News Bulletin – June 2022


By Mike Cole, President East Bay Center For The Blind Board of Directors.

On April 23, 2022, the East Bay Center welcomed a new board of Directors, a blending of longtime members and new ones. A fond farewell to the previous board headed by Dorothy Donaville. The new board extends deep appreciation and thanks for the dedication of our fine predecessors. Our commitment to the Center’s future remains strong.

The new board members and officers are: Mike Cole, President; Fran Marie Franks, first Vice President; Connie Thomas, Second Vice President; Patty Nash, Recording Secretary; Vileen Shah, Corresponding Secretary; Connie Skeen, Treasurer. Board members are Barbara Lassen, Maureen Schulz, Josh Miele, David Cook, and Lori Castner.

COVID-19 has been more than challenging, it’s held us back. Now the Center needs members, active participation, and we must raise money, because as things stand right now, we are living off our savings. That could find the Center in deep trouble very soon.

The Center’s wonderful and long-serving Director Jan Santos will retire in September. It won’t be easy to replace Jan. A job that is limited financially and with an uncertain future will be hard to fill.

The ability to get back to in-person programming depends on how we get through covid that is currently problematic even with vaccinations and boosters. We must plan to open and serve our members. We hope this bulletin finds you well and willing to help us with your ideas and your support.

The Center has continued to operate using the online virtual meeting program called Zoom. The Board of Directors at the March 26, 2022 meeting declared April 1 the official opening date for limited service while observing all COVID protocols: participation to be continued in-person when possible and virtually  online and using the phone.

Vileen Shah’s successful “I Love Braille” online program is doing well with participants from around the nation and the world. Meditation, Ceramics, and our Friday Support group will continue to meet through the summer. Call the Center for updates on classes.

Funding is needed, so if you haven’t paid your dues for 2022, now is a fine time to get caught up.  All members, please,  think of ways to help bring in some money. Think of resources, be willing to talk to others, hand out brochures, appeal to friends and family and members of the community to donate. The Center will survive, but only if we all do what we can.

The Center’s heating and air filtering has been updated, the building is in good shape, the center is quite presentable, events can be planned for, working together, we can come back strong. Please share your ideas for programs and other ways to bring people to the center.

And finally, the Schedule for Board meetings has changed. We will meet on the third Saturday of the month, 10 A. M. to noon. The next quarterly business meeting will be on Saturday, July 25, 2022 at 1:00 P.M. We’ve been meeting virtually; we are anxious to finally get back to meeting in person. When you come to the Center, prepare to wear your mask, show proof of vaccination; we will observe safety protocols.

The East Bay Center belongs to the Blind community; join us in the exciting times ahead. We will learn together and we will have fun!

East Bay Center for the Blind

2928 Adeline Street, Berkeley Ca. 94703

Phone: (510) 843-6935



News Bulletin – April 2022


As of April 1, 2022, due to the easing of COVID restrictions, the East Bay Center for the Blind is once again open for in-person classes of limited size,  as well as by remote access.

We’re starting with the following classes.

Ceramics class will be in-person.

Exercise, Meditation, and our Support Group will be in-person and possibly by remote.

I Love Braille will continue by Zoom.

Braille, Computer, and other technical instruction will continue to be by appointment only, and in-person or remotely as appropriate for each individual class.

We’ll keep you posted about more classes as they are added.

Keeping safety always in mind, everyone coming to the Center must show proof of vaccination, including first booster.  Masks must be worn at all times while in the building.

We will be conducting our quarterly business meeting on April 23.  This will be a Zoom meeting. Be sure to call or email the center to get the Zoom number.

East Bay Center for the Blind

2928 Adeline St., Berkeley, CA 94703

Phone 510-843-6935



News Bulletin — November 2021


I am so pleased to announce the East Bay Center for the Blind (EBCB)  is now again available to  our community.  We re-opened as of Oct. 5 2021, after being closed since March of 2020 because of the covid epidemic.  We must continue to practice safety first, so for now we can only be open by appointment.  Everyone attending must show proof of vaccination and wear a mask at all times while in the center.  We are   unable to have large group gatherings except remotely by phone or zoom, until conditions reach a higher level of safety.

We are able to offer classes, some in person and some remotely, again, by appointment only.

I have often thought through this time of isolation and being apart from one another, that technology has had a significant part in easing our disconnection and loneliness to some degree at least.

This continues to be true for EBCB’s ability to have group meetings and classes by zoom and phone as well as the limited in-person classes at our center.  More about activities later in this bulletin.

Save the Date — EBCB Election

With our prolonged closure, we are long-overdue for our election of EBCB board of directors and officers.  The current board has decided to set aside our usual procedures for election, and open elections up to include all board and officer positions.  Our election will be held at our Quarterly Business Meeting on January 22 2022 at 1:00 PM.  We’ll let you know later whether it will be in person or by zoom.

At our recent Business Meeting, a nominating committee was formed to put together a slate of recommended candidates, but please remember these are just committee suggestions,  and nominations can be made from the floor at the Business Meeting election.  Please be thinking of nominations to offer, which can include yourself of course.

Dues for 2022 can be paid at any time.  It’s preferred that dues be paid by the January Business Meeting, but  must be paid by March 1 2022. 


Up-coming Center Changes

Our wonderful Administrative  Assistant  / Bookkeeper, Catherine Pauling will be leaving us in December. Like so many, she is being forced to relocate due to lack of affordable housing.  We have a replacement, who is currently being trained.  We’ll miss Catherine greatly, but happily she is pleased with her new location up north, and we wish her all the best. 

I also want to let you know I will be retiring from my Executive Director position in September of 2022.  It’s too soon for an official posting, but please pass the word and be thinking of people who might be a good fit for EBCB.

Activities Currently Available

Technology Training is available by appointment as follows.

Call the specific instructor  at 510-843-6935 to arrange in-person or remote instruction.

Adaptive computer with JAWS — instructor Fran Franks

iPhone — instructor Fran Franks.

Braille instruction — Patty Nash.

Victor Stream — instructor Patty Nash

Special computer support — We are Here to Help.  Are you having difficulty with online things you need to get done, but you need help?  Staff and volunteers at EBCB are available to help with internet tasks you may be having trouble accessing.  Call us at 510-843-6935 to set up an in-person or remote appointment.

Groups / classes which are conducted remotely are as follows.

Exercise and movement — Kathleen Davis. Mondays 2:00 to 3:00 PM by conference call.

Support group — Carrie Carter and Patty Overland.  Fridays 10:00 AM to noon by conference call.

I Love Braille”  — Thursdays 9:00  to 10:00AM, Vileen Shah, via Zoom.

We look forward to adding more classes and resuming our social activities and in-person business meetings as soon as safety allows.  Meanwhile, it’s wonderful to be back in touch more regularly.

Again.  Please don’t hesitate to call us for information, or just to re-connect and get back in touch.  Please be thinking about our election, and be sure to attend our Business Meeting on Saturday, January 22 at 1:00 PM. I look forward to seeing you  then.  All my best wishes to each of you for happy holidays.

Jan Santos, Executive Director

East Bay Center for the Blind

2928 Adeline St., Berkeley, CA 94703

Phone 510-843-6935



News Bulletin – December 2019

East Bay Center’s annual holiday party and drawing

Date: December 21, 2019

Time: Noon to 4 o’clock PM. — Cost: $10.00.

Traditional holiday meal will be served. Reservations must be made in advance to reserve your space. Call East Bay Center at (510) 843-6935 to make your Reservations. Reservations must be made by the deadline: December 18, 2019.  NO EXCEPTIONS!  Make reservations early, as the list will be closed when capacity is reached. 

