Westchester Council of the Blind of New York

SCHEDULED MEETINGS 2019

SECOND SATURDAY OF EACH MONTH 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

REMAINING 2019 MEETINGS:
SEPTEMBER 14, OCTOBER 12,
NOVEMBER 9,   DECEMBER 14

The Westchester Council of the Blind meets every month in person the second Saturday or by telephone conference. Why not join us?

Please email president@wcbny.org or call 914-355-9930  for more information about specific times, dates and locations of meetings. We would love for you to join us. We welcome persons who are living with vision loss as well as family and friends who want to know more about helping those experiencing vision loss.

Guest Speakers Wanted. If you have a product or relevant topic concerning blind and visually impaired Westchester residents, contact vicepresident@wcbny.org or call 914-393-6605

WCBNY Takes A Bite From Apple
-July 31, 2019

WCBNY chapter took a bite from Apple; Apple training that is. Membership Chair, Martin Cahill asked the Apple Store at the local Westchester Mall what kind of training was available.  The answer was an array of choices for the members. Apple’s IOS still sets the industry bar in smartphone and tablet accessibility. It remains a platform that is inclusive and has deservedly built a strong allegiance among those reliant on the VoiceOver screen reader.

As stated by Cahill, “Smartphones have incredible technology that can help those who are visually impaired and blind/legally blind to keep in touch with the world and actively participate in all that modern-day digital media has to offer. The accessibility classes provided to WCBNY by The Apple Store in White Plains clearly demonstrated that smartphone developers are tuned in to the needs of our community. As technology advances, we can look forward with excitement to the benefits still to come.”

The June to July series of evening lessons included Explore VoiceOver for iPad and also iPhone and Accessibility Features for Vision Loss. Because the members were able to choose from a menu of six classes and select those that fit their need, it was a unique opportunity to learn for the beginner to the advanced user.  Apple was the game changer from the time it was introduced on the iPhone in 2009.

Ten years ago, visually impaired people connected to the world on their phone and tablet, the same as a sighted person. For the first time, they could easily navigate their cell phone by using simple gestures.  It is not an understatement to declare that Apple’s technology started a revolution that resonated in the blind community to this day.  It is difficult to imagine a world without VoiceOver. The healthy turnout of members showed that the Apple classes were a success and were much appreciated.

Annual Picnic Was An Indoor Success
– July 20, 2019

The word PICNIC in red and white. On the bottom a Cartoon drawing of a vanilla ice cream cone melting, watermelon slice and a hot dog on a bun

The annual picnic should have been a disaster.  The meteorologist said 97 degrees but it might have been closer to 197.   Thanks to the quick reaction by Vice President Annie Chiappetta and the very welcoming Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation no one melted on that volcanically hot July Saturday.  The picnic was held indoors in a lovely air-conditioned assembly hall.  Instead of the usual picnic fare only, WCBNY improvised with pizza, appetizers, ice cream and watermelon. Audrey Schading led the games and there was a raffle that netted the chapter almost $40.  The $40 will be set aside for the Sunshine Fund to help comfort a member for a life event such as hospitalization.   Friends and family helped to serve and clean up.  Their hard work, as always was very much appreciated.

All in all, it was a fun event with good food and good company.  Great picnic, but no pics. A true sign that the picnickers were too busy having fun and forgot to take pictures. The above cartoonish drawing of a melting ice cream cone, watermelon and a mustard slathered hot dog on bun will have to do.

50 Plus Technology Grant Award Ceremony
– June 14, 2019

Back Row: Gerry Hinson, Martin Cahill, Rodney Stanford, Joe Granderson, award recipient James Murray,  Jim Kiernan, White Plains Mayor Tom Roach.  Front Row: Mike Golfo, Colleen Kierna (seated), Annie Chiappetta, Jim Pulsoni, Rita Pulsoni.   June 14, 2019

____

By Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
WCBNY Vice President and Author

Friday June 14 started out a little breezy but ended up to be a beautiful day.  Thankfully by the time the 50 Plus Grant Ceremony got started, we could hear the birds singing outside the auditorium  window as if in anticipation of the event.  Everything was ready; the awardees were there; the checks were labeled correctly and all we had to do was start the program.

Westchester Council of the Blind’s Vice President, Ann Chiappetta, stepped up to the podium and introduced the reason for coming, then passed the podium to WCBNY Board Member, Dr. Joe Granderson, the Keynote speaker. Joe was wonderful, highlighting the meaning of our award and how we were able to help support the community by access through technology. Joe spoke of his ability to achieve so much more because of assistive technology.

Next came the grant award recipients and the individuals who assisted them with the application process.   Cheryl Pacione, a rehabilitation counselor for the New York State Commission for the Blind, introduced Mr. James Murray. He received his award and spoke a bit about his transition and how the blind community and other caring professionals helped him to adjust.

Gerry Hinson of Westchester Disabled on the Move, Inc., spoke on behalf of Ms. Dalya Murawa, the second grant award recipient. She declined to speak but was very gracious, nonetheless. Her message was that she will always strive to be as independent as possible despite her disabilities. She said that being isolated is the worst thing about living with a disability, or multiple disabilities, as is her experience.

The afternoon wrapped up with a few words from White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach and Mr. Latainer, the Director of the Westchester County Office for People with Disabilities. The afternoon was special and our members were all  smiling during the photo session. THERE ARE MORE PHOTOS HERE

COUNTY OF WESTCHESTER AGREES TO MAKE THEIR WEBSITES ACCESSIBLE!
-May 9, 2019 

As a result of advocacy by the Westchester Council of the Blind of New York (“WCBNY”) and Disability Rights Advocates (“DRA”), the County of Westchester has agreed to make its website fully accessible to blind and low vision users by the end of 2019. Read the full press release here!

 OUR STORIES OUR VOICES
LOUISE WOOD – SINGER

Louise Wood, WCBNY member,  invites us into her world as singer around town.  Read more here. 

MOCK ELECTION WORKSHOPS

See and use the famous ballot marking device! Register to vote, speakers giveaways and more. Thursday September 27 and Saturday September 29.

Click here for more …

 OUR FIRST ANNUAL PICNIC

members Audrey, Rich, Cathy, Surprise Visitor Hans
members Audrey, Rich, Cathy, Surprise Visitor Hans

Westchester Council of the Blind of New York held it’s first annual picnic on July 21st at Community Universalist Congregation in White Plains! Check out the pictures here!

WCBNY SENIOR OUTREACH PROGRAM

Our chapter helps seniors in Westchester.  Click here to find out more …

NEW GRANT AVAILABLE

WCBNY is excited to announce the 50 Plus Technology Grant! Please click the link to learn more and apply!