Sunday, December 4th


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Good morning and welcome to another edition of living veteran San Diego public service presentation of Vienna comes San Diego radio stations and Garry lake. The braille institute San Diego there's a nonprofit organization offering a variety of programs classes and services for the blind. And others dealing with sight loss through their programs and services they provide an environment of hope. And encouragement. Joining us this morning at Baylor institute San Diego executive director. Thank you good morning good morning you're in good morning to the both of you nice to have you on the show this morning Jake. Let's start with some background information about the braille institute night there are many. Rail institutes around the country aren't there well oddly enough braille institute of America is our name but we're located just in Southern California. We have five senators that make up braille institute of America or in Santa Barbara. Anaheim. Rancho Mirage San Diego and our headquarters is in Los Angeles and we just opened a community center in Laguna Hills. So five senators plus one community center. Tennis in Southern California and how long does the San Diego office been open we've been in San Diego physically with the senator since 1993. Providing services although we've been providing library services for San Diego resident since the 1930s. And end your services are not just for people that are blind right it's for people with low vision here so we we have the whole gamut of vision loss from those that have. What we call high partial. Low vision. That would be people that where it's difficult to read newspaper print they might need some magnification to help breed. Those that have total blindness so it's it's the whole spectrum of classes and and and cyclops. In what is what is the mission and it braille institute with a mission a braille institute is to eliminate the barriers to a fulfilling life caused by blindness or severe sight loss. So really to help people become as independent as they can. And he had San Diego office was located. We're located at 4555. Executive drive we're right in the UTC area row right next to PF chains and embassy suites across from the UTC mall OK I know exactly where that it can you haven't always been happy. We started yeah our physical location when we first started in 93 we leased a building space just directly across the street also on executive drive that we've built our senator. And moved in there in 1999. So we've been in our present facility. Since 1999. OK but still the same area until he gets is an area to see yeah and how long you've been without a braille institute here I've been with braille institute now I am happy to say because I've really enjoyed working with this wonderful organization for 26 years now. But not always says set executive director not always as executive director this is my fifth position with braille institute I started as an assistant director at our center in Rancho Mirage and became the executive director there. Half for a number of years then decided to get my family out of that desert heat then moved to San Diego and became the assistant regional director. And then I was our director of philanthropy for a number of years and then just this January. Became the executive director of the San Diego center and what was it about the braille institute did that major wanna work for them. You know it's a magical place and I'm sure Freddie can attest to that I am often heard. People say to me I'll must be so depressing all those poor blind people like this and the and just the opposite it's an uplifting. Uplifting place everyone is there was joy they're learning new things it's just just to senator where great things happen. Not a relative to Dennis it it's kind of like a school. It is a school so we've got a variety of classes to help people adjust to their site loss. We have services for people who are just losing their site. Magnification lighting. Appointments where they can. Maximize a vision that they have we have classes and orientation and mobility to help people get around safely with their site lost. How to use public transportation. How to get to and from places how to navigate gross restorers their homes. Their neighborhoods. Just a variety of different things and you're open to all ages we are open all ages so we've got programs basically from birth to death. We have our child development classes. That work with young babies and newborns. We have we work with families give them some resources went there with their children. We have youth program we have a young adult program and then we have our adult programs I think our youngest student now and our Bruins who program. I wanna say as three months old and I think one of our oldest library patron right at the moment is a 104 years old Phillies the whole gamut. Yeah definitely. And I and a lot of talk about those programs in and mourn in detail here and sure just a few but you just mentioned your library to a Mets say is that I like and and award winning library it is an award winning library so we are we provide talking books for the visually impaired. The physically disabled in the reading disabled. And our founder. 