White Cane Day event organizer Renee Kuester-Sebranek poses with a member of the Lions Club during a check presentation in 2015. The Lions Club is a proud sponsor of this community event.
Come celebrate White Cane Day in the Chippewa Valley on Saturday, October 14th! Festivities will run from 12:00 - 3:00 p.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Hall, located at 1120 Cedar Street in Eau Claire.
The event is being organized by Renee Kuester-Sebranek, Kathie Schneider and Edla Karr. Jean Kalscheur, Education and Vision Services Director, and Judith Rasmussen, Program Assistant, will be attending to represent the Council with an exhibition table at the event.
”Come learn about the lives of people who might do things a little differently than you. We’re excited to meet you!” states Renee.
The day will feature exhibits, games, snacks, information and resources, as well as hands-on experiences. People will be able to learn about library services, canes, guide dogs and travel apps, recreational opportunities, braille, as well as low and high tech solutions for everyday tasks. This will also be a great chance to network with others living with visual impairment or blindness.
“This activity is important to the mission of the Council because it serves to educate the public about the ways in which people who are blind or visually impaired are able to do things regardless of their degree of vision,” says Jean. “For people who have vision loss, they can come to the event and learn about the different options, technology and support available to them to live full, empowered lives.”
Judith states that she really enjoyed engaging in conversation with the folks she meets at events such as this.
“It’s so much fun to share my knowledge with them,” says Judith. “I’m also excited to promote the White Cane Law. It’s important to remind people who drive to watch for all pedestrians, and especially those with white canes and service dogs.”
Sponsored by the Center for Independent Living of Western Wisconsin, Access Eau Claire Fund of the Eau Claire Community Foundation and Lions Club International.
November 9th – 15th!
A logo for Gooseberry on the Square features a round circle surrounding three green gooseberries bunched on a branch. The circle and text are black. We kindly thank Gooseberry for being a generous donor to this year’s online auction!
It’s just about that time of year! You can support the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired by bidding on items during our online auction from November 9 to 15. This year, the money we raise from the auction will be used to purchase a braille embosser. There’s no event to attend, no transportation to arrange, no babysitter to pay — just spend a few minutes in the comfort of your home, browsing a variety of items at www.biddingforgood.com/wcbvi. Don’t miss this opportunity to win great products and experiences while you support the Council’s work at the same time.
Rows of salads line the chef's preparation table. Each salad is placed on a white plate. Shaved butternut squash and apple is topped with fried sage, feta, bacon and maple dressing.
Were you unable to attend last Saturday’s “Dining in the Dark” event with Vignette Dining Club in Fitchburg? Here is your opportunity to get a little “taste” of the experience! We have created a photo album with detailed image descriptions for you to take in and enjoy. Click here for more! (hyperlink to last sentence: https://www.facebook.com/pg/WICounciloftheBlindandVisuallyImpaired/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1580572075315537)
Following the Signs Along my Journey to Braille
By Katherine Corbett
Katherine Corbett sits on a plush couch surrounded with pillows while reading a braille book. She smiles as she reads, working her way across the page with her fingers.
When I was five, my mom decided I should start learning to read. Since I was totally blind, she knew that would have to be in braille.
“Everyone your age sees print all the time,” she told me. “There are stop signs, signs at the bank and the grocery store, menus in restaurants, and kids your age are seeing that. Why shouldn’t you?”
So she bought a braille labeler and started to label things in our house. She wrote labels for “counter” and “refrigerator” and “Mom and Dad’s Bedroom”. I don’t remember her sitting down with me and telling me which letters were which, as I’m sure she must have done, but I remember her taking my hand and putting it on the braille labels she’d stuck throughout our home, explaining to me what the signs said.
As I became more familiar with braille, I started to help with the labeling. We labeled the washer and dryer controls so I could do laundry. We labeled a big cardboard clock so I could practice telling time. We labeled the microwave so I could make hot dogs for my younger sister. With each day, with each activity, with each time I felt those bumps under my fingertips, braille became easier and more comfortable for me to read.
My mom even included my younger siblings in my learning. She bought some magnetic letters that had both print and braille on them. By then, I was eight and had started learning Grade 2 Braille contractions. Grade 2 is such that a single letter can stand for a whole word in braille.
One of us would pick a magnetic letter out of the box, like C or Z or P, and my job was to say the words the letters stood for in braille, such as “can” or “as” or “people,” respectively. It was my six-year-old sister’s job to say what the letter was, and my three-year-old brother had to say the sound that the letter represented.
Around that time, I started reading my first “big braille book”, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. I remember my mom standing at the kitchen sink washing chicken while I read aloud to her. I don’t remember how far I read in Charlotte’s Web, but I soon discovered I liked reading other books. When I was eleven, I realized I didn’t need light to read, so could read in the dark. This led to many late nights reading The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter books.
To this day, I’m an avid reader. I do often choose to listen to audiobooks because I don’t have a lot of space in my apartment for braille volumes, but braille will always be near to my fingertips and dear to my heart. I think this is because my mom made signs for me just like everyone else was seeing. These signs led me on a path to a hobby I’ll never give up, and literacy that has enabled me to study, have a job and lead an independent life.
Here are some suggestions for how you can learn braille, and how you can teach someone else:
- Find the braille alphabet magnets at The Braille Superstore at http://www.braillebookstore.com. They are great for learning braille, and can help a person who is blind learn the shapes of the print capital letters. There is a set of magnetic numbers, too, which my family used when solving basic math problems.
- The handheld braille labeler mentioned in this article can be purchased from the Braille Superstore as well, and requires no knowledge of braille to operate. It contains both print and braille on its letter wheel.
- The Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers courses for people to learn braille through its distance education program. Visit http://www.hadley.edu to learn more.
- The Braille Library and Transcribing Services, Inc., is a Madison, Wisconsin-based organization which provides braille classes, embosses books and other materials upon request, and has an extensive lending library. Visit them online at http://bltsinc.org or call (608) 233-0222.
Carving Knife with Adjustable Slicing Guide
The Deli Pro Knife is an adjustable kitchen knife that cuts perfect, uniform slices every time. Its built-in adjustable (between 1/4" and 1") slice guide allows you to cut uniform thick or thin deli-like slices easily and consistently. It is great for slicing roasts, chicken, turkey, vegetables, bread and cheese. The included Safety Fork allows you to hold the food steady during cutting, keeping your fingers away from the sharp knife blade. Both the Deli Pro Knife and the Safety Fork feature comfortable, durable black molded plastic grips. Hand wash using soap and warm water (not dishwasher safe.)