Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches Illuminations Newsletter

Volume 15, Issue 2: December, 2015

Happy Holidays and New Year!

To view the Illuminations Newsletter with full color and images, please open the Illuminations Volume 15 Issue 2 PDF version. If you prefer to read the text only version, continue reading below. If you would like to request a braille or print copy of the newsletter, please contact the Lighthouse at 561-586-5600.


Boot Up Club and Book Club Holiday Potluck

The Lighthouse Boot Up Club Computer Club and Book Club have a holiday tradition of joining together for a potluck feast in November. Members brought in a variety of scrumptious foods and desserts. Pictured in PDF version: Members enjoying the potluck feast.


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In this issue:

Boot Up Club and Book Club Holiday Potluck, Page 1

Table of Contents, Page 2

Rehab 101: Unified English Braille (UEB), Page 3

A Poem by Donitta Taylor and Lighthouse 70th Anniversary, Page 4

Highlights from Focus Group, Page 5

Accessible Voting Machine and Music for the Mind, Page 6

Lake Worth Lions Club Donates Computer, Page 7

Florida Reading and Vision Presentation, Page 8

Book Club Update, Page 8

Lighthouse Staff Gift Giving, Page 9

Veteran Administration Staff Donate Gifts to Participants, Page 9

FAASB Lobbies for Children's Services, Page 10

Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA 2016), Page 10

Children's Holiday Party 2015, Page 11

iPhone Class Attends Descriptive Audio Movie, Page 12

Freedom Scientific Event on January 22nd, Page 13

Pictured in PDF version: (Left) Tony, receiving instruction to learn how to use an iPhone with a braille display with features for people who are deaf-blind. (Right) Murray, receiving keyboarding and computer instruction.


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Rehab 101

Do you have independent living skills questions? Our Vision Rehabilitation Therapists; Diane, Genie and Amanda (Pictured in PDF Version from left to right) are ready to provide answers. We encourage Illumination readers to submit questions by email, phone or mail.  We will respond to your questions in our newsletter. We will provide advice to you about adaptations, aids and appliances, as well as creative and innovative solutions for daily living. Please send questions to:


Unified English Braille

The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) has adopted Unified English Braille (UEB) to replace English Braille American Edition in the United States effective January 4, 2016. For information, please visit:  BANA Implementation of UEB. If you are using braille for your own notes or to label items, there really is no need for you to learn UEB. However, if you read any kind of braille books, menus, bills, etc., you will need to know UEB in order to read the new braille. If you know braille, here are two websites to help you with the transition to UEB: BANA UEB Overview of Changes and Perkins School for the Blind information on UEB.  Also, The Hadley School for the Blind has a course, "Transition to UEB" available through the mail or email: Hadley Course for Transition to UEB. For our students who are currently receiving braille instruction at the Lighthouse, you will receive lessons in UEB. If there are any questions feel free to call Amanda or email her at


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A Poem Shared by Donitta Taylor

A secret collection
Random memories
They hide just out of reach
Layers of thoughts
Emotions churned
Taking refuge in things I’d forgot
The truth is preserved
Dwelling in the shadows
Somewhere unknown
Protected by what’s reserved
Not really forgotten
Yet tucked away
In a different realm
A different lifetime
In the many that we live
A secret collection

One by one
Each life tucked away
Waiting for resurrection
Until unconsciously
I recollect them
Bringing them to life
Intimate closeness
Suffocating stillness
Allowing them to manifest
Scenarios played out
Haunted by their release
Sifting through the wreckage
Trying to find peace

Where everything means something
And some things will never end
Only grasping them momentarily
To remind us of the shortness of time


Lighthouse 70th Anniversary

Save the date for the Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches' 70th Anniversary on March 1, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Royal Poinciana Chapel. Musical guest David Crohan will entertain as we celebrate 70 years of lighting the way for people with visual impairments. For more information, tickets, or sponsorship opportunities please contact:   

Julie Katzenberg at or (561) 586-5600, ext. 3248.


