THIS MONTH'S FEATURE STORY
JACOBY, CLUB MEMBER AND BOARD MEMBER
One of Club VIBES most active members and volunteers is Jacoby. Though he has only been blind for four years, Jacoby has jumped right in and adapted to his new way of life learning technology and independent living skills that exceed many of those who have lived a lifetime with blindness. Jacoby was raised by his grandmother, Helen Ashe, a well known Knoxville figure as the founder of the Love Kitchen. He was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of seven. The years of diabetes resulted in blindness as well as kidney damage.
Jacoby attended Carson Newman University and UT and has held a variety of jobs in Knoxville including working with youth at various churches. Jacoby joined Club VIBES four years ago and quickly rose to be one of the leaders. He currently is a member of the Leadership Committee, and was one of the first members to master the use of Zoom which he then taught to other VIBES members. Zoom has been a lifeline for VIBES members continuing to remain active during the Covid19 pandemic. Jacoby is also working on updating our social media pages with the goal of making them useful to not only our local members but also in extending their reach nationwide. Thanks to technology, our community can be located anywhere.
A major event is hopefully coming soon for Jacoby. He is waiting for a new kidney and he is getting closer to the top of the list. This will have a major effect on his life, improving his health and freeing him from three times per week kidney dialysis. A go-fund-me page has been set up to help with the expenses. It is also possible to donate to Jacoby by check. Email Sue for where to send a personal check. email@example.com
From Jacoby's go-fund-me page, Kidney for Jacoby, "I am requesting your help in meeting my financial goal with my kidney transplant. Attached in this post is a link to my go fund me page and I ask that you would prayerfully Contribute and/or, pass my information along? While insurance will cover the transplant, post-surgery is another ordeal. Once transplanted, I will be subjected to a lifetime of anti-rejection medication and other medical necessities attached to receiving a new life-saving organ. I am seeking some help financially to sustain this new venture in life and I am asking for your help. Thank you in advance!" To go to Kidney4Jacoby, click here
WBIR had a story about Jacoby and his need for a kidney. Click here
to view the story on WBIR.
Due to the Corona virus, VIBES activities have taken on a different look. Many of our activities have been cancelled or postponed but our member meetings continue. Out of respect for physical distancing and regard for everyone's health, meetings are being held via ZOOM.
COVID-19 virus which appears like a styrofoam ball with rose pics stuck in all over the surface
17-VIBES Zoom call with Blind Stokers Club of California
24-Delta Gamma Foundation for Fighting Blindness National Walk
30-Zoom Halloween Fun Party for members; RSVP to Marian or Vanessa
1-Chat on the porch, hosted by Marian; RSVP for time
6-General membership meeting; 6:00-7:00pm; Zoom
10-Board meeting, Zoom, 6:00 pm
11-Low vision member meeting with Zoom; 7:00 pm
15- hosted by Marian; RSVP for time
WHAT IS NEW THIS MONTH ON OUR BLOG PAGE?
HOW TO REQUEST ACCESSIBLE TEXTBOOKS IN COLLEGE
reprinted from Veroniiiica.com
To be assured that a visually impaired student has all of the textbooks and other print material that may be needed for college classes, it is imperative that they know how to obtain this specialized material. It is to the student's advantage to be able to place their orders independently rather than depend on the school's disability office. Click here
to learn the procedure.
10 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A VIRTUAL CLASS
reprinted from Veroniiii.com
With virtual classes more common during these days of Covid19, it is important to determine whether the virtual class will be accessible to the visually impaired student. By asking these 10 questions, hopefully the student can avoid surprises after the class begins. What are the 10 questions? Click here
IMPORTANT! CONTINUE LEARNING
CONTINUE LEARNING AT HOME
Whether a visually impaired student is attending school in person, in the classroom, or online at home, there is a limited amount of time to learn all of the regular school curriculum as well as the special skills needed to access that curriculum, most of which is taught by the student's TVI (teacher of visually impaired). Fortunately, there is an excellent website, yourtechvision.com, that has free online lessons on an endless number of subjects relevant to the needs of visually impaired students of all ages. The site is operated by Dr. Denise Robinson and some of the topics covered are beginning keyboarding (a prerequisite to using the computer), how to set up a new computer, beginning and advanced JAWS, using the iPhone, using Word, Braille, and many more. To go to the website for yourtechvision click here
ANOTHER PLACE TO LEARN JAWS ONLINE
In addition to Freedom Scientific and yourtechvision.com, there is another source of online instruction in the use of JAWS and NVDA. eye.t offers a free mini course aimed for teachers and in addition to the basics of screen readers, it helps teachers design lessons. There is also an in depth course to really learn to use screen readers. The in depth course is $109.00. The site also has a blog that discusses various issues in teaching visually impaired students. Copy and paste to go to the eye.t web site, eyetvision.com. This is not a link.
CLUB VIBES MEETS WITH BLIND STOKER CLUB
On October 17, the members of Club VIBES met via Zoom with the members of the Blind Stokers Club in California. The purpose of the meeting was to share the mission of Club VIBES and how we are more than just a tandem cycling club. This was sort of a reunion between the two clubs who had previously met in 2010 and 2014 when a team of Club VIBES members and volunteer pilots traveled to California to participate in Cycling For Sight, a tandem bicycling event for blind and visually impaired stokers. For the first half of the meeting, Sue shared the story of how Club VIBES started and how she envisioned helping blind youth lead active and independent lives in addition to sharing her love of cycling. For the second half of the meeting, several VIBES members talked about various apps that benefit the visually impaired. Some of the apps mentioned were: Read 2 Go, Seeing AI, Blind Alive, and Be My Eyes. It was a pleasure sharing our club's mission with the Blind Stokers Club and reconnecting with our friends in California.