1930s. And word the only private entities that distributes those books in the United States. So for instance if you lived up in Sacramento or northern California you'd be getting your library books talking books from the state library system and if you lived in any other state you would be getting that from that State's library system. We are the only private entity Braylon stated that provides a talking books and we provide them free of charge for everyone in Southern California. And we did get a small stipend from the government. State government about 3% of our funding. Comes to help. Help us provide those library services it doesn't pay for all of it the rest of our founding in all the 97%. As all from private donations so. All of our services are free of charge and and funded primarily from private donations and more most grateful for that. And year adult services this this isn't a big part of big corps. Of of fun Brownstein DSL a lot of our a lot of our folks that come to us we get a lot of older adults that. Have different I conditions age related Mac killer degeneration is still the leading. Cause of blindness of the students that we see at our senators typically that's taken away a person's central vision they have some spots of peripheral vision. The good news with age related immaculate degeneration is typically you do not lose all of your site you'll have some. Vision. Areas but it you cannot drive it's it's difficult to to read and write so we have some devices and some. Skills that we help people with that. And and you have a variety of classes yeah I can live I kind of it's like a specialized. Activities centered so we've got classes. For our our daily living skills to help people do cooking and to organize. And to. Do home management we've got some fun classes we've got art classes that are very popular. We've got dance classes we've got gardening classes we've got discussion classes we talk about politics religion all of the all of the Dicey subjects out there and you can imagine we had a lot of lively discussions these last celery Iran's test FF event we also have a very very vibrant computer area where we're teaching adaptive computer. Software. That enlarges print talking software. We're doing things with iphones and ipads a lot of the apps now really make. Life easier for people with compromised vision. Even for people with vision and the Smartphone is making us dumber I think bad but thankfully it's there I used the phone to get here today with our GPS and Freddie is on his phone and created this is yeah it's a wonderful thing studies classes a day for. Both blind and those with them other vision impairments yes yes so typically how a student would and we call them students when they come to classes we call them students typically when a person wants to become a student they might get a referral from their ophthalmologist. Out from colleges may say you know that's. The best I can do for you but here's a resource braille institute they can can help you with some of the vision that you have. So that person would call us. Set up an intake interview and we can get some information on what their needs are there specific needs what their site Los issues are. And then leave and develop a track of programming for them. So a person may want to do just one thing they may wanna learn just how to cook. They may wanna learn just how to use a computer. They may wanna just come in and have fun and may one and you know we've got students that come in their eighty's and ninety's it has had site most of their life and they just one have a discussion class. They met wanna do art. Some people have come in and never den ark before and have produced amazing artwork. Because they never really thought they were artists that now that they've lost their site they're doing these beautiful pieces of art tackle art. We do paint team we do sculpture so a lot of different things out there just to help people. In are really with their self esteem and and do what they wanna do. And there's no cost for any of your services right now all of the great thing about braille institute since our founding back in 1919 is all of our services are free of charge and again we do not give any government support except for that small 3% for our library programs so. We're very proud that we've been able to. Grow our programs and expand our programs and we provide services for thousands of people throughout Southern California. Now you are I'm not mistaken you're you're gonna be offering. Here in the near future of music computer classes right yeah so that's kind of exciting. There's a lot of advances with a different apps and computers. But 11 thing that and probably a lot of your listeners would know this that are musicians there's garage band and other types of software where you can. Record didn't do your own music from your computer so. Our access computer specialist is going to be offering some music classes. Not classes per save that those that are already musically. Inclined can come in and record some tracks induce them. Do some fun things in computer studio and when is this gonna be up and running. We're we're just getting everything. The studio back up and running we hope to have it in the new year so we're gonna start doing some things in January. As some special workshops and then probably have some ongoing classes as well either early in the year or or by spring. OK so now somebody. Listening this morning. What what is that next step if if they're not going through their ophthalmologist or anything like that what will be the next step for them if if they needed to or wanted to take part. In some of the programs and braille institute OK that I get. So first step probably would be to give us a call and our phone number is 8584521111. And they can say that they are interested in classes perhaps maybe there interest today and as signing up for our library program also free. Maybe their interest and indeed in the low vision appointment may be they have. They have enough vision to do things around the house but maybe it's difficult to reader to see you fine print. So they can call and make a low vision appointment with our low vision specialist. Maybe it's apparent that wants to get their child involved in some programs so just calling that number they would let. Receptionists know what they're looking to do and we would kind of steered them into this specific program at their interest to him. Now Freddie you Gloria. A student and volunteer teacher and yeah prostitute right. Oh yes how long you've been now working at the for a prostitute for five years I started in April of 200911. Started as a student or we used a volunteer teacher at that time well I started as a student in the morning in the history classes I was