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Highlights from Focus Group

The Focus Group is a social club for adult participants that meets once a month at the Lighthouse. On November 6, 2015, the Lighthouse Focus Group celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday with a delicious meal prepared and served by Braille Club volunteers.  A great big “Thank You” to all who made the celebration possible. The celebration continued at the Lighthouse on December 4, 2015. Focus Group participants were entertained with holiday music and games followed by a hot lunch. Best wishes for a happy holiday to all of our Focus Group participants! Pictured in PDF version: Members of the Braille Club volunteer alongside other Lighthouse volunteers and Rosemary Mulero at the Focus Group Thanksgiving holiday feast. 


Upcoming Focus Group Meetings:

January, 2016: No Focus Group in January

February 5, 2016: Gulfstream Goodwill Industries’ Safety Department will review emergency procedures and exits and will address safety concerns.

March 4, 2016: Mark Shalloway is an elder law attorney who will present information on Medicaid home care services and veterans’ benefits.

April 1, 2016: Information on the Non-24-Hour Sleep Wake Disorder.


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Accessible Voting Machine Presentation

The guest speaker for the 11/6/15 Focus Group  was Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, who discussed the upcoming election year and accessible voting booth. The accessible voting booth has audio instructions and large, colored buttons to make voting accessible for voters who are blind and visually impaired. The Lighthouse was loaned one of the accessible voting booths so that we can orient clients prior to the elections, so that they are ready and able to vote independently when it is election time.


Music for the Mind (Save the Date)

The 5th annual Music for the Mind concert will be held at the Harriet Himmel Theater in West Palm Beach, FL on March 15, 2016. This concert will feature David Crohan, a concert pianist who has been blind since birth. All proceeds will benefit the Lighthouse’s LITE Club (Learning Independence through Experience). LITE Club offers year-round activities for children who are blind or visually impaired.


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Lake Worth Lions Club Donates Computer

The Lake Worth Lions Club donated the funds for Stephanie Rivera, a Lighthouse student, to purchase a new computer. A big thank you to the Division of Blind Services, who purchased the assistive technology (CDesk with Peggy) and to the Lake Worth Lions Club, who purchased the computer. Together, the Lake Worth Lions Club and the Division of Blind Services made it possible for Stephanie to receive a full computer system that integrated this software into a Surface Pro 3 computer. Stephanie and her instructor, Rachael Sessler Trinkowsky, presented to the Lake Worth Lions Club on November 17th to demonstrate how this menu driven software works to combine magnification, screen reading, and voice recognition technologies. Pictured (in PDF version) from left to right: Linda Caruso (Lake Worth Lions Club Treasurer), Stephanie Rivera, Andrea Thomas (Lake Worth Lions Club President) and Nichole Chapman (Lake Worth Lions Club Lion Tamer).


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Florida Reading and Vision, Inc. Presentation

Save the date! Florida Reading and Vision will be presenting at the Lighthouse on March 18, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to noon. They will be sharing information on some of the latest technologies for people with visual impairments. Please RSVP to


Book Club Update from Diane Salina

We are excited that the Lighthouse Book Club has expanded to include participants of the Blind Café. This is an opportunity for readers to join us via computer from wherever they may be…around the corner or around the world. We connect from a website using a microphone, so we can hear them and they can hear us. We continue to meet the third Friday of each month at the Lighthouse from noon to 1 p.m.


On December 18th, we discussed “Silent Night” by Robert Parker.  You can call the Lighthouse to find out the next selection and you are welcome to come, even if you haven’t read the book.  All of the books are available from the Talking Book Library and most of them are downloadable using BARD. Books range from current best sellers to classics, fiction and non-fiction, long and short, basically anything the group wants to read.  Join in and Happy Reading! For more information, please contact the Lighthouse. 

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Lighthouse Staff Gift Giving

Our Palm Beach Post Season to Share nominee, Murray, has not had a functioning kitchen in quite some time and has been temporarily displaced from her home. In lieu of an employee gift exchange, our staff decided to celebrate the season’s spirit of giving and gave gifts to Murray that they paid for out of their own pockets. Thank you, Lighthouse staff, for your generosity! Pictured in PDF version: Murray unwrapping presents and standing with Lighthouse staff members (Left to Right: Anne Hatton, Rosemary Mulero, Ayisha Herd, Murray, Mark Gracey, and Mary Allen), Murray opening a gift basket with laundry items.     


