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The New Jersey Council of the Blind
October, 2020

The New Jersey Council of the Blind’s mission is to strive for the betterment of the blind and visually impaired community. The purpose of this publication is to provide a forum for the free exchange of ideas, opinions and information that concern blind and visually impaired people.

The NJCB Chronicle is also available on Newsline. If you do not have a Newsline subscription, contact Reader Services at the New Jersey Talking Book and Braille Center at (800) 792-8322 to get signed up for a Newsline subscription. Four quarterly newsletters are sent to members free of charge by E-mail. You may obtain the current and back issues of the Chronicle and other information from our web site www.njcounciloftheblind.org. Feel free to write us at njcounciloftheblind@gmail.com.

The New Jersey Council of the Blind (NJCB) is a 501 (c) 3 corporation. Much appreciated tax-deductible donations may be sent to the Treasurer of NJCB.

The NJCB officers are.

President, Wanda Williford (609) 375-6682.

1st Vice President, Frank Schack – (973) 595-0116

2nd Vice President, Joyce Sowa (732) 596-9675.

Secretary Dan Bausch.

Treasurer, Steve Sowa (848) 999-2079 or by mail to PO Box 434, Woodbridge, NJ 07095

President’s Message by Wanda Williford

Lessons Beyond Quarantine

Dear Friends,

Two inch long Murder hornets, bears driving SUV’s, spontaneous reversing waterfalls, Man sharing $22 million lottery win with a friend made on a pinky swear in 1997, and let us not forget to mention, the global pandemic, which has placed us all in quarantine for the past several months baking banana bread. These 2020 headlines are bizarre but remarkably true.

Hopefully, in addition to perfecting our bread baking skills, we have come away with other lessons and insights. Perhaps, you are spending quality time with loved ones, taking leisurely walks, cooking a yummy lumberjack breakfast, and sitting at the seldom used dining table to eat, laugh and talk. Monopoly marathon game nights are a wonderful way to make positive quarantine memories. Connecting with family has been a lovely consequence of being in close quarters.

Additionally, thrift stores are bursting at the seams with the contents of our newly organized closets. Green thumbs planted and harvested heirloom vegetables by the bushel. Who could of ever imagined taking a yoga class via a Zoom call? The luxury of having so much free time has allowed us to indulge in those back-burner chores and hobbies we put off for years. When the headlines of 2020 are no longer front-page news, and we are living our “new normal”, my hope is we carry forward the lessons learned from quarantine. The importance of loving and appreciating time spent with family, friends and cultivating our own personal growth.

We are excited to host, Marc Arneson, of the Hadley School as our October guest speaker. Marc was a featured presenter at this year’s ACB Virtual Conference/Convention. The Hadley School has provided quality education to the blind community for decades. In July of 2020 Hadley updated its curriculum and platform to better meet the needs of their students. Marc will share all the details of Hadley’s improvements and inspire us to take a class. Pack a lunch, put on your noisy corduroys, class is in session!

Please join us, Saturday October 24, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Call 605-468-8005, passcode 425373. October is Blindness Awareness month, let’s celebrate and share.

Be well and stay safe,


October Quarterly Meeting Notice

Our October Quarterly meeting will be held by conference call on Saturday, October 24th, 2020 from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM.

Call 605-468-8005, passcode 425373.

Guest Speaker

Marc Arneson:

I have dedicated my entire career to serving others in the non-profit sector. Upon earning my BA in Psychology, I spent the next eight years working in the state child welfare system. This included conducting diagnostic assessments and therapeutic crisis interventions, as well as teaching behavioral management strategies to at-risk youth, their teachers, and families. I spent the next 15 years working in the field of infant adoption. There I conducted intake interviews and training sessions, facilitating support groups, managed a mentor-match program, and tracked organizational performance data to identify opportunities for better client service. My current position at Hadley is in brand development and community engagement. My role is to build organizational understanding and connections so that we can continually improve our service to those with vision loss --- helping them thrive at home, work and in their communities.


Founded in 1920 by William Hadley, an educator who lost his eyesight later in life, Hadley offers practical help, connection and support free of charge to anyone with a visual impairment, their families and professionals supporting them. Providing online, large print, braille and audio media, Hadley serves nearly 150,000 individuals each year, reaching all 50 states and 100 countries. And more people learn braille from Hadley than from any other organization worldwide. Hadley's help conveniently meets learners where they are. Free of wait lists. Free of office visits. Free of charge.

2020-2021 NJCB Bernard Zuckerman Scholarship Winners

Dear Wanda and Alan,

I am writing to thank you and the New Jersey Council of the Blind for your generous financial support towards my higher education. I am honored to be a recipient of a New Jersey Council of the Blind scholarship.

This fall, I will attend Georgetown University and pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. I hope to attend law school upon my graduation and eventually become a corporate lawyer. Your scholarship will greatly assist me in covering my tuition as for my freshman year.

I also wanted to thank you for inviting me to your club meeting. The New Jersey Council of the Blind is a wonderful organization and I loved meeting some of your members. I am so glad we had a chance to celebrate, especially during these uncertain times.

