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Last Chance to Register for Dining in the Dark at Charlie’s On Main

dining in the dark

A black and white photo features an incandescent light bulb attached to a wood frame of a wall. To the left reads, “Dinging in the Dark, A Four Course Dining Experience. March 22, 2018 – 6:30 p.m. – Charlie’s On Main.”

Attention: Today is your last chance to register for Dining In The Dark! This event is a unique and delicious way to experience elegant food with senses other than sight. All proceeds go to support programming at The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired.

Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are available for all courses.

Please email Kirsten from Charlie’s On Main, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with any dietary restrictions or questions.

Tickets are $60, with the option to include a wine flight for an additional $20. Ticket price does not include gratuity.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, March 22, from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Charlie's on Main is located at 113 South Main Street, in Oregon. Visit

Click Here and reserve your spot. Act quickly, because space is limited!

 

Council Seeks Artists for May 4 Gallery Night

Artist

A group of four attendees look together at a group of works by artist Rosemarie Fortney at the last year’s “Bright Sights: Six Ways of Seeing” gallery reception. This event was in partnership with the Council and the McPherson Eye Research Institute. Rosemarie’s artwork was also featured in our 2017 Fall Gallery Night.

The Council is currently seeking artists who are blind or visually impaired to submit artwork for our Spring Gallery Night! This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase and sell your artwork at a fun event. It is also a great way to network with other artists who are visually impaired. Gallery Night serves as an educational activity to broaden perspectives of attendees who may have never considered how a person with a visual impairment produces art.

“For people who are accustomed to using their vision to interact with the world, it’s easy to assume that most other people experience the world in the same way,” says Shana Greane, who attended our 2017 Fall Gallery Night.

Tactile art has been featured and the Council provides braille descriptions, creating and enriching a textured experience.

“I don’t know braille, but I love that there are braille descriptions along with the print descriptions,” says Maggie Wolfe, who also visited last year's Gallery Night.

Previous featured artwork includes: woodworking, textiles, photography, watercolors, copper relief and pottery. All mediums are open for consideration.

Indicate your interest by sending PDF or JPEG samples of art to Gale Hellpap at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Friday, March 30. If selected as an artist, you will be notified by early April. We look forward to your submissions!

 

Council Partners with Madison Metropolitan School District

to Host Open House for Students and Families

openhouse

A student attendee at our March Open House tests out accessible voting equipment with Sara Linski of the Wisconsin State Elections Commission.

Life after high school is a huge transition for all students. Suddenly, they need to figure out how to purchase their own textbooks for college, how to find employment and how to live in their own apartment. The Council is dedicated to helping high school graduates that are visually impaired know they are not alone – we are here to help.

On Wednesday, March 7, we partnered with the Madison Metropolitan School

District (MMSD) to put on an open house for students with visual impairment and their families.

“When the idea came up to jointly host an event, Madison Schools jumped at the chance to work with the Council,” says Kim Dubois, Vision Program Support Teacher for MMSD. “We’re always interested in expanding how we support students and their families. I’ve often referred families to the Council as a resource. When I need to pick up low vision devices for students, I come to the Council. It made sense to partner together.”

Attendees experienced demonstrations of AIRA Glasses and the Or-Cam Glasses, as well as other assistive technology, like ZoomText Fusion software. Voting officials from the Wisconsin State Elections Commission and Madison City Clerk’s Office showed students how to use the ExpressVote accessible voting machine. Students got to try adaptive equipment used for preparing food, and played braille and large print board and card games.

“My favorite thing was playing Uno with the braille playing cards,” says Michael McComb, a seventh-grader at Badger Rock Middle School. “It was my first time playing with braille cards and it was fun to be able to play with my brother. I’m also excited to learn more about adaptive technology you have at the Council. I think it could be useful for me.”

Michael’s brother, Tre McComb, is not visually impaired, but he says the adaptive equipment he saw has broadened his ideas of his brother’s future capabilities.

“I didn’t know a lot of the adaptive kitchen equipment existed,” Tre says. “It’s cool that Michael will be able to use things like that to make cooking easier.”

For West High School senior Mikyla Mobley, the open house served as a networking opportunity.

“I met someone who has a guide dog and learned a little more about the process of getting one,” Mikyla says. “I’ve wanted to get a guide dog for a long time.”

Our next open house will take place on Monday, April 16, from 3:00 - 7:00 p.m. and will focus specifically on our Vision Services offerings. This event is not limited to students – anyone interested is welcome to participate.

The Council's assistive technology staff will demonstrate magnification and screen reading software, as well as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The LuxIQ machine, which can help determine ideal lighting strength and color, will be available to test. Once again, the ExpressVote accessible voting machine will be available to try thanks to the Wisconsin State Elections Commission and Madison City Clerk's office.

In our Sharper Vision Store, try the Or-Cam Glasses, video magnification machines, or the Apple TV. Products will be available for purchase.