Veteran Administration Staff Donate Gifts to Participants

We would like to send a huge thank you to the Blind Rehab staff at our local West Palm Beach VA Medical Center. The staff generously donated gifts to the families of two Lighthouse participants with a parent who is blind. Thank you for making the holidays special for these two families! Pictured in PDF version, Caren from the VA holds one of the donated gifts.


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Mary Allen Joins FAASB to Lobby for Children's Services

In December, Mary Allen, Director of Vision Services, joined professional leaders, their community supporters, families and children representing the Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind (FAASB) to encourage a $3 million legislative appropriation in support of children's services at the community level, so school-aged children with visual impairments can have access to quality opportunities. Pictured in PDF version: Mary Allen with FAASB, lobbying in Tallahassee to encourage legislative support for children's services.


Rachael Sessler Trinkowsky, Ph.D. Presenting at ATIA 2016

Rachael will be speaking at the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA 2016), February 3-6, 2016 in Orlando, FL. The sessions will include Remote Assistive Technology Training for People with Visual Impairments on Saturday, February 6th at 8:00 a.m. and Accessibility Awareness Among Faculty in Online Learning Environments on Friday, February 5th at 1:00 p.m. For information, please visit the ATIA 2016 Information Page or ATIA Registration Page. Can't afford to attend the conference? You can obtain free passes for the Exhibit Hall! Contact for details.


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Children's Holiday Party 2015

Our annual Children's Holiday Party was held on December 5th with approximately 100 people in attendance. There was a luncheon and a visit from Santa with gifts for all of the children. There were many fun activities that our Transition students created and implemented, including audible relay races, arts and crafts, decorating a snowman, etc. Thank you to the Palm Beach Board of Realtors for making this event possible. Thank you also to Regent Bank, Dailey Janssen Architects, Mr. Kris Kritikos, the West Palm Beach Lions Club, Donte' Mickens, and the Division of Blind Services. Pictured in PDF version: Group photo of the Children's Holiday Party and three participants receiving presents from Santa.


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iPhone Class Attends Descriptive Audio Movie

by Anne Hatton

The Talking Books Library Annex of Lake Worth invited their patrons to be their guests for an exclusive showing of the Suffragette with descriptive audio at the Cinemark 20 in Boca Raton on Thursday, November 19, 2015. A movie containing descriptive audio has narration in audio to describe scenes to viewers with visual impairments. The narration flows smoothly between the lines being spoken by the actors. This is also called descriptive narration.


Assistive technology instructors, Anne Hatton and Mark Gracey, met their students from their advanced iPhone group class for a “field trip” to see the movie. For some of us, this was our first experience of an audio descriptive movie. Everyone was wowed by the experience. The movie was more meaningful when you could catch the hidden emotion and expressions that people with visual impairments cannot see. We came away with such an appreciation of fully enjoying a movie.


Pictured from left to right in PDF version: Ethel Barrios, Mark Gracey, Anne Hatton, Genny Greene and Robert Fitzpatrick.


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There are three different platforms to make movies accessible. They are closed captioning, assisted listening and descriptive narration. Descriptive narration assists people who are blind or visually impaired enjoy the movie to its fullest. The following three theaters in Palm Beach County provide movies with descriptive narration. Simply call one of these theaters and give them the title of the movie. Be sure to ask if it has descriptive narration.


  1. Cinemark 20, Boca Raton: 561-395-4695
  2. Cinemark 20, Boynton Beach: 561-752-9797
  3. Regal 16, Royal Palm Beach: 844-462-7342 Extension# 207


For those of you in our northern counties or in Palm Beach, we encourage you to let us know if you find other movie theaters that have descriptive narration available, so we can keep this list up to date.


Freedom Scientific Event

Freedom Scientific will be presenting at the Lighthouse on Friday, January 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. They will be demonstrating new features in JAWS 16 and 17, the Focus braille displays with JAWS, the use of Windows based tablet computers, MAGic screen magnification software, and hardware magnification products. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP by calling the Lighthouse at 561-586-5600 or sending an email to      

Illuminations, a publication from the Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches, is edited by Rachael Sessler Trinkowsky, Ph.D. and Mary Allen.


Please consider making a donation to the Lighthouse.

For information, please contact us at 561-586-5600,,

or go to


In partnership with the Florida Division of Blind Services. DBS Logo pictured in PDF version.