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.
President's Message: A Day In the Life
By Wanda Williford
Election season for the New Jersey Council of the Blind is fast approaching. We will announce the slate of candidates in July and hold our election at the October Quarterly meeting.
With that being said, this year marks my fourth and final year as President of this wonderful organization. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving and learning from each and every NJCB member. This experience has bolstered my confidence and simultaneously challenged me in ways I could have never imagined.
Facilitating meetings, finding amazing speakers, and disseminating important information are just a few of the responsibilities of the president. Taking on these various tasks have helped me to develop and hone skills I wasn’t even aware I possessed. The number one fear for most people is public speaking, myself included. Leading NJCB meetings has forced me to tackle this phobia head on and has led to other speaking opportunities. I will be forever grateful for the lessons learned and brilliant people I’ve met during the past four years.
My hope for the next NJCB President to take the reins in service will have an experience that surpasses mine. Therefore, I want to share what a day looks like for me when I’m in full president mode. A day in the life, so to speak.
7:00 AM: Rise and Shine! I wake up, workout, shower and have breakfast. I try to get in a minimum of 15 minutes on the stationary bike each day and weight training three times per week. Full disclosure, many days I walk past the bike and head straight to the shower. I am a work in progress.
10:00 AM: Emails, Phone Calls and Text Messages, Oh My! This is the time I scroll through emails saving, deleting and responding where necessary. Next, I read text messages and return phone calls. 10:00 seems to be the “golden Time” to make calls, people tend to pick up. I’m not quite sure why, but it works.
12:00 PM: Lunch and Relax, I take a break and whip up a sandwich or heat up leftovers while I play Jeopardy with Alexa.
5:00 PM: President’s Humpday Happy Hour! Every Wednesday I participate in a Zoom call for Presidents of ACB State and Special Interest Affiliates. It’s an hour where presidents can discuss challenges and share ideas on how to best serve their respective states. We discuss everything from fundraising ideas to how to improve membership morale.
7:00 PM: Conference Call: Most days, I attend a Committee meeting, Community or personal enrichment call, at this time. I really enjoy being a fly on the wall at other groups’ events. It’s a great source for information, networking and guest speakers.
9:00 PM: Me and Alexa: I often end the day by listening to ACB Media on my bedside Alexa. Numerous ACB Community events and meetings are rebroadcast on ACB Media throughout the day. I like to stay up to date on important topics impacting the blind community on the national level.
On a typical day, I can find myself immersed in anything from discussing audio-described movies on an ACB Community Call to seeking advice on accessible washers from a fellow NJCB member. There is never a dull moment in this role. However, balance is very important and I go off the grid several days per year. My time serving as president has been exciting, challenging and rewarding. I am looking forward to supporting my successor and helping them thrive as leader of the NJCB.
Our April meeting will be conducted via conference call on Saturday, April 22, 2023, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Join us by dialing (605) 468-8005, Passcode 425373. Our discussion will focus on succession and the October 2023 election. We will assemble a nominating committee to prepare the slate of officers to be announced in July. Additionally, we will discuss the duties specific to each officer. We want those who are interested in running for a position to be informed and fully aware of the responsibilities associated with the office.
The NJCB needs strong leadership in order to move forward and continue to serve the blind and low vision community. If you are a member in good standing and desire to make an impact, please consider running for office. It is vital we combine our talents and work together to ensure the New Jersey Council of the Blind remains relevant and strong today and beyond.
April Quarterly Meeting Notice
Our April Quarterly meeting will be held by conference call on Saturday, April 22, 2023, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Call 605-468-8005, passcode 425373.
2023-2024 NJCB Bernard Zuckerman Scholarship Information
It is not too late to apply for the 2023 Scholarship program. To apply, eligible candidates must be legally blind, will be a full-time college student, undergraduate or graduate, in the 2023 – 2024 academic year and be a New Jersey resident. The deadline to apply is May 15th and the winner will be awarded at our July Quarterly meeting. Full details, application forms and how to apply can be found on our website at www.njcounciloftheblind.org. You may also email questions to email@example.com.
With an Eye to the Future: Researchers May Soon Create Prosthetic Eyes With Vision Using 3D Printing Technology
By Miss Ruth
Groaner alert: Many eye-related puns ahead!👁
I try to keep an eye on the latest research into vision loss, and oftentimes, the material is so “scienc-ey” (to coin a term) that I glaze over in confusion.
Still, I soldier on, because I believe that eventually, the meaning of the data will sink in, and I will finally see the light.
So I’ve been trying to understand the implications of the use of 3D printing in ophthalmological research. I’d seen a news article about the first man to be given a 3D printed prosthetic eye, and was intrigued. I wanted to learn more.
The first thing I had to do was figure out what 3D printing is. Is it a printer attached to a computer that spits out a sheet of paper that the researcher folds into an origami eye? Probably not. So, I looked it up.
