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Picture of a computer with a zoom screen showing 9 participants

What a difference a year has made for members of Club Vibes. This time last year they were enjoying getting together for member meetings, shopping with "elves", going to the holiday party at the Delta Gamma House, walking with Delta Gamma, and even tandem bicycling. Due to Covid19, there has been none of that since last March. But this has not been a completely bad thing. Club Vibes jumped onto the opportunity to branch out in new ways and learn new skills. It was obvious that everyone was using video technology to substitute for face to face interactions. 

Vibes formed a leadership team to explore if blind and visually impaired persons could use these same platforms. The answer was YES. Zoom was determined to be the most accessible of the video conferencing apps and the members of the leadership team mastered the use of it using their phones. They then set about teaching Zoom to the rest of the membership. Soon everyone was ready to put this new skill to use. The first Zoom membership meeting was held in April and after working out a few bugs and setting a few rules about Zoom etiquette, the meeting was a success.  

Over the last nine months, members have become very creative in adding more activities adapted to Zoom. Currently, in addition to the monthly general member, low vision member and leadership meetings, 
Cartoon stack of books
there is a book club, movie nights, exercise club, non-structured chats, and even the annual
Cartoon of 3 singers
holiday party, all via Zoom

There have been many positive results from using Zoom. First, and very important, is that everyone was pushed into using technology which was the only way they could continue to participate in Club Vibes. Even those who were not as skilled in iPhones and computers have jumped right in. This has been actual proof of the importance in teaching all visually impaired kids to use the latest technology that their sighted peers are using. Another benefit of the remote format has been an increase in participation in all of the activities. It is easier for members to attend since they do not need to arrange transportation.  Hopefully, these new technology skills will transfer to more employment opportunities for Vibes members as well.

There have been a number of new activities added to the Club Vibes calendar, all created and organized by Vibes members, such as the book club, exercise group 
Cartoon of boy doing push-ups
, and
Cartoon of 2 computers with people and conversation bubbles 
chat nights. As a result, members have learned new leadership and organizational skills. In addition, Vibes is no longer restricted to the Knoxville area. Zoom can reach anywhere. A member who moved to Nashville continues to participate in Club Vibes and in October, Vibes even held a meeting with the Blind Stokers Club in California.  Vibes members say that they are busier and have more social contact now than before the restrictions of the Coronavirus hit. 

Opportunities sometimes rise up where you least expect them.
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.  The trip to Louisville is on hold pending the status of the virus at that time.

COVID-19 virus which appears like a styrofoam ball with rose pics stuck in all over the surface

13 and 27-Meeting on the Porch with Marian, Zoom, 7:00 pm
15-Facebook Moderator meeting, Zoom, 3:00 pm
18-Holiday Fun and Talent Night, Zoom, 7:00 pm
20-Book Club, Zoom, 7:00 pm

8-Member vision meeting, Zoom, 7:00 pm
13-Low vision meeting, Zoom, 7:00 pm
10 and 24-Meeting on the Porch with Marian, Zoom, 7:00 pm
17-Book Club,  Zoom, 7:00 pm

Garland of pine and holly with red berries and ribbon
Text below is red
Club Vibes extends our warmest wishes to all for a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season and 
New Year. 
Freedom to Fly Blog
You might think that a visit to an art museum is probably not at the top of the list of fun things to do for a blind or visually impaired person. Most art museum exhibits remain hands off. John has shared with us parts of a blog from Veronica Lewis where she explains how this can be a fulfilling experience. Read article

With some simple adjustments, it is possible to structure a blind person's home so that they can live independently. Here are some helpful techniques. Read article

This is the season for reflecting on things for which we have been thankful during the year that is ending and even beyond. This is a touching story of a lifelong friendship that had a major impact on the lives of both persons.  Read article

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by Laura Lee
Hey y'all. My name is Laura Lee Parsons and this year I will be serving as the VP of Foundation for Delta Gamma. I am so excited to work with y'all and to get to know everyone! I wanted to tell y'all a little bit more about myself. I was born and raised in Pickwick TN which is about 6 hours west of Knoxville. I am currently a junior at the Herbert College of Agriculture. I am majoring in food science as well as working on a double minor in Business Administration and Natural Resources. Right now I am studying for the Dental Admissions Test in hopes of being admitted to dental school after graduating from UT. When I am not busy with school, work, or studying I love to travel!! I was actually studying abroad during the spring semester when the world shut down and I had to rush home from Ireland. In Knoxville, I live in a house with 5 other girls and there is never a dull moment. We love to sit in our living room and just hang out!  We also enjoy cooking all kinds of different foods together and of course we are always supporting the Vols! I can't wait to meet those that I haven't met yet and get to know everyone better. 

by Sariah
Club Vibes continues to stretch out offering a broader scope of activities. Recently, along with Delta Gamma, we had a Thanksgiving Trivia night on Zoom. It was so much fun. We used break out rooms to separate teams, connecting one Club Vibes member with several Delta Gamma girls. We chose a name for our team and mine was called the Great Pumpkin like in the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving movie.  A lot of the teams started out kind of quiet which is typical when you meet someone new, but we soon got things warmed up. It was a great time. 