Holiday Drawing tickets are available at $5.00 for a book of 6 tickets. The drawing is to be held on December 21 during the Holiday Party. You need not be present to win the following prizes:

Grand Prize: $200.
First Prize: $150.
Second Prize: $50.
Third Prize: $50. 

There will be many Door Prizes for those present during the drawing. We encourage each member to purchase one or more books to reach our goal of $2,500.  Ask your family members, friends and places you shop to support this worthy cause. Contact East Bay Center at (510) 843-6935 to purchase your tickets.


Election of Officers for 2020

Our next quarterly business meeting is on Saturday January 25, 2020.  Be sure to come to this meeting to vote for officers and board of directors for the upcoming year.

To be eligible to vote, membership dues of $20.00 for 2020 must be paid prior to the election .  Nominations can be made from the floor, as well as the slate  proposed by the nominating committee.

Consider names you might like to propose, or if you would be interested in running yourself.  When nominating someone, be sure to check with them prior to the January business meeting so they will be prepared.

Positions open for election are:  First Vice President; Recording Secretary; Treasurer; and three Board of Director positions.


In Remembrance

It is with great heartfelt sadness that we let you know of the loss of three much-loved and devoted members of our center family: Susie Altaffer, Harriet Harris, and David Milne.  They will be greatly missed. We will continue their legacy of kindness and support.


EBCB 2020

In January we will be sending out a more extensive bulletin, with upcoming activities, classes and other EBCB news including introduction to our new Friends of East Bay Center for the Blind,  whose purpose is to improve EBCB outreach, fundraising and growth of our Center.  We look forward to fun and work time together at our Center in the coming year.



Most importantly, thank you each and all for your in-kind and financial donations, and especially your love and support which is the life of our Center family.


East Bay Center Closure

In observance of the Holidays, the Center will be closed beginning December 24 2019 to January 7, 2020. We wish you all a very happy and safe holiday!



Once again, remember 2020 dues must be paid in order to vote in the January 25 election.  Dues are due and payable from the present to January 25 prior to the time of the election.

East Bay Center for the Blind

Phone:  (510) 843-6935

Newsletter – May-August 2019

East Bay Center for the Blind

May – August 2019 News Bulletin

Editors: Dorothy Donaville and Jan Santos

Welcome to the Spring-Summer edition of the EBCB newsletter. Here are some highlights of what’s been going on in recent months.

Current EBCB Board

In January, members elected the board for 2019 as follows:

Dorothy Donaville re-elected to President.
Ray Marcus, Second Vice-President.
Connie Skeen, Corresponding Secretary.
Directors: Daveed Mandell and Claude Everett.

The other Board members remaining as before are: First Vice President Leah Gardner, Recording Secretary Patty Nash, Mike Castner Treasurer, and Directors Marie Jenkins, David Milne, and Jenna Rubin.

Our thanks go out to the departing Board Members for their service and dedication for the past year:  Larry Wolf, Second Vice-President; Daveed Mandell, Corresponding Secretary; and Directors Louise Wolf and Ray Marcus.

East Bay Center’s New Look

When entering through the front door, you will notice the new wall that now allows the Computer Lab more privacy and most of all much less interruption of classes.  This will make for more peaceful and efficient teaching and learning. It will also allow for a private meeting space when the lab is not in use for students.

We are now set for the rainy season.  Our new roof was installed in April, this was a long time coming.

This is a wonderful time of year to have our beautiful back-yard garden. Be sure to visit this peaceful lovely area the next time you come to the Center. Many thanks to Marie Jenkins, volunteers, and to those who continue to generously provide, donate and contribute all that is needed to make this an enjoyable beautiful garden.

Meditation Class

We want to apologize to member David Cook, who is generously volunteering his time to facilitate a wonderful meditation class at EBCB, which we failed to mention in our last bulletin.  Here is David‘s description of his class.

Mindfulness Meditation – Led by David Cook.

Wednesdays, 1:00 to 2:30PM.

This is a group equally suitable for ongoing attendance or dropping in anytime.

Our purpose is to practice being present with each moment of our lives, rather than letting life rush by us unnoticed.  These practices lead to greater contentment and freedom of choice as well as a deeper understanding of our true nature. Mindfulness meditation is compatible with any religion or philosophy. We begin with a short meditation period followed by a discussion.

From the Technology Staff

EBCB Computer Lab Usage Guidelines:
We have four computer work-stations in our computer lab, and to allow access for everyone we have some basic guidelines.  First of all, training time with an instructor is done by appointment. These times are usually the same day and time each week.  Please call the center or speak to one of the instructors to schedule training time. Since time is limited, please call in advance if you know you cannot make an appointment so someone else may utilize the services in your absence.  The lab is open for personal use and practice without an appointment, but if training is happening with someone else, you will be responsible for using the computer quietly, independently, and with headphones or ear-buds and not to interrupt the trainer.  Technical staff are available for questions, but time for serious technical support may be restricted. Finally, to keep the equipment clean and in good condition, food and drinks are not allowed in the lab. Most importantly, keep learning and having fun!

Summer break for Berkeley Adult School classes — Ceramics, Exercise, and Music—will begin on June 14 until August 26.  This will be a great opportunity for those of you who might want to share your expertise and skills to lead additional activities.  There have been suggestions of a possible nutrition class, cooking class, language, exercise, perhaps knitting or crocheting. We are also anticipating a summer outing with the East Bay Regional Parks District which is still in the planning stage.  Stay tuned for the specifics.



The East Bay Center for the Blind will be honored!  On May 31st The Warren Publishing Group is holding their 4th annual Older Americans Month Reception in partnership with the City of Oakland‘s Aging and Adult Services, honoring agencies that provide health-care services to the senior population.  This will be a great opportunity for EBCB to reach out to and be recognized by the larger community.  (Warren Publishing Group is a Senior Advocacy Alliance providing information to seniors age 50+ through Renew Magazine, community outreach, speakers’ bureau and philanthropy in the Oakland Bay Area.)

I recently heard some interesting information regarding low-cost hearing aids which I wanted to pass on, since hearing aids are so important and usually very expensive.  Please note I do not have direct experience with these, and am not recommending them, just passing on information to research if anyone is interested.  The ‘MDHearingAid’ website is

They offer three models of aids selling for $200, $400 and $600.  The other three are: America Hears; Hears Source; and Hi Health Innovations. I don’t have the specific contact information for these.


Grant News

By Daveed Mandell, Development Officer

We have just received a $10,000 grant from the Bothin Foundation   in San Francisco as partial payment for EBCB’s new roof. We are still seeking general operating support and capital improvements grants. We plan to request a grant from the William G. Irwin Charitable Foundation also in San Francisco.  This funder offers capital grants to non-profits, whose next funding cycle is expected to begin very soon. We have found several adult literacy grants, and are exploring these as possible application options. Earlier this year we received a $10,000 grant from the Peninsula Endowment in Santa Clara County towards our new computers and computer lab wall construction.  We plan to request further funding this fall after completion of their application process revision.

Meanwhile, our Transportation Justice Projector Seniors and People with Disabilities is moving along very well. Jenna Rubin, our Outreach Coordinator for the project and her team have been hard at work, connecting with Life Elder Care and other organizations.    Jenna, Connie Thomas, Theodora McBride, and Lisa Logan participated in Momentum Expo on April 27 at the Ed Roberts Campus where they showcased our Transportation Justice Project, distributed a survey and invited people to work with us.

We are preparing to research best practices and alternative transportation models in the United States and abroad to propose a multimodal transportation model suitable for the Bay Area region.