Once again, thank you for awarding me this scholarship. I am very grateful for you and your organization's contribution towards my college education.


Marissa Nissley


NJCB Family, we are a talented group of individuals. We need to put those talents and special skills to good use. We all need to participate and contribute to the success of the NJCB organization. This is a call to action! It is our mission to assemble committees which are important to our continued success. Please consider joining or chairing one of the following:

Let us know which committee you feel would best utilize your skills or you find interesting.

We also want to hear your ideas and suggestions for guest speakers and topics you want to discuss during the quarterly meetings. We strive to conduct meetings that are informative, thought provoking and enjoyable for all who attend. So, please share your ideas big and small. Contact me at wdw.williford@gmail.com or call 609-375-6682. I look forward to hearing from you.

Chapter News
News from Blind Citizen’s Association

It doesn’t seem possible that it is time for the October Chronicle. I feel like we just submitted our blurb for the Spring, and here it is almost autumn. It’s strange how time is so fleeting when you are focused on keeping healthy and safe.

NJBCA has been on hiatus since March 12. As I write this, it is currently September 1. Almost 7 months of not seeing our participants – it can make one a bit melancholy. Although most have been having Uber conference calls, there is nothing like sitting down with a cup of coffee and chewing the fat with someone in the same room. We pray that we will be together again in early October.

We sincerely hope that everyone is healthy, happy, and safe!

Mercer County Association of the Blind (MCAB)

Peace and well-being to everyone from members of MCAB.

We were off in July. We canceled our annual Picnic at Mercer County Park scheduled for August 16, because of new information about 2000 new cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey.

The returned funds we received from the cancellation of the Picnic will go to help pay for the MCAB designed T-Shirts coordinated by Vice President, Wanda Williford and member Sebastian Warren. These funds also covered, mailing cost. The local delivery was made by member Barbara Plunkett. MCAB thanks all for making this possible.

MCAB will restart virtual meetings on September 17, at 7:00 PM.

I would like to share a few stories on the tragic, the good and the lessons learned from this Pandemic: One of our newest member’s, a male nurse. He had lost one of his eyes from an accident. He was an early victim of COVID-19 before masks and gloves were the requirement in the medical profession. He left behind a young Wife and two-year-old daughter. He was a good friend of mine.

Another one of our members had moved to Tacoma, Washington. He was totally blind, and a diabetic amputee also contracted COVID-19 and was able to be nourished back to good health at home with assistance.

The last story deals with my personal residence where 7 people have died during the pandemic. The property management company has issued a policy that no family or friends are allowed in the building, only health assistants. This policy is a violation of mine and other disabled persons of their Civil Rights for Reasonable Accommodations. I have filed a Complaint with the NJ Division of Civil Rights.

During this Pandemic be strong, be safe, most of all be intelligent.

Best regards

Submitted by Mustafaa Shabazz, MCAB President

Getting to Know You: By Wanda Williford

In this issue, we are shining the spotlight on one of our own, Marie Kleber. Diagnosed with Macular Degeneration, Marie joined MCAB in October of 2018. She has raised 4 children and is the proud grandmother of 10. Marie worked as an educator and taught Home Economics for 21 years. Currently, she is an independent retiree living on her own in Ewing, New Jersey. Let’s get to know more about Marie in 20 questions.

  1. What is your middle name?
    MK: Caullet
  2. What is your favorite sound?
    MK: Waves crashing on the beach
  3. What sound makes you cringe?
    MK: Fingernails scratching a blackboard
  4. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
    MK: Black Raspberry
  5. What is your favorite pizza topping?
    MK: Pepperoni
  6. What is the best dish you prepare?
    MK: Ham Croquettes
  7. If you could have lunch with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
    MK: “My sister, Barbara, who I don’t get to see that often.”
  8. What is your favorite way to travel? Plane, train, automobile, or boat?
    MK: Automobile
  9. Where is the furthest place from NJ you have traveled and why were you there?
    MK: “My husband and I visited Ireland in September of 2001 for vacation. We were there during the terror attacks.”
  10. What American landmark or city would you like to visit?
    MK: Dallas, Texas
  11. Who is your favorite singer?
    MK: Frank Sinatra
  12. Do you have a favorite song?
    MK: ‘Scarlet Ribbons for Her Hair’, it’s a folk song I heard many years ago, that has stayed with me.”
  13. What is your favorite movie?
    MK: Gone with the Wind
  14. What was your first concert?
    MK: “Actually, it was about 3 years ago. It was an outdoor concert at Mercer County Park, I attended with my daughter. I don’t recall the singers name; however, it was a lovely time.”
  15. What was your favorite subject in school?
    MK: Spelling
  16. What was the name of your first pet and what sort of creature was it?
    MK: Pep, Wired Hair Terrier
  17. What is your favorite board game?
    MK: Chinese Checkers
  18. What is your favorite word?
    MK: Memories
  19. Do you have a favorite quote?
    MK: “She conquers, who conquers herself.”
  20. What brings you joy?
    MK: “When I see my children together, exchanging fond memories and sharing good times.”