taking. The teacher was retiring in one of the students and only used to be a teacher of history can take over a class. If I didn't know how easy would be there to. Teach you thought the world I could do it that they do have a little more thank them when I have Malcolm I'm totally blind mount. And from there I have taught history classes for two years and then I've come with my own nonprofit comparative religion class. I'm not doing me down fitness and nutrition class all over again in the new year. And I did some writing class with the flow with the this book my line graph people will repeat the paper and you teach people how to write how to move over how to. But the paper clip on the line to go out to the next line in right. Thought I've taught quite a few classes out there and and when you first went to the braille institute you're a student goes so what what was some of the classes you're taking. Welch who reluctantly out of drills because. I want to read since I am I was losing fight. And it's a computer class of with the talking to our schools I thought both going back to work. And I want to learn how to work on the computer and I took typing class of and cooking and I'm home management. As well as clothing learning how to and clothing of the blind person. The do's and don't the only concern when time to know. That you've got to follow it through access path and direction so that you weren't you were born. Blindness is something McCain came about over the years yes my doctors say that I can't. Cataract when I really have glaucoma. From a high pressure went up to eighty and cost my redness to detach. Then diabetes came made it to the rest and I've formed Maclin degeneration. Where I can my JC thieves from peripheral at times. With the lighting is good but mostly just start so look what is what has that the braille institute. Now what are what does it mean to use. To have been able to use these services well. I do love it church now with Ruth to some of the tricks of the trade with the reading and writing. But if it's the place where if socialized would like peers. And we find out that our lives have more meaning than we thought it had because a lot of us thought we would just. In the been cornered at home in just liberals walk out the door. But we look forward to come into the room institute to foolish alas that breakfast and lunch time. They go to class them. Fun lively classes begin to discuss things or. Depending on the type of class it is what are the student oriented or if his teacher driven. So there's a lot of dialogue that goes along in each class. And without it we would be lost so it's it's it's had a major impact on UN and others oh yes. And there have been a lot of people who. Who have come and gone but we keep in touch they come back for. Sufficiently advanced and sometimes they start all over again and just come. Because they thought that they've learned how they've needed to learn in fifth homer in the defiant among the need to get back control. They come back and we embraced him and start all over again. That's great now we talked about adult services but you have other services. For different age groups as well you have. Services. For young adults with what kind of services you have to go for young adults. We knew we'd like to do special events for young adults where they can go out and do some different activities we do trips to museums and we we can see what they want to do. We'll do some dining experiences with them. I just kind of seeing what's out there I'll go back to a little bit with Freddie was just saying with. What the braille institute also becomes as a giants support group amongst its students and we've got wonderful staff and volunteers have worked there for sure. But the students themselves are just they get so much resource information. Just from sharing their own trials and tribulations with each other. And we're learning continually from the students as well so again a lot of information is being passed and being shared and and I just a great venue for them so our our child development program I mentioned earlier. That's another. Another key area when a child is born blind. The parents really don't know where to go where to turn in their lives so we get those calls them those are tough ones there child. Is born with blindness and then. That parents just don't know what to do so we've again we have a good support group of other families that are going through the same thing that have children that were born blind. And this network emerges to help the new parents with the newly blinded child to give them the resources that they need. Very very powerful again just. This support group essence of of the things that we do. Freddy what was it what was it like for you and when you found out that that you were losing your site Powell. Hitler scary for wind him I could give up my Mercedes being fed to them. You can depend on other people to drive. And that's the scary thing when they hit the break figure of the what's cool about it. And you know it I don't wanna fell into a deep depression but I did get kind of depressed because. I could see my Damaso riposte is that you work and pull a movie off the shelf anymore. I live alone and I have no idea as to when I was going to do in. When I was told about the braille institute I've learned how to read real Mac can put. With a braille writer. Things on my CD's in my dvds so I can feel and know what I'm getting now so it made life for just a little bit more easier. Now. We talked about how people can. Get a hold of view if there in arrested in that the braille institute you have an event coming up. That is the perfect opportunity asks yeah people to find out what it is that you do and that's you're a holiday open house awards ceremony this coming up what December 14 Castano Wednesday December 14 and this year we've done something a little different. Typically when we've had an open house we've had a during a may be a two hour block. Where people would come in and and see the sender and we've