I have been working with organization that comprise the Transportation Justice Movement to draft a vision and principles statement as part of an effort to advocate for a regional transportation measure expected to be on the 2020 ballot. Many of these organizations are new to working with senior and people with disabilities, however they have been extremely receptive to including and emphasizing such integral principles as freedom of movement and accessibility. Our breakthrough partnership has so far been rewarding and productive.


(Note: The Open Mic event that was scheduled for June 8th has been cancelled.)

Saturday, June 15: Training, 1:00 to 4:00 PM. Training on use of the Safeway website to order online for delivery of groceries using a screen reader. Please sign up by Wed. June 12.

Saturday, June 22:  Movie Day, 12:00 to 4:00 PM, lunch $10, menu to be announced, plus popcorn; reserve lunch by Wed. 19.  featuring Green Book, audio-described. The film is named after The Negro Motorist Green Book, a mid-20th century guidebook for African-American travelers written by Victor Hugo Green. In early-1960s openly and legally segregated America, two polar opposites, a distinguished and refined African-American classical pianist and an uncultivated Italian-American nightclub bouncer, form an unlikely friendship.

Saturday, July 20: Open Mic, 5:30 to 8:00 PM. (From Jenna Rubin) — Help us launch our new Open Vent Night.  This is a space for sharing what is on your mind your writing, your music…. whatever.  There is no charge, but this is a fundraiser, so bring small bills to purchase snacks, bevies, and light entrees.  No need to sign up. Just show up.

Saturday, July 27: Quarterly Business Meeting, 1:00 to 4:00 PM.  Lunch is $10.00, RSVP by Wednesday, July 24th, menu to be announced.

Saturday, August 24:  EBCB annual picnic, 12:00 to 4:00 PM. Lunch $10.00 RSVP by Wed. August 21; we’ll serve hamburgers, hotdogs and potato Salad and dessert, our traditional EBCB picnic fair.

Summer outing:  We are making plans for an outing, perhaps with the Regional East Bay Parks District; we will keep you informed of details as they develop.

Center Closures:  We will be closed on Thurs. July 4 and Fri. July 5 for the 4th of July holiday.  EBCB summer break will be from Tuesday August 6 through Fri. August 16, and we will re-open on Tuesday August 20.

Ongoing CLASSES and activities

Tuesday: Ceramics, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. — Instructor: Kathleen Rowe.

Tuesday: Exercise and Movement class, 2:00 to 3:30 PM. — Instructor: Kathleen Davis.

Wednesday: Mindfulness Meditation, 1:00 to 2:30. — Led by David Cook.

Thursday: Memory Support Group, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM. — Instructor: Carol Kehoe.

Friday: Music Appreciation, 1:00 to 3:00 PM. Instructor: — Diana Perry.

First Thursday of each month: Bingo, 1:00 to 3:00 PM. — Cover charge $2.00.

First Friday of each month: Book Club, 10:00 to 11:00 AM. — Facilitators: Patty Nash and Dorothy Doraville. — Book club selections: June, DBC 16765 All Together In One Place; July, DB92036 With Every Breath; August, DB92510 Every Breath.

Second and fourth Fridays:  Vision Loss Peer Support group, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. — Facilitators: Carrie Carter and Patty Overland.

Third Friday of each month:  Writing Club, 10:00 to 11:00 AM. — Facilitators: Dorothy Donaville and Patty Nash.

Technology Training available by appointment:
Call specific instructor at 510-843-6935.  Adaptive computer with JAWS, Instructor Fran Franks. iPhone Instructor Fran Franks.  Zoom Text with JAWS (Fusion) Instructor Mike Gorman. Braille Instructor Patty Nash. Victor Stream Instructor Patty Nash.


The East Bay Center for the Blind is a Private Non-Profit 501(c)(3) organization. Any tax-exempt donations are always needed.  Please remember us, and encourage donations from others to ensure the continuation of EBCB.

Mission Statement:

Founded in 1939, The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc. is a small, innovative, grassroots nonprofit membership organization that seeks to empower blind and visually impaired individuals underserved by traditional agencies. We strive to actively facilitate and foster independence, confidence, dignity and self-growth.

The East Bay Center for the Blind is open
Tuesday through Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM.

We are located at 2928 Adeline St., Berkeley, CA 94703.

Phone: 510-843-6935

Email us at:



Newsletter – January-March 2019

Editors:  Dorothy Donaville and Jan Santos.

First of all, we wish all of you a Happy New year, and we are proud to bring you the latest EBCB news.

We ended 2018 with our December annual holiday party and raffle which was a great success. We shared friendship and good food. Our net profit was $2,592. Thanks to all of our members, family and friends who participated selling and purchasing tickets to make this possible; we couldn’t have done it without you.

The Grand Prize Winner of $200.00 was member Grace Rodriguez. The First Prize Winner of $150.00 was member Marie Vuong.  The Second Prize of $50.00 was won by member Sharon Knox.  The Third Prize Winner of $50.00 was non-member Kimberly Donaville.

We acknowledge and express our appreciation to those who generously made donations for our cash and door prizes:  Trader Joe’s (University Ave., Berkeley), Leah Gardner, Frank McNulty, Ray Marcus, and Veronica Ruby. Thanks again for helping to make our holiday party successful!

Sadly, in 2018 we had to say goodbye to some of our dear dedicated members: our past President Anita March, Louise Anderson, Craig Sheridan-Krongard, and Ted Marshall.  They will be dearly missed. May they rest in peace.

In retrospect, looking back over the past year, in 2018, we are grateful to have received grants that allowed us to purchase new computers thereby expanding our computer lab. We are appreciative for those who have generously supported and made donations towards the continuing growth of our center.

Well wishes to our members recovering from surgery and illness: David Green, Sabe Hundenski, David Milne, and Peter Crockwell. Keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.

What’s New

Remote JAWS Training Available

If you are unable to make it into the center in person to work with trainer Fran Franks for JAWS training on your PC, she is able to work with you on the phone, and if needed, through a remote internet connection. This would be by appointment only, and on the days she is at the center.

The remote internet connection is through the use of a JAWS feature called JAWS Tandem, which is built into JAWS itself, so no additional software is needed. This is accomplished over the phone as Fran will give you some keystrokes to perform, and then type in a one-time access code. This connection is good only for one session, and cannot be re-established after being terminated unless you decide to request another session. Some training sessions can be done with just talking on the phone without remoting in. If you are interested or just have questions, call the center to get in touch with Fran.

Transportation Justice Project Grant

The East Bay Center for the Blind has received a grant from the San Francisco Foundation which requires EBCB to build a coalition during 2019 and 2020 to call on transportation agencies throughout the Bay Area to create and implement a comprehensive multimodal transportation service. Without freedom of movement, the resulting isolation, missed appointments and lost jobs greatly impacts seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income members of the community who lack alternative means of transportation. The goal of this two-year grant is to demand both advance reservations and same-day services.

We plan to ask some of our members to document all of their paratransit rides for several weeks to determine how effectively East Bay Paratransit meets the needs of the target group and identify problems. We hope our members will cooperate in this effort and work with us to suggest ways in which transportation for seniors and people with disabilities can and should be improved.

Please contact Daveed Mandell or Patty Nash for more details and to sign up for documenting paratransit rides.

New Class at EBCB:  Sexual Health
Instructor: Laura Miller

A 10-part sexual health class and community discussion group specifically for people who are blind or visually impaired. Laura will provide two sexual health classes a month over a 5-month period, followed by community discussion groups. The curriculum she uses was developed by Health Connected, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to help young people feel confident and supported to make informed decisions about their own sexual health. While created for youth and young adults, the course holds useful and relevant information that is applicable to everyone regardless of age.