Marie is the person you want to be seated next to at a dinner party. She is kind, intelligent and thoughtful, her positivity is infectious. She finds fault with no one and cheers for everyone with grace and dignity. We are fortunate to call her member and friend.

Dialogue from a Member
By Ruth Williams

Visually impaired or Blind and Creative?
Don't Sit it Out. Knit it Out!

As Everybody’s Auntie™, I’ve found that almost every conversation calls for one of these three phrases:

More often than not, when people tell you their troubles, they’re not asking for a solution; they just want to be heard.

This is true for those of us in the NJCB as well — we can’t see that well, if at all, but we want to be seen.

When your vision changes or goes away altogether, it takes time to adapt to your new reality, but we all still have a need to express ourselves to the world.

Creativity has been an important part of my life, whether it be as a crafter, or as a Freelance Writer, writing posts and poems, such as this one from my blog, praypower4today:

The Perfect Prayer

In some of my blog posts, I use levity as a form of leavening, and, if I can find a way to lighten the tone, I will — especially in heavy times such as these. Maybe I’ll tell a corny joke, like this one: How much does a pirate pay for corn? A buccaneer!

In addition to writing, another creative outlet I pursued was knitting with needles, but once my vision changed, I couldn’t do it anymore.

Years went by, and one day, while shopping on Amazon, I happened upon a round-loom knitting kit. A round-loom is a circular piece of plastic with pegs jutting out all the way around the top and an anchor peg on the side. Each peg has a vertical groove to be used as a guide for a knitting tool.

A round loom with round plastic pegs
(Pictured A round loom with round plastic pegs)

I’ve found that, even with limited vision, I’ve been able to knit warm, fuzzy hats and scarves (hence one of my many nicknames: “Scarf Lady,” which was given to me by Dr. Bethany Fishbein when she was a guest speaker at an NJCB Meeting ).

In addition to round-loom knitting, I’ve learned candle-making, which can be hinky (as we say in Jersey), because it involves pouring hot wax into a small container. Using contrasting colors is helpful; for example, if your wax is white, use a dark mug or jar to pour it into.

I’ve also started making my own lip balm, and it’s worked out so well that I may sell it on Etsy. Maybe I’ll turn myself into a small business. A company of one!

That reminds me. What did the duck say to the small business owner? Put it on my bill!

A knit hat. A candle in a cup. A basket with two scarves.
(Pictured A knit hat. A candle in a cup. A basket with two scarves.)

Visual impairment takes away so much of the world that it’s crucial to every fiber of your being — from cells to soul — that you find your voice by creating.

Express the vision you see in your head and don’t let misgivings hold you back. Doubt is like a bull in a china shop. That reminds me. How do you stop a bull from charging? Cancel its credit card!

Finding a creative outlet is a way to express yourself. Add to your quality of life. Connect with others. Be productive. Earn some income with a “side hustle.”

You were put on the planet to do one job: show up as yourself. By finding out what you do well and where your interests lie, you’re setting out on the path unique to you.

Show the world who you are and create. Don’t believe the lie that, without sight, you can’t build or sculpt or craft or dance. You can and you will. It’s not just for yourself, but for the newly diagnosed who fall behind the curtain of darkness. Let out your own light, and you’ll be leaving a light on for the next traveler on the road.

Peace & Blessings to you all!

Metuchen Low Vision Support Group – now by Teleconference
By Pat Kay

Sometimes eyesight becomes so poor that reading a newspaper or driving a car, shopping or many other daily activities become frustrating, irritating and sometimes impossible. While this support group cannot restore perfect eyesight, it can be helpful to participate in learning how to deal with low or no vision and the problems that come with it.

Meetings are held on the third Monday each month from 10:00 am to Noon. Participants share their experiences and discuss issues. Guest experts lead sessions at some meetings. Some guests introduce and lead short exercises of lifetime activities that have proven to be healing such as meditation, Tai Chi and Yoga.

The support group is sponsored by Metuchen and is affiliated with the ASPIRE program of the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The facilitator of the group is a member of several support groups that she credits with helping her to maintain her independence through the past twenty years of legal blindness.

For more information, please call Pat Kay at 732-261-5881. The meetings are held by teleconference.

Check out the NJCB Facebook Page

NJCB is on Facebook. Anyone interested in contributing to the success of this page please send your ideas and posts to our email address at njcounciloftheblind@gmail.com. Please note all posts must be related to activities relating to your membership with NJCB or its affiliates. The page is https://www.facebook.com/groups/2255314534793147/. Just search for New Jersey Council of the Blind in Facebook.

2021 Dues are due.

Please send your annual dues along with the attached membership form to our Treasurer, Steven Sowa. Annual dues for members at large are $10.00. Checks should be made payable to NJCB and mailed to PO Box 434, Woodbridge, NJ 07095.

Announcing, we have a NEW way to pay dues and making donations through PayPal using your credit card. Our webpage has the direct links to the secure page.

NOTE: Disclaimer. The views and opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the New Jersey Council of the Blind officers and/or members. The editor reserves the right to edit articles submitted for both space and content.

New Jersey Council of the Blind
An affiliate of
American Council of the Blind

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Make check payable to NJCB and send to:
Treasurer- Steven Sowa
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