ever. A ceremony. This year we decided to extend that the whole day realizing that people have different schedules so the timing of the event this year is from 10 AM to 6 PM. So allowing for those that does that work might think they might be able come for the later part and see some of the things that we have going on there. We're gonna have. Jurors were going to be featuring some of the classes that we offer. We're doing a series of demonstrations. For instance we're gonna do a demonstration. And technology. From low tide high tech technology. One will be featuring a radio array of gizmos and gadgets from liquid level indicators to portable video magnify Ayers. We're also going to be doing some demos on Smartphone apps demonstrations some of the things at the Smartphone can do. Because we all know what the Smartphone can do for the sighted folks but there's a lot of special apps on there. That really make life easier for those with compromised vision as well so we're going to be doing some demonstrations on mapped. We're going to be talking about some of the different ice conditions out there and some of the the assisted devices that we. Might be able to help people where. We're gonna have our orientation and mobility specialists kind of doing some experiences. On how to navigate different areas we're going to be sharing some of the transportation. Resources out there. As Freddie mentioned when he lost the ability to drive his car. You have to rely on others to drive and there's a lot of public transportation. MTS and lift some parent champs that. Offerings that are available to people also now with Cooper in left and who knows before long maybe the self driving car maybe you'll get a self driving Mercedes they go. FFS on the look forward to right right and don't forget we'll also have people that are in the art class from craft they're going to be filling their merchandise at Booth. Yes we'll have a lot of goodies available for people to come get some holiday gifts will also have. Adaptive stored there with a lot of specialized products. To help people. Live more independently so they'll be selling. Talking watches and talking clocks and liquid indicators and all sorts of fun things to help people with low vision itself we're hoping it's going to be just a wonderful day. We do have I know fifteen buses coming from senior care. Living facilities that are bringing fifteen buses of people down to Tennessee air resources self. If you're planning to come in the morning from ten to noon that's gonna probably be our busiest I might suggest coming after. Like from twelve bond because of the bustle will be leaving and buy them and we'll have more parking spots. And and it's free right yet it is free so everything is free we're gonna have some. Some refreshments we have got the center all decorated in Holland the spirits and just to highlight. One of the things about Braylon see it we're we're kind of one of the best kept secrets out there and we're really don't want to be we want people who know what we do. Even our name a little bit. Is misleading because you hear braille institute in you might think are viewed they teach braille I write and I'm not to the point right need to learn braille. The truth is about 5% of our students take braille the other 95%. Are taking art classes in dance classes and instruction and in many different areas so. The braille institute named. Helps us with name recognition that. Penders is sometimes when people think that's all we do is the braille dot I think that's a misconception out it was for me yeah. Until I've I've read up a little bit more about you guys is what you do. As you do so much more than then just spread out now are you aren't you have during this open house you are gonna have a bit of a braille demonstrations you aren't you. Yes so we're gonna have our our braille instructor will be doing some demonstrations and be trailing some name tags and and showing people there's there's a method to the madness of those those funny little dots and when you when you see them or feel than you think lower house a person ever learn that then. Freddie could probably attest to that when you first saw those thoughts I mean. How do you learn a bit that there is a method to the madness and it's pretty easy to learn once you once you need to learn right. Once you get the concept down and so would make a through the first ten letters. In the name that connects to and then the last fixed feature OK now they idealist that together feeling it and realizing whether it is. And having to call out the word to be here for the by the time you get to the next where you remember what the first word is but it's easy once you know the the rhythm of the they take you long to Lowell yes they did did did come out fighting it every step of the way so I had to learn of the way I have fight. I could just easily look at it in and just figuring out when I had that feeling it with both fight and concentrate on what I was feeling. Then it it became difficult but the concept. Is so easy I don't wanna spoil it for anybody that's coming for. But what they did it oh my gosh you have. And even with all the technology out there of people might assemble why do I need to learn braille dots with all the talking devices and things but if that person is born blind. And does not burn regular reading and writing. Braille is their only form of literacy even with all the talking devices you can have people talk do you but if you don't learn that. That means of writing or reading yourself then you're you're functionally illiterate so braille is still very very important. We have a national braille challenge every year that we host in Los Angeles. For our young kids and it's like it's almost like a braille spelling bee there's a series. Contests and and things that they do in braille. And just a wonderful event we hold down to and in July every year and in Los Angeles for all ages of kids in we have participants from all over the US. And Canada coming to that so it's really