.

When we leverage our collective strengths, we can scale more efficiently and achieve better results for more people. We are at a tipping point, and I invite you to join us on this momentous journey.


Sherbakoff Nalls Group


Arnold Cohen,
Attorney at Law

Dr. Bruce Gilliland