Start date to be announced. More information is available upon request by calling the center.

EBCB Beautification

Thanks to Marie Jenkins, Albany High student volunteer Becky Xin, Celeste Myers, and Jenna Rubin. Marie initiated this project without hesitation and she has been working with others seemingly effortlessly without complaint.

Attention! — Book Club Selections

January:  Forbidden  by Beverly Jenkins.
February:  Take Me Home  by Dorothy Garlock.
March:  All She Ever Wanted  by Lynn Austin.

Moving Forward

As we go forth in 2019, we expect greater accomplishments. Our goal is to seek more grants for better transportation services, renovating and upgrading the center’s computer lab for a more suitable teaching/learning environment, and possible workshops to attract younger adults. Even more importantly, we should put renewed emphasis into recruiting new members.

Equally important, your Center needs you! We need your contributions to our bulletin, and we want to know your interests so you can participate as you like and make your center the place you want it to be. Help with our newsletter could range from an announcement, to a recipe, to an article, poem or other writing of your choosing. Of course if you’d like to help with the bulletin creation, that too is most welcome.

Upcoming Events

Saturday January 26 2019, 1:00 to 4:00 PM:
Quarterly Business Meeting.

Lunch will be pizza, salad and dessert, and costs $10.

You must RSVP by Wednesday, January 23.

Come to this meeting to vote in the election of Officers and Board of Directors for 2019. Please note, membership dues of $20.00 for 2019 must be paid prior to the election in order to cast your vote.

The following positions are up for re-election:  President, Second Vice President, Corresponding Secretary, and two Directors.

The Nominating Committee offers the following slate:  President, Dorothy Donaville; Second Vice President, Ray Marcus; Corresponding Secretary, Connie Skeen; and two Directors, Claude Everett and Josie McDoal.

In addition to the slate presented by the nominating committee, nominations will be taken from the floor. Consider names you’d like to propose, (or if you’re interested in running yourself). When nominating someone, be sure to check with that person ahead of the January business meeting so they can be prepared.

Special Events

Saturday February 2, 2019, 1:00 to 4:00 PM:
Pre-Valentine Social Gathering and Jewelry Sale!
Light refreshments will be served. $6.00 door charge, plus cost of any jewelry you purchase. RSVP by Wednesday January 30.

The VOLUNTEER AWARD recognition event, originally scheduled for February 23, has been postponed until a later date.  We will keep you posted when a date has been chosen for re-scheduling.

Saturday March 23, 12:00 to 4:00 PM:
Movie Day.  Hotdogs, chips and popcorn will be served. Cost: $10.00. Reserve by Wednesday March 20. (Audio-described movie, title to be announced. Recommendations are welcome!)

Ongoing Events and Classes

Weekly classes

Tuesday: Ceramics, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
Instructor: Kathleen Rowe.

Tuesday: Exercise and Movement class, 2:00 to 3:30 PM.
Instructor: Kathleen Davis.

Thursday: Memory Support Group, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
Instructor: Carol Kehoe

Friday: Music Appreciation, 1:00 to 3:00 PM.
Instructor: Diana Perry.

Other Classes and Events

First Thursday of each month:
Bingo, 1:00 to 3:00 PM.
Cover charge: $2.00.

First Friday of every month:
Book Club, 10:00 to 11:00 AM.
Facilitators: Patty Nash and Dorothy Donaville.

Second and fourth Fridays:
Vision Loss Peer Support group, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
Facilitators: Carrie Carter and Patty Overland.

Third Friday:
Writing Club, 10:00 to 11:00 AM.
Facilitators: Dorothy Donaville and Patty Nash.

Technology Training:
Adaptive computer with JAWS, Zoom Text with JAWS (Fusion), iPhone, and Braille instruction. (Also refer to “What’s New” above for instruction via the phone.) All available by advance appointment at 510-843-6935.  For Computer and iPhone, ask for Fran Franks.  For Fusion, ask for Mike Gorman.  For Braille and Victor Stream, ask for Patricia Nash.


The East Bay Center for the Blind is a Private Non-Profit 501(c)(3) organization. Any tax-exempt donations are always needed. Please remember us, and encourage donations from others to ensure the continuation of EBCB.

Mission Statement

Founded in 1939, The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc. is a small, innovative, grassroots nonprofit membership organization that seeks to empower blind and visually impaired individuals underserved by traditional agencies. We strive to actively facilitate and foster independence, confidence, dignity and self-growth.

The East Bay Center for the Blind is open
Tuesday through Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM.

We are located at 2928 Adeline St., Berkeley, CA 94703.

Phone: 510 843-6935.

Email us at:

Please visit our website at:


Newsletter – October-December 2018

Learn what’s happening around the East Bay Center since our last News Bulletin!

Two of our people volunteering for the newsletter have recently been hired by Google which of course takes their time away from EBCB. Good news for Leah Gardner and Kelly McCarthy to have paid work, but sad news for us since they can’t be at our Center as often.


Since our last bulletin, we have new staff members. Our technology staff is now Fran Franks, Mike Gorman and Patty Nash. Our instruction now includes Fusion for low vision users. Remember! We have iPhone and iPad training.

Our newly-purchased computers and increased technology are enabling us to expand and enhance our computer instruction, which is a long-awaited goal of EBCB.

Speaking of this technology expansion, we have been fortunate to get $14,000 towards the computer purchase, but the total cost for these additions have come to $25,000. We are seeking additional funding and donations to help with these costs. Many grants require matching funds, so any help any of you can gather from yourselves or any friends or family members would be of great help to our center.

The Adjustment Vision-Loss Support Group continues to grow, and is a help to those new to vision loss and the old-hands as well. We all need support as well as information and referral.


October 18: Berkeley Library Adult Storytelling, 1 PM to 3 PM.

October 27: Quarterly Business Meeting, 1 PM to 4 PM. Lunch is $10. You must RSVP by Wednesday, October 24th. Come place your vote for members of the Nominating Committee. This committee will make recommendations for officers at the January quarterly business meeting.

November 17: In lieu of the Harvest Festival, a memorial service will be held for our past President, Anita March. Sponsored by East Bay Center Board of Directors. Refreshments will be served. You must RSVP by Wednesday, November 14th.

December 15: Holiday party, 12 to 4 PM. Lunch will cost $10 and we will serve a traditional turkey dinner with trimmings. You must RSVP no later than Wednesday, December 12th. Make reservations early to ensure a place; if we reach building capacity before then, we will be unable to continue taking names. Our drawing will be held at this event. First prize is $200, second prize $150, and two $50 prizes. You do not need to be present to win! Tickets may be purchased for $5 for a book of 6 tickets.

This is an important fundraiser for EBCB and we encourage each member to purchase 1 or more books to reach our goal of $2,500. Ask your family members, friends and places you shop to support this worthy cause. Many more prizes will be available for those present at the drawing. Contact East Bay Center to purchase your books of tickets now!


We will be closed from November 21 to 23 in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday, re-opening on Tuesday, November 27.

We will observe our annual winter break from December 18 to January 2, re-opening on Wednesday, January 3rd.


Ceramics — Tuesday, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Instructor: Kathleen Rowe.

Exercise and Movement — Tuesday, 2:00 to 3:30 PM. Instructor: Kathleen Davis.

Memory Support Group — Thursday, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Instructor: Carol Kehoe.

Music Appreciation — Friday, 1:00 to 3:00 PM. Instructor: Diana Perry.

Bingo — First Thursday of each month, 1:00 to 3:00 PM. Cover charge $2.00.

Book Club — First Friday of every month, 10:00 to 11:00 AM.
Facilitators: Patty Nash and Dorothy Donaville.