3-D printing is a method of creating a three-dimensional object layer-by-layer, using a design created on a computer.
Okay. Those words make sense on the page. But still. A printer can make a new eye? Nope. It does not compute.
This video explained it well, and gave me a clear-eyed view: it’s not really a printer, as such, but a tiny assembly line within a metal casing.
|What Is 3D Printing and How Does It Work? | Mashable Explains
It does “print” layers of material, but, to me, it should really be called 3-D design and manufacturing device.
Even so, a prosthetic eye isn’t functional, only aesthetic. Will this technology ever be able to create a replacement eye that actually has vision?
If researchers at Italian design and research company, MHOX, have their way, we’ll see those innovations in the next few years.
Filippo Nassetti, lead designer at MHOX says, “Latest developments in bioprinting and biohacking let us imagine that in the near future it would be possible to easily print organic, functional body parts, allowing the human to replace defective districts or enhance standard performance.”
We’ll keep our eyes peeled for that, but the skeptic in me says, “I’ll believe it when I see it!”
In the interim, NIH researchers have been working with 3-D printed eyes using patient-derived tissue in their effort to prevent, diagnose and treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
NIH researchers use 3D bioprinting to create eye tissue
(Technique provides model for studying genesis of age-related macular degeneration and other eye diseases.)
As they announced in a news release, “The research team from the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, printed a combination of cells that form the outer blood-retina barrier—eye tissue that supports the retina's light-sensing photoreceptors.”
What all of this tells me is that there will be a way to tap into new technologies to restore vision in the future. As a senior, I must admit that I’m skeptical when it comes to “new-fangled” things. My answer to every problem on my computer is still, “Reboot!”
With that being said, I’ll be first in line when they tell me those new eyes are ready! Would eye lie to you? :)
News from Blind Citizen’s Association by Sarah Thoma
Can Spring Be Far Behind?
As I write this, I am sitting at my desk watching the snow fall at a rapid pace, hearing the howling wind and waiting for the Northeaster to hit us later on today. A bit of a contrast to this morning as when I was reminded that Spring is not that far away. When I arrived this morning, I was greeted by crocuses on the lawn, buds on the trees and hyacinths in the meditation garden getting ready to bloom. I am now wondering if winter is really ready to wind down.
In the past month, we lost one of our beloved members, Clay. Clay started as a volunteer many years ago and later on, he became one of our members. He will definitely be missed. His playful antics and sense of humor never failed to brighten our days. On a happier note, we have seen an uptick in people reaching out and joining in the activities going on in Camp Happiness.
We are still in our resurgence and things are moving along well. With an intent to raise more funds and create a greater outreach, we experienced a transition on the Board of Trustees. We are most thankful to Frank Schack, who served NJBCA in different capacities for fifty years as well as Pat Guijarro and David Mayer for their many years of dedication and service to NJBCA. Pat and David along with Maggie O’Brien of the Middletown Arts Center are now members of the Advisory Board. There are six new board members working with our Executive Committee, Larry Caminiti (President), Charles Blood II (Vice President, Member Liaison) Robert Guijarro (Treasurer) and Craig Finnegan (Secretary). Trustees include Nishakant Awasthi, Clarence Brown, Michael Calabro, Allison Curco, Susan Dyckman, Michael Ellithorpe, Dr. John Patro, Jr., and Dave Wilson. Each of them brings a unique talent but most of all, a heartfelt commitment to NJBCA and its future.
The kitchen continues to be worked on. The main building is in the process of being painted, and flowers are to be planted in the coming weeks.
Katherine has been busy with the Thrift Shop, and it has become an even greater place to shop with the generous support of the community. With her social media skills and talents for creating “boutique” sales, people are now coming from other parts of the county to shop. Thrift Shop also serves a great place for people to gather and share stories of NJBCA’s history but also educate new visitors about the work that is going on presently.
Many thanks to our board member, Dr. John Patro, Jr., from Monmouth University, students from the Monmouth University Doctoral Occupational Therapy program have started, and they are providing Campers with fun and interactive health and wellness activities every Wednesday.
Our Advisory Board member, Maggie O’Brien, from the Middletown Arts Center has gifted us with one of their outstanding artists, Gillian Forrest, who continues to inspire us all with her beautiful creative spirit. As a result, one of our members has been selected to be in the juried Atlantic Highlands Art Show.
Therapeutic crafts, knitting and crocheting, meditation, mindfulness, knitting and crocheting programs and musicians continue to perform for us and we are looking forward to a regularly scheduled drum circle.
Board member Allison Curco of Hackensack has brought us the opportunity to bring us speakers and presenters on wellness. Speakers from State (Access Link) and County (Surrogate) offices are participating in Camp Happiness meetings, providing members with valuable and timely information. Our sweet therapy dog, Hannah, who is