Due to Covid and the need for social distancing, tandem cycling is still on hold. But there is still news about bicycling.
We have sold a couple of tandems that will be used by area folks. One was sold to a couple who are learning to tandem together. The stoker is a visually impaired guy who has RP and is so thankful for VIBES getting him on a tandem and training his friend to pilot the tandem he purchased from us. Thank you to Pilot David Thomas for offering great tandem training tips to them.
The other tandem was sold to a guy who volunteers with Club VIBES, Dan Davis, who has exercised with us during our National Fitness Challenge and is continuing to workout from time to time with us. He is learning to pilot a tandem and is looking forward to biking with us when the virus is not a challenge for all to get together safely.
The other biking news is that we have had two of our VIBES members receive tandem donations. Kickstand Knoxville is a not for profit that receives gently used bikes and upgrades them to get back into action. Two of our members, Tabitha and Campbell will soon be riding with friends on their own tandems. Super thanks to Kickstand Knoxville and folks in our area who donate their used tandems to help us stay fit.
ZOOM-A LIFELINE DURING THE PANDEMIC
When Covid19 first came into existence I wondered how we would still have Club Vibes general group meetings and I wondered if it would still be possible to enjoy social interactions while still being social distanced.
What I didn't know back then was that there was another world of technology to help us continue with Club VIBES activities. For us, Zoom was the answer.
I have to say if it wasn't for Club Vibes I would never have known about this great resource. Our leadership team trained the members to use Zoom and we were back on track with our meetings. It has helped all of us stay social distanced but still have social lives. In addition to our member meetings, there is soon to be a book club, movie nights, work out sessions, and new ideas continuing to be developed. In July, we were even able to join the NFB and ACB national conventions virtually.
Going virtual had a huge impact on the conventions. Many more people were able to participate virtually than would have been able to attend in person without the pandemic.
Thanks to great organizations like NFB, ACB, Ibug, Club Vibes, and others I have discovered that it is possible to still live my daily life while remaining in touch with great friends and increasing our interest in learning new technology skills so that we can still enjoy being together virtually.
LISTEN TO OUR INTERVIEWS
The podcast, "The Powerful Patient", hosted by Joyce Graff, recently conducted three interviews with some of us from Club VIBES. The first was with Sue discussing Club VIBES and general issues Covid19 has brought to online schooling for students with visual difficulties. The second interview was with VIBES member, Campbell Rutherford, and her mother Liza. The topic was homeschooling a blind student and the importance of computer technology. The third interview was with Arlene Hernandez, retired TVI and VIBES board member, with a discussion on the role of the TVI in teaching visually impaired students in public schools. Click on the following links to listen to the interviews.
Campbell and Liza
Another interview on the subject of education for visually impaired students was with Dr. Denise Robinson, discussing the importance of technical education for the student with visual disabilities. Click below to listen to Denise.
In addition to the monthly general membership meeting, VIBES members with low vision have recently formed another group that will meet the second Wednesday of each month to address their special needs. The agenda of the low vision group will be to share information and resources with each other. At the September meeting, members shared their low vision journey and one of the biggest difficulties they face when it comes to living with low vision. They also talked about low vision moments i.e." people saying hello and not knowing who they are so we have to educate them to announce themselves before they speak so that way they don't think we are being rude because we don't recognize them". In addition, they talked about accessibility settings on smartphones and computers.
The topic for the October meeting was "Living Accessibility Through Apps". There was a lively discussion about different apps and technology that help those with low vision live as self sufficiently as possible. The focus was on apps in these areas:
WHAT WE CAN USE TO HELP US COOK AND CLEAN MORE EFFICIENTLY.
CHAT ON THE PORCH
Marian will be hosting a time on the first and third Sunday evenings for members to get together (on Zoom) and "just hang out", discussing whatever comes up. RSVP to Marian for further details.
We are in the process of making our Facebook page more relevant to blind and low vision users nationwide. The hope is to initiate discussions on set topics among users across the country. The plan is evolving, but the idea is to have a topic for each weekday and have a leader in charge of each day, managing that day's content. Possible daily topics include assistive technology and apps, fitness and working out, household management, and events going on that might interest readers.
Check back for updates and to know when the Facebook new page is ready.
This podcast was introduced in our last newsletter. This is a reminder for you to check it out. Working Blind is a podcast that interviews blind adults who have a variety of careers. To listen to these podcasts, click here or you can just ask Siri to play the Working Blind Podcast.
Dot Watch is the world's first Braille Smartwatch, which is a wearable device.
Use it as a standalone Braille watch or for more functionality, connect it to a smartphone via Bluetooth(LE4.2). Check the date, time and more on the 4-cell refreshable display with 24 dots. The lightweight aluminum device can also receive notifications, alerts and messages from a phone.
THANK YOU TO OUR PROGRAM PARTNERS FOR 2020-2021
DELTA GAMMA FRATERNITY
THE NALLS SHERBAKOFF GROUP LLC.
WEST KNOX LIONS CLUB
SMOKY MOUNTAIN WHEELMEN
KNOXVILLE COSMETIC DENTISTRY