Book club selections for October-December are as follows:
October:  Stella Bain, by Anita Shreve — db77736.
November:  Left Neglected, by Lisa Genova — db72864.
December:  The Christmas Secret, by Donna Vanliere — db89747.
Extra Credit:  A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens — db43546.

Vision Loss Peer Support group — Second and fourth Fridays, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Facilitators: Carrie Carter and Patty Overland.

Writing Club — Third Friday, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Facilitators: Dorothy Donaville and Patty Nash.

Technology Training — adaptive computer instruction with JAWS, Zoom Text with JAWS (Fusion, iPhone) and Braille instruction are available by advance appointment. Contact the Center at (510) 843-6935. For Computer and iPhone, ask for Fran Franks. For Fusion, ask for Mike Gorman. For Braille and Victor Stream, ask for Patricia Nash.

The East Bay Center for the Blind is open   
Tuesday-Friday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
We are located at 2928 Adeline St., Berkeley, CA 94703.
Phone: (510) 843-6935.
Email us at
Please visit our web page at
or our Facebook page at

Newsletter – Fall 2016



The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc.

2928 Adeline St.
Berkeley, CA 94703
Phone: 510-843-6935
Fax: 510-843-6006


Editor’s Corner

By Daveed Mandell

Welcome one and all to the Fall edition of “Keeping in Touch”! It’s amazing, and somewhat disconcerting, that 2016 is almost at an end!

We are delighted to announce that the Center has just received a $5000 grant from the Operating Engineers Community Service Fund. We look forward to receiving another ROOF grant from Red Oak Realty. We are in contact with other foundations and hope to receive significant additional grants next year.

The graphic artist with whom we have been working is completing our new large print, full color brochure, and it is almost ready to be printed. The brochure is a 25.5-by-11-inch sheet of heavy cover stock, folded in thirds, with text and photographs on all six sides. We will also provide the brochure in braille and put it on our website and on our Facebook page.

We have been compiling and prioritizing a list of projects which will, we hope, be financed by various grants. I will update our members and friends regarding these efforts in the next issue of this newsletter.

We wish to welcome our new ceramics teacher, Amy Allen. We’re glad to have her on board and wish her success in working with our ceramics class.

Our recent barbecue and sing-along/karaoke day was a resounding success. Cooks David Green and Renea Latimer outdid themselves. The food was scrumptious! Our fantastic deejays were Doyle Saylor, Leah Gardner and Kelly McCarthy.

I hope you enjoy this issue of the newsletter. It is significantly longer than previous issues, because I found several articles that I thought would be of interest to many of you. I look forward to receive articles from our members for future newsletters.

On behalf of the Center’s staff and the Board of Directors, here’s wishing you an enjoyable Holiday Season and a fruitful, productive, healthy and Happy New Year!

Upcoming Events

Quarterly Business Meeting: The next Center business meeting will take place on Saturday, October 22, from noon to 4 PM. The membership will choose three people to serve on the Nominating Committee which will offer a suggested slate of officers for next January’s Center elections for President, Second Vice-President, Corresponding Secretary and three Directors. In addition, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates will speak to the membership. Berkeley Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Jennifer Lazo will give a presentation on earthquake safety. The lunch menu will be quiche Lorraine, green salad and jello with fruit. The meal is available for a donation of $10 per person and must be reserved by Wednesday, October 19, at 3 PM.

Harvest Festival: The Center’s annual Harvest Festival will take place on Saturday, November 19, from noon to 4 PM. More information to be announced. The menu has yet to be determined, but two possibilities are either homemade pizza or tamales and salad. The meal can be had for a donation of $6. It must be reserved by Wednesday, November 16, at 3 PM.

Holiday Party: The Center’s annual Holiday Party will take place on Saturday, December 17, from noon to 4 PM. More information to be announced. As in previous years the Center will serve a complete traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. It can be yours for a donation of $10. Please reserve your meal by Wednesday, December 14, at 3 PM.

Center Announcements

Vision Loss Support Group: The Center is now offering a vision loss support group. It began last month, thanks to Center member and former social worker Carrie Carter. Co-facilitating the group is new volunteer Patty Overland. The support group meets on the second and fourth Fridays of each month from 10 AM to noon.

2017 Dues: Please note that 2017 dues, in the amount of $15, are now due and payable. We hope you will all renew your Center membership.

Center Closures: The Center will close for the Thanksgiving Holiday starting on Wednesday, November 23, and re-open on Tuesday, November 29. The Center will close for winter vacation, beginning on Tuesday, December 20, and re-open on Tuesday, January 4, 2017.

What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?

by Susan Kitazawa

(Reprinted with permission of the author from the Fall 2016 issue of “The Blind Californian”, the quarterly magazine of the California Council of the Blind.)

There are lots of reasons not to do things. It’s too hot out. It’s too windy and cold. Everyone else will be younger. You don’t have the money. I’m not sure how to get there. Paratransit is always late. No one else is going, at least no one we know. It’s too hard. I don’t have time.

But we likely only get one life here, and it might as well be fun and interesting. The world, despite all its problems and challenges is a deeply rich and interesting place. And we lucked out and are here in it.

Two years ago my friend Cristina, legally blind and in her 90s, called to tell me that she had just joined a choir for seniors. No auditions, no try-outs. After some pep talking, she got me to commit to joining. At the end of the call, she mentioned that, by the way, the choir sings in Spanish. When I said I wasn’t so sure about this, she told me that this would be a great opportunity for me to practice singing and to improve my rusty Spanish all at the same time. And for free!

When I went to the first class, it turned out that there was another blind woman who had already been in the group for a while. A year later, I invited another blind friend to join the choir. So there are four of us blind ones among the forty members of Coro Solera.

In spite of sometimes singing Spanish words that I don’t entirely understand, this has turned out to be a fun and deeply enriching experience. As Cristina promised, both of the choir leaders are delightful and very quick to accommodate not only our blind and low vision needs but an assortment of other disabilities among this group, all age 60 or older. There are several singers who didn’t know any Spanish at all when they joined. Sighted and blind, we’re all learning a lot together.

Being out in the wider world, we blind ones have successfully educated our fellow choir members about ways to best help us. They’ve also come to understand when we’d prefer to do things in our own sometimes “slow vision” manner without their assistance. A few choir members have asked about resources and suggestions for living with their own or friends’ increasing vision loss.

When our choir sings at street fairs, senior centers, and concert halls, people see us with our white canes as we participate fully in a community activity out in the wider, mostly sighted world. Best of all, we have a lot of fun, meet new people, and have a chance to give back to the larger community.

More recently, as participants in a writers’ project, another blind woman and I happened to both be part of a literary reading at the main library in San Francisco. Standing before an audience of about 100 people, she read her work in braille. I read mine in very large print, the pages a few inches from my face. (Yes, I’m gradually getting faster at braille reading, a new challenge taken on in my 60s.)

Sighted audience members not only saw us, with our white canes, there at the podium, reading our work, they heard us read about life experiences beyond our being part of the blind community. They had a chance to know us as people defined by more than just our blindness.

As I make my daily treks around and about San Francisco, I often go for several days without seeing anyone else with a white cane or a dog guide, unless I’m within a few blocks of the LightHouse for the Blind or at a blind event. I know that there are lots of blind and low vision folks here in the Bay Area.

Having had so much fun singing in Coro Solera and being part of the writers’ project, I want to encourage more of my blind friends to get out and live in the wider world. It can be very comforting to be among our blind and low vision friends. They don’t need explanations; they already get it. At the same time, it’s exciting to be part of so many varied activities even when I’m the only legally blind participant. Sure, sometimes it’s pretty daunting or frustrating. But it’s worth it.