“If you’ve been curious about services offered at the Council, come to our event,” says Jean Kalscheur, Education and Vision Services Director. “Bring friends or family. Even if you are not visually impaired, you are welcome to see what we can do for someone you know who is experiencing vision loss.”

The Vision Services Open House will take place at the Council office, located at 754 Williamson Street. It is free for anyone to attend and no registration is necessary. Watch our social media and publications for more details!

 

Join Us on April 23 for “Birding By Ear,”

A Webinar in Partnership with the Madison Audubon Society

Bird

A male robin, with its signature orange breast and brown feathers faces to the left

while standing upon a field of light green grass.

Do you hear the birds singing and wonder what bird you are hearing and what is the meaning of that song? If you would like to get started “birding by ear,” join Kerry Wilcox, avid birder and volunteer with the Madison Audubon Society, and get tips on how to listen and interpret what is heard. Kerry will have support from the Madison Audubon Society and persons with vision impairment who enjoy this outdoor activity. The focus of the webinar will be the calls of common Wisconsin spring birds. Apps and websites to hone your bird song listening skills will be shared. This 1-hour webinar will take place online from 11:00 a.m. – noon. For more details and to register go to www.wcblind.org.

 

Go for the Gold - Consider Applying for a Scholarship!

Medal

A gold medal hangs from a ribbon, featuring blue, white and red vertical stripes.

After three years of skiing, Mia Zutter accomplished what many athletes only dream of. The Sun Prairie native recently represented the USA on the Paralympic Nordic Ski Team during the 2018 Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, from March 9 – 18.

Mia is a freshman at St. Scholastica College in Duluth, Minnesota. She was diagnosed with Stargardts Disease at twelve.

“Without this situation that I’m in and losing my sight I would have never considered skiing,” Zutter told the Sun Prairie Star. “I’d probably be a volleyball player or something else. It’s definitely hard to feel that I’m [in] a negative situation when I’ve been given all these opportunities through losing my vision.”

Her events included the Women’s 15km Visually Impaired Cross Country Race on March 12, the 1.5km Sprint Races on March 14 and the 7.5km Visually Impaired Cross Country Race on March 17. NBC Sports televised 94 hours and streamed 156 hours of Paralympics coverage.

The Council congratulates Mia on her success! We are proud to that she is also one of our 2017 Scholarship recipients, providing her financial assistance to achieve her academic goals.

If a scholarship could help you achieve your dreams, please consider applying. Awards are $2,000 and the Council will give up to ten scholarships.

To qualify, a student must be a blind or visually impaired Wisconsin resident and be attending or accepted into a college, university or technical training program. They must have at least a 3.0 GPA and must submit all components of the application by Friday, April 6, 2018.

Click Here for the Scholarship Application Kit. Deadline for submission is Friday, April 6.

 

Big Share Gets Big Results! Thank You for Your Support.

big Share

A promotional graphic includes the word "Thank You!" across the center. Logos for The Big Share and the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired are featured as well.

The Council thanks all donors who made The Big Share a success! We received $3,753 throughout the day on Tuesday, March 6. This online day of giving was presented by Community Shares of Wisconsin.

Fifty-eight people donated to the Council via The Big Share, including board members, staff, Council friends and supporters. Donations fund our legislative, vision services and educational programming.

We extend a special thank-you to our “Council Visionaries,” who gave before the day of The Big Share. These were Chris Zenchenko, Margaret Sommers, Yvette Jones and Dean Hekel.

2018 was the fourth year the Council participated, along with more than 60 local nonprofits. Community Shares of Wisconsin raised $413,000 from over 3,000 donors.

Whatever amount you gave and whenever you submitted your gift, we thank you for your support. You made our success possible!

 

outlook

The Outlook from Here is a blog dedicated to sharing stories of living in Wisconsin with blindness, visual impairment, or disability.

Beginning in October 2013, a small group of people from across Wisconsin began meeting over the phone to discuss how to tell stories about disability, blindness, and visual impairment. Many of us had never written about our experiences before but some of us had, and even one person had published. Together, we discussed the dire need to share stories of disability, the challenges of communicating about disability, and the hurdles to writing in general.

The writers group decided to share stories based on the following shared beliefs:

  • We believe that sharing stories is absolutely essential to creating a more accepting, inclusive society.
  • We believe that everyone experiences disability differently, even those with blindness and vision loss.
  • We believe in maintaining a strong sense of humor and hope in the face of challenging situations.
  • And we believe in the power of stories to connect, educate, and transform.

Please consider submitting your stories or making suggestions for topics or questions related to blindness, visual impairment, disability, and life in Wisconsin. You can submit your stories or ideas to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Check out the most recent story from the Outlook From Here:

 

Book Clubs and You: Accessible and Fun

Curling up with a book is a great way to pass a snowy winter afternoon. Discussing what you have read with others can be a fun way to gain new perspectives and make new friends, so why not join a book club! Katherine Schneider shows you how to find a club you’ll like, make sure books are accessible and even how to start your own club. Read on for more details.