Our Trivia game was based on Thanksgiving facts and we used some kind of trinket that we could count to keep track of the score.  There were some unique "tokens". Diana used coins which I thought was pretty smart. I used an abacus, which is a small rectangular device with beads that you can count with.  I remember the funny part was that Jacoby told us he was using Chinese food to count so every time he got one right he got to eat a bite of his Chinese dish. 

The game was based on true/false or multiple choice questions. It was fun to learn a lot of new facts about Thanksgiving. 

I want to thank Vanessa for creating the trivia game which was a blast. Also a big thanks to Marian's husband for helping read the game to us. 

We continue to think out of the box for ideas that we can do via Zoom and I can't wait to see where we go next. 
MEMBER MEETINGS-2nd Friday of each month
All members are included in the monthly member meetings with 17 attending the November meeting. There were discussions about various resources that attendees have found useful as well as favorite apps and other technology discoveries.

LOW VISION MEETINGS-2nd Wednesday of each month
Five members "zoomed in" for the November low vision meeting and they were glad to welcome back Ty who has been away from the area for several years. Tabitha, who has recently moved to Nashville, shared her experience in testing the E Sight glasses. They made a phenomenal improvement in her vision.  She is exploring fundraising programs to raise the money to purchase the glasses ($6,000). 

BOOK CLUB-3rd Sunday of each month
by Sariah
Recently Club Vibes has decided to reach out a little bit and find more fun activities for all of us to enjoy. We have done holiday trivia with Delta Gamma and also audio descriptive movies. Recently Illya, one of our Club Vibes members suggested we should do a book club. Everyone thought it was a great idea so we held our very first book club meeting. 

The first book, Prisoner, was about a person held in an Iranian prison. It was very good.
We met and discussed what the book was about. We didn't really have a format established for our book club meetings but Illya was very good at bringing up questions for us to discuss. It was really fun. Illya decided that in the future we should probably have a list of questions at hand to get us started on our book discussions and we all thought that was a good idea. 

Our book clubs are on the third Sunday of the month at 7:00 pm. 
At our first book club meeting we gave suggestions for the next book we will read. We picked Thunderbolt Kid.  

It was a really great time. Thanks, Illya, for opening up another fun activity for Club Vibes. 
Club Vibes has not been actively fundraising during the pandemic but there is one way our supporters can contribute-through Amazon Smiles. With so many of us shopping online and using Amazon, just a small change will send a donation from Amazon to Club Vibes for each purchase you make. To do this, enter for your Amazon purchases. The first time you use it you can set it up, selecting Club Vibes as your designated charity. These small donations add up!  
Smiley Face
By Tabitha
Right before we moved from Knoxville, TN to Nashville, TN I received an e-mail from the company, eSight, saying that they were having demonstrations of the eSight glasses at their new Franklin, TN location. 
Picture of eSight glasses-they look like bulky sunglasses with a plastic band that goes around the head and another plastic band that goes across the forehead.

My appointment to test the glasses at their Franklin location was scheduled for November 10, but since we had just moved here a week prior, I didn't know the area well yet and asked them if they would be willing to come to my new home for the demonstration. So on November 9, two representatives from eSight, Rick and Brian, came to our new home. First, they asked me about my visual history (how long have I been low vision, what other assistive technology devices do I use daily, etc.), then they tested my visual acuity and peripheral vision without the glasses on and I couldn't read any of the letters, numbers, or words that a person with better vision would have been able to. 

After testing my vision without the glasses on, they let me put on the glasses, which has a halo design when it is put on your head. The tilted visor with the cameras on the outside and the 2 screens on the inside are in front of your face and the battery compartment sits where the back of your neck area is. 

While I was wearing the eSight glasses, they did the same visual acuity and peripheral vision tests that they had done before I was wearing the glasses and I was able to read the letters, numbers, and words that I couldn't read before putting them on . I was also able to see my boyfriend Joe's face clearly and was able to see our pet dog, Lucky, clearly. I was even able to read the buttons and dials on our kitchen appliances while wearing the eSight glasses (normally I would have to use a magnifier to read those). 

They have a companion application that you can download on your smartphone to stream to the phone and mirror your phone screen to the glasses. You can also connect the glasses to a computer or TV via an HDMI cable. 

Testing out the eSight glasses was an amazing experience because the glasses allowed me to see again with my remaining vision. They are an amazing piece of assistive technology.

For more information and to learn how you can arrange a home trial, Click here to go to their web site.



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