I recently heard an interesting question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” A bit of healthy fear is a good thing; otherwise we might try to do something with predictably disastrous consequences. But some fears keep us from living the full life we can really have. I’ve been giving this question some creative thought.

This month or today or next week, it might be fun to stretch the limits a bit. Go somewhere new. Change something in your daily routine. Take harmonica lessons. Try out whatever it is that you’d really like to do.

It can be scary trying new things especially if we think we have to go it alone. But we don’t. I don’t think I ever heard people talk about independence as much as I have since I became part of the blind community. Maybe it’s a part of my Japanese American cultural and genetic heritage, but I think that independence is a bit over-rated. (In Japanese, the word for we and the word for I are the same word.) We’re actually all part of an interdependent whole. Most of us don’t make our own clothes, grow our own food, take our own trash to the dump, or do our own dental work. We count on each other to get things done.

I find it much easier to step out of my comfort zone when I remind myself that independence is somewhat of an illusion. I remind myself that I’m already dependent on others for most of the important things in my life, like clean drinking water and the covers I sleep under at night. When I remember this, I find it much easier to ask for help.

If I try a new city bus line and get lost, even after carefully researching my route ahead of time, I cheerfully ask someone where I am and what I need to do next to get where I’m going. If I can’t read the sign or didn’t even know that there was one, I ask politely, for someone to explain what steps I need to carry out whatever it is I’m hoping to do, like getting in line to buy a ticket. Eventually I make it to the right place.

Yes, it’s often confusing and sometimes exhausting just getting from Point A to Point B. At times it doesn’t seem worth the effort. Some days it’s necessary to stay home, shelter in place, and gather up energy to face it all again. When getting about is just too tough, there are all the ways we can bring the world into our own living space, be it audio books, classes by mail, dancing in our kitchen to radio tunes, online courses, or having a friend come by to teach us how our much too complicated phone works.

I hope that reading this will nudge someone along toward trying something new. And I hope that when we need a nudge, you’ll remind me and others to enjoy all there is to explore in this world of ours. We’d miss much too much if we made sheltering in place a way of life. In the past, families sometimes hid blind family members away. We shouldn’t be hiding ourselves from the world due to our own fear or our own inertia. And it’s much less scary to be out there when we remember that it’s absolutely fine to pleasantly ask someone else for help. We all have our part in helping each other get through life so we can fully enjoy ourselves in this wide world of ours.

Fundraising Committee Report

by Claude Everett, Chair

Hello members:

This is to remind all members and EBCB supporters that tickets are on sale for the annual drawing to be held at the annual Holiday celebration on Saturday, December 17, 2016. Tickets cost five dollars for a book of six. You may purchase your ticket book(s) from many sources: Claude Everett, Dorothy Donaville (EBCB President), Jan Santos (EBCB General Manager), and Fundraising Committee members Louise Wolf, Ray Marcus and Sandra Fancher.

First prize will be $200; second prize, $100; third prize, a wonderful gift basket; and fourth prize, $50. There will also be many door prizes for those who attend the holiday celebration.

Remember: Buy from all the ticket sellers, and your chances may improve. If you don’t buy a book of tickets you won’t win a thing. This fundraiser is to support your Center! We can’t do anything without you!

Book Club and Writing Club

By Patty Nash

Book Club: We’d like to invite members and friends to join the Book Club on the first Friday of each month at EBCB FROM 10 TO 11 AM. Books are chosen based on participants’ suggestions. We choose books which we feel would be of interest to everyone and would promote discussion. They are all available on the Library of Congress BARD (Braille and Recorded Download) website so that all members of the Book Club may read them. We hope you will join us. Below is a list of upcoming books:

November: “Lilac Girls”, DB84356, by Martha Hall Kelly.

December: “Miracles From Heaven: A Little Girl, Her Journey To Heaven,
and Her Amazing Story of Healing”,
DB84020, by Kristy Wilson Beam.

January, 2017: “Look up for Yes”, DB44651, by Tavalaro, Julia; Tayson, Richard.

February, 2017: “See Me”, DB82717, by Nicholas Sparks.

Writing Club: We would like to invite all aspiring writers or those working on pieces to join us every third Friday at EBCB for our writing club. We read what we have written and make helpful suggestions to the authors. Additionally, we read selections from books on writing to help us improve our writing. We have been working with the book Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg, and we listened to a seminar the author delivered on writing memoirs. There are many wonderful writing books on the BARD website, and we will be reading from some of them in the futurethe next to be announced soon. We look forward to your participation.

California Voter Information Guide for the General Election, Part 1

Dear Valued Patron of the California Braille and Talking Book Library (BTBL) Sacramento, We have adapted the Secretary of State’s “California Voter Information Guide for the General Election, November 8, 2016” into an 8 hour digital talking book for use with our Digital Talking Book Machine or third party device that plays NLS books.

This adapted voter guide can be downloaded directly from our web site at Unzip the downloaded file to a thumb drive or blank flash memory cartridge for playback on the DTBM. Download the 2016 General Election Voter Information Guide in digital book format If you would like to borrow this voter guide on cartridge, please contact your reader advisor at (800) 952-5666 and we will mail you a cartridge in a container with a return mailing card just as we loan books.

Other formats:
The audio version of the voter guide is available online to stream or download in the form of 151 separate MP3 files from the Secretary of State’s website at:

We are also posting the voter guide in synthetic speech to our local channel on Newsline (Telephonic Reader Program), available through the National Federation of the Blind. Californians with print disabilities can find out more about and apply for a free Newsline account at or by contacting their local NLS network library.

The Secretary of State’s Election Office will provide, upon request to constituents who need it, cassette or CD hardcopies of the voter guide. If you would prefer a large print, cassette or CD version of the voter guide, you may submit an online form on the SOS web site at . You may also contact the Secretary of State’s election office directly at: (916) 695-1579 or via Email at to request one of these alternate formats.

And in case you were wondering, the Secretary of State does not provide a braille version of the voter guide. BTBL is researching whether we might be able to provide an electronic braille version some day in the future.

Local Voter Information:
This 2016 Voter Information Guide contains information about statewide referenda and candidates only. Local voter information should be available through your local county election offices at:

Braille and Talking Book Library Staff
(800) 952-5666

Thirteen Reasons Why I Enjoy Being Blind by Maureen Schulz

(Reprinted with permission of the author from the Spring 2016 issue of “The Blind Californian”, the 1 quarterly magazine of the California Council of the Blind.)

1. It gives me immediate access to the unusual, and therefore, more appreciation at times of what is beyond ordinary, in myself and each person.

2. Since I don’t drive, I will never have to waste time finding a parking spot, get a ticket, be caught speeding, spend money on maintaining/buying/selling/going into debt over a vehicle, and the price of gasoline will never ever worry me. I never have to say: “I’m not drinking today, I’m driving.”

3. I do not ever have to look at graphics, into mirrors, or at any other visual nonsense.

4. I could spend hours, days, in conversation/contemplation, or listening to music, and love it, and never ever get tired of or distracted from that.

5. I know and appreciate the energy behind people’s words, as well as that behind their silence, and I love reading energy in people’s voices and in how they talk.

6. I am in great company, as justice, faith, love are, all blind.

7. Blindness is a perfect excuse for anything I don’t want to do.

8. Since I am often seen as either a genius or an idiot, I can sneak off and be myself quietly, below the radar, and not be noticed.

9. I can escape into my inner self and not care about anything else.

10. I appreciate that phone and email are great equalizers, no sight required.

11. I often enjoy the company of other blind/partially sighted people, because I know and appreciate, in detail, the kind of outer and inner work they had to do, to be where they are in life.

12. Should a truly Totalitarian State ever come, I can use Braille as my medium to say whatever I want to say.

13. I get to thoroughly enjoy myself when I happen to be in a group of sighted people, and all the lights go out.

California Voter Information Guide for the General Election, Part 2

From the Library for the Blind and Print disabled, San Francisco Public Library

Hello Readers –

The coming November election features numerous local ballot measures as well as the very much anticipated presidential contest. Let us know if you would like to receive your voter handbook in audio or Large Print format by giving us a call: 415-557-4253.

If you received a flash drive with election materials back in June, please return it to us if you haven’t already. The November Voter Information Pamphlet will be on flash drive and will arrive in a grey cartridge container with an address card you can flip over, just like a Talking Book. The LBPD has been working with the Department of Elections in San Francisco to support the audio version, and it will be produced in a few weeks.

Make sure you are registered to vote by October 24th. Online registration is at You will need your California ID, the last four digits of your social security number and your date of birth.

Jane, Tom, Nell, Bart, Divina, Ricardo, Kenya, Kate and Eric

Library for the Blind and Print Disabled
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin st. 2nd floor
San Francisco Ca 94102
(415) 557-4380

Bread for Life by Lori Castner

(Reprinted with permission of the author from the Fall 2016 issue of “The Blind Californian”, the quarterly magazine of the California Council of the Blind.)

Whenever someone asks me what activities I enjoy, the first one that comes to mind is baking bread, not a quick bread that mixes up in a few minutes, but yeast bread which takes five or six hours from start to finish. When I was in third grade, one Saturday afternoon, my mother announced she was going to bake bread, and I stood beside her enthralled as she showed me the steps to creating a loaf. She demonstrated the special process for mixing bread dough called kneading, and let me check the size of the dough several times while it increased in volume in a draft-free location. I loved the finished product, a hot light crusty slice with butter, but it was the process of producing loaves and rolls that got me hooked.

In Junior High, I discovered more about bread-baking as we spent several sessions in Home Economics learning how to bake loaves and sweet rolls. Because yeast is a living organism, I understood I must use lukewarm water to soften the small granules so they would grow causing dough to rise and produce airy-textured bread. Because of the time needed for the rising process, our class made the dough on Monday, kneading it by pushing our hands forward and pressing downward, then turning the dough a quarter turn and pressing downward and forward. Each of us repeated these steps again and again until the dough reached the proper texture, a smooth and shiny feeling ball, which we refrigerated. Then at our next class on Wednesday, we formed the dough into chosen shapes, loaves and various types of rolls: spirals, butterflies, crescents, clover leaves. We left them to rise throughout the afternoon and through the dinner hour, then baked them in a hot oven. At last, we carried our bounty back to the dormitory where we feasted with friends as though all of us had not just eaten a hot meal.

Over the past fifty years, from my Junior High days until now, I have collected bread recipes: at first by transcribing them from braille magazines (enough to fill three large binders), later by purchasing cookbooks and now by searching the Internet. Over the years, few steps in my bread-making process have changed, except for the fact that today I use instant yeast which does not need to soak before being mixed with other ingredients. I do not use the very popular bread machines; but rather knead the sticky, rough dough until it develops a shiny, satiny, elastic texture. I’m still more hooked on the process of making bread than on the final product although I do enjoy my husband’s eagerness as he waits for a fragrant loaf or a pan full of rolls to appear on the cooling rack.

I have made many types of loaves: cheese-filled, oatmeal/honey, whole-wheat, cornmeal/molasses, and brioche. For holidays, I bake special breads. At Easter, I traditionally make hot crossed buns. Occasionally I make rolls which are shaped like small pigeons; these rolls originated in the Ukraine where they were served at Easter to celebrate the larks’ migration to the north. When guests see a bread basket filled with these crusty shapes, they inevitably comment in delight and surprise.

For Thanksgiving, I bake clover leaf rolls using the recipe I got from my Junior High Teacher, who taught at the California School for the Blind. At Christmas, I bake loaves of panettone (a pine nut, and raisin-filled loaf flavored with anise seeds (I received several recipes for this traditional Christmas bread from my cousin whose mother married into an Italian family).

Also, over the years, I have acquired a large number of implements for baking breads and rolls. Of course, I have loaf pans in many sizes and muffin tins for holding dough for rolls. I also own a pan for baking French bread. It contains two long sections for shaping loaves; and each section is covered with small holes. To use this pan, I place a pan of hot water on the bottom oven shelf. The oven’s heat and the hot water combine to create steam, which permeates the holes to create that marvelous crunchy crust. I most recently purchased a Pullman pan; this pan has a cover, and closing this cover while the bread bakes creates a square loaf, perfect for sandwiches, and gives the loaf a very dense, moist interior.

Many years ago, my husband bought me a beautiful, large, hand-made pottery bowl; I use it exclusively for bread dough. And I knead bread on a large silicone mat, a surface which prevents the dough from sticking while I work.

I never tire of reading bread recipes and blogs or of trying a new recipe or one that has its roots in another culture. The old-fashioned process of baking yeast breads has filled many delightful hours, and the results have enabled me to share not only with family, but with neighbors and friends. Anyone planning a bake sale?

Yeast Rolls (Refrigerator)

This is the recipe that my Home Ec. teacher in Junior High gave each student to use for making sweet rolls. I bake rolls for Thanksgiving using this basic dough. You can skip the step for refrigerating the dough if you wish to bake rolls immediately.

1 Pkg. dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup shortening or butter
1 cup scalded milk
1/2 Tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
about 4 cups sifted flour

Sift flour. Soften yeast in warm water. Add shortening to milk and cool milk. Beat egg and add sugar, cool milk mixture, and yeast water mixture. Stir in salt and enough flour to make a stiff enough dough to knead. Knead dough about 10 minutes until silky and pliable. Set in greased bowl turning dough to grease top. Let dough rise until double in size. Punch dough down and place in refrigerator. (Dough will keep about a week). Remove from refrigerator and shape. Let rise. Bake in 400 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Remembering Ida Johnson

By Jan Santos, General Manager

Ida was my dear friend and my co-worker. She was a core participant and hard worker in our Center for nearly twenty years, and deserves to be recognized for her dedication and significant contributions. She was Administrative Assistant for EBCB, Treasurer, board member, and did anything and everything she felt would benefit the Center. Ida loved the people and what EBCB means to our community. She went far beyond what her job duties required: She read for us when we showed up, unexpected, with mail or papers, interrupting her work. She gave sighted and any other help without hesitation when needed.

Ida was a crackerjack seller of raffle tickets and other fundraising ventures. She loved Tupperware, and collected it in abundance, sometimes bringing it for us to sell to help raise money.

Ida cheered us with her sense of humor, jokes, and her hearty, wonderful laugh.

While working together, and then during her long illness, Ida and I developed a very special bond. We laughed our way through solving the everyday problems of our work (both little and not so little). Something had to be pretty bad for us not to be able to laugh about it, at least when it was over. We’d shop together, with her reading the items to me, and me helping her reach them as she became more disabled and unable to reach high shelves. I helped her order her groceries online from Safeway. She helped me pick out clothes from the catalogs she loved, such as Roaman’s and others. (While she was ill in the last months, we’d look at the catalogs, with her picking out things for both of us, and then with me placing the order.)

We became even closer as she became more unwell, with a deep sharing of memories, feelings and thoughts both painful and joyous. Ida never lost her sense of humor right up until her passing. Ida made her way into my heart in many significant ways. I have no doubt she’ll be with me for the rest of my life. I’m glad for whatever ways I may have eased her way in her end-of-life journey, and I enjoyed my time with her as she was leaving us, in spite of it also being very painful to witness her losses. We came to refer to each other as sisters over time, and Ida, I thank you for that. I miss you very much. I like to think you’re reunited with your husband Clint and all the others you love and who return your love. You are a part of me, and you’ll be in my heart for the rest of my life.

In Memory of Ida Johnson

By Steve Fort

I met Ida in July 1983 one afternoon when evaluating the Oakland City Hall vending stand located on the first floor lobby. I noticed she was on the phone placing an order with the dairy company. Very efficient, I thought.

Ida was having to work full time which, in her case, was an eleven hour day. Hours of operation were 7 AM until 5:15 PM. She planned to leave two weeks after the new vendor took over. I was awarded the location a few days before Monday, August first, my first day of management.

After modifying Ida’s work schedule so she could work from 11 AM until 5:30 PM, and negotiating a modest raise in salary with vacation days added, Ida agreed to continue working for me. I knew then that was one of the best business decisions I had made. On November 22nd, less than four months later I stepped over the edge of the Powell Street BART platform, breaking my left arm. Ida was back working full time for two months without complaint.

Over the next few years Ida introduced me to family members and friends, many of whom were Bay View Chapter (California Council of the Blind) members. Ida recruited me to join the Bay View Chapter in 1985, successfully proposing me for membership.

I came to know Ida as morally upright and outgoing, having a genuine concern for others, many of them confiding in her with their innermost feelings and concerns. She had a way of drawing people out somehow, knowing their secrets were safe. She was intensively private and highly respected the privacy of others, especially with regard to confidential information. We shared a mutual regard for privacy, and she came to know me over the course of 33 years like a book.

There was her way with words and sense of humor. One day we were at a friend’s apartment listening to his stereo, and the following Monday at work I said without thinking, “He has good equipment.” Ida began to laugh uproariously. Realizing how my comment sounded I quickly added, “Stereo, Ida, stereo!!!”

Ida loved to read books, especially those with romantic intrigue. I got to know Ida’s husband Clint very well and could tell immediately how happy they were. They liked oldies music, especially classic country and western. Once, a friend remarked how happy they were and that they held hands as they approached the East Bay Center for the Blind.

Clint and Ida renewed their wedding vows in the Catholic Church in July 1992, and I was privileged to be invited. Not given to sermonizing, we hardly talked religion.

What I came to love and respect about Ida was her ability to understand all sides of a situation and assure each person how completely she understood their point of view, often without taking sides. Ida was truly level-headed and incredibly observant. We often went clothes shopping, and I received compliments as to how well they looked on me. At a Bay View Chapter meeting two years ago, on March 8th, the day of Ida’s 74th birthday, Al Gil commended Ida on the many years of service and dedication she devoted to the blind community. I was overjoyed to hear Al, someone who would know, say that on that occasion. We clapped and sang Happy Birthday. I ran into Al later that year at a CCB Conference and Convention and expressed my gratitude for what he had said, and recounted that during the year following the quake of 1989, Ida worked for me before I could get another location, knowing I couldn’t pay her in the meantime. Al replied, “You couldn’t get your kids to do that.” We laughed.

Remembering Connie Gil

By Connie Skeen, Recording Secretary

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of yet another member of our EBCB family, Connie Gil, on August 6th, just shortly before her 71st birthday. She was born and raised in Southern California and moved to the Bay Area in the early 1980s. Connie and Al Gil hold a special place in our hearts because they exchanged their wedding vows right here at EBCB in 1990.

Connie was very active in the blind community, advocating for the rights of blind people and didn’t hesitate to speak her mind when she felt there was a need to do so.

She was employed as a telephone relay operator for several years and also worked as a switchboard operator at Sears Oakland.

Connie was an avid Oakland A’s fan, attending as many games as she and Al could manage, bringing with them their special cow bell which they rang enthusiastically whenever her team scored. She loved old time radio and attended old time radio conventions frequently.

Connie was blessed with a beautiful alto voice and loved to sing all types of music including choral, country, soul and pop.

She had a generous, indomitable spirit despite her illness, never giving up until the end, even attending the 2016 ACB National Convention in Minnesota this summer.

I will miss her incredible wit and wonderful sense of humor. Rest in Peace, Connie — you’re singing with the angels now!

In Memoriam: Connie Gil

By Daveed Mandell

It was a very sad day last July when Connie Gil passed away; just a few months after her husband Al did the same. How wonderful it was that she was able to attend her last American Council of the Blind National Convention in Minneapolis right before she left us!

Despite years of suffering, Connie’s zest for life never ebbed. When she was able Connie took advantage of every opportunity afforded her to have fun and enjoy herself. During the past two years she attended and fully participated in several classes and events at the Center. Her courage, determination and steadfastness were phenomenal and exemplary. Would that we all could face adversity with such a positive approach!

Connie always spoke her mind. She expressed herself honestly and frankly. At the same time Connie exuded a great deal of warmth and compassion for those people who found themselves in even more difficult circumstances than hers.

We will miss Connie’s energy, enthusiasm, generosity and spirit.

Center Class Schedule

For more information call 510-843-6935.

Ceramics: Tuesdays, 10 AM-1 PM. Instructor: Amy Allen.

Exercise and Movement: Tuesdays, 2:00-3:30 PM. Instructor: Kathleen Davis.

Acupuncture Sessions: 1st Wednesday in November and December, 9:30 to 11:30 AM. Acupuncturists: Anh Nguyen and Rob DuBois. (Please sign up with Jan no later than a week before the sessions.)

Memory Support Class: Thursdays, 10 AM-noon. Instructor: Carol Kehoe.

Bingo: First Thursday of each month, 1 PM to 3 PM. Caller: Marilyn Bogerd.

Music Appreciation: Fridays, 1-3 PM. Instructor: Diana Perry.

Vision Loss Support Group: 2nd and 4th Fridays of each month, 10 AM-noon. Facilitators: Carrie Carter and Patty Overland.

Braille: Please call the Center with questions or for more information. Instructor: Patty Nash.

Technology: Please call the Center with questions or for more information. Senior Instructor: Leah Gardner. Assistant Instructor: Patty Nash.

iPhone Workshop: 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month from 1 PM to 2:30 PM. (Please call instructor Leah Gardner with questions or for more information.)

Book Club: 1st Friday of each month from 10 AM to 11 AM. Moderators: Dorothy Donaville and Patricia Nash.

Writing Club: 3rd Friday of each month from 10 AM to 11 AM. Moderators: Dorothy Donaville and Patricia Nash.

Mission Statement

The mission of the East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., is to develop quality programs and services for blind and visually impaired people by providing a safe and supportive environment, while encouraging one another through leadership, interaction and the sharing of information, resources and skills. The Center’s activities enhance independence, dignity and self-determination. As a self-governing organization of primarily blind and visually impaired persons, The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., is committed to remaining a living, working foundation of strength, as we participate in the larger community in all areas of our daily lives.

Center Officers and Directors

General Manager: Jan Santos
President: Dorothy Donaville
First Vice-President: Leah Gardner
Second Vice-President: Larry Wolf
Recording Secretary: Connie Skeen
Corresponding Secretary: Daveed Mandell
Treasurer: Doyle Saylor
Directors: Mike Castner; Claude Everett;
Marie Jenkins; Ray Marcus; Louise Wolf


If you or a friend would like to remember The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., in your will, you can do so by employing the following language: “I give, devise, and bequeath unto The East Bay center for the Blind, Inc., a nonprofit charitable organization in California, the sum of $___ (or ___were to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons.” Thank you for your tax-deductible donation.


“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”   — Carol Burnett


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