grown. That's great now that the down the items that are being sold. By idea. Students a prostitute where's the money go from that. Well this is something that they get to keep so they they worked hard to make these things so they get to keep them and I will share that some of our students and donate some of that money back to braille institute so we're always appreciative of them but certainly. That's up to them and I'm glad that we give them this opportunity to have them make a few bucks around the holidays as well it right and it's really some amazing things are so. Anyone that ten dissident coming down even for that just to shop. If you didn't wanna see this or just wanna shout them down terror come down there are open house and we've we'll have them set up in our dining hall. And have a variety of different things available. Again it's Wednesday. December 14 yes and what's the address again 4555. Executive drive in that San Diego. Again right next to PF Chang's Eric cross in the UTC mall. Okay and the times against 10 AM to 6 PM. How can that you are nonprofit organization. And you mentioned some of the students sometimes donate. The money that they make from their items that they sell where else do you get funding yeah we've. Then very fortunate over the years to have them a lot of very loyal and very appreciative donors that have given us. Annual gifts. I have put this in their wills or trusts through B qwest's so the question becomes has been very popular. We also offer charitable gift annuity or person you give us money and then we paid them an annuity for the rest of their life for. Or to life so there's different different ways people can give. With the appreciated stock market a lot of people have these stocks of Dade. As it has really soared in value they could donate. And appreciated stock to nonprofit like ours and they get. We would get the entire amount of that stock gifts and that's another nice gift. Some people and also give us their minimum distributions of their Ira is maybe they realize they don't need that I rate income. And they have to take it anyway so they could donate that to our organization so just a lot of wonderful donors and helped us throughout the years. Grow and allow us to be able to offer all the programs and services that we do. And if somebody wants to donate them they can do that at your website the other can do at our website is WWW. Braille institute dot org. And are you on social media. We are on social media so we we've got our our FaceBook account. Now I'm I'm not that but we aren't but I I've I remember getting there. My my kids and grandkids know more about social media and I do but getting there yes and and you know that the backbone of many nonprofits. It's volunteers yes kind of volunteer opportunities do you do you offer we have a lot of different volunteer opportunities. And since we offer such a variety of different classes. Anyone that has a expertise in a certain area that would like to volunteer they could give us a call and see if see if we have an interest in that type of class we've got. Again a variety of classes will resume that class as we have gardening classes we have bridge classes so. You know if if somebody's a wood worker for instance and wants to come and and volunteer and teach people how to do some woodworking we'd love to see that we've had Woodward can volunteers in the past we don't now. We're always looking for people to help out and our library. To help teach classes. To help with special events will have about eighty volunteers working that are holiday open house and we're very. Thankful for volunteers that kinda helped steer people around and and sign people up for any services that they might need so if they could call that same number and saved if they have any interest in volunteering we'd love to talk to them and and once they come into the facility it is truly a beautiful facility so. It's a nice place to come work and to volunteer and be a student right Freddie. Oh yes that's the study opportunities. Endless endless the end and who knows he Vienna volunteer teacher just like Freddy yeah. They go any final out words advice for somebody in my could this mean this morning that needs some some assistance. I'll start knowledge Freddie finish here I I think that Freddie kind of touched upon two when he lost his sight use a lot of folks they go through these stages of depression and anger and denial and and really don't know where to turn. It's a good idea just to make a call and it is tough sometimes to get somebody to come in. Or to call braille institute sometimes a spouse has to trek. There spouse to get the men there were gonna go out for an outing and once they get in there they say this isn't so bad but it's it's it's careful. I can tell you theirs in their twenty mile radius of braille institute we've got about 35000. Visually impaired people in the area. And we see. Roughly withdrew with our students are library patrons may be 2000 so there's a lot of folks. That could come in and avail themselves of our services. I think once they get there and see what we have to offer it it really. It really will help them make that decision and I could echo what chief because of there's so much life to be lived in the if you come there with here. Peers and socialize the moment there of the things that you can do they admit it's easier to navigate the world. Once you've learned how to do it as a blind person for gulf stay at home. I once again what's what's that phone number 8584521111. I. Any rally institute San Diego. Thank you here appreciate it thank you so much that concludes another edition of living better and San Diego the opinions expressed on living veteran San Diego do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the staff and management. Of the outcome San Diego radio stations episodes of living better in San Diego are available on the station's website. Judd next week when I guess will be from the living coast discoveries ever until that. And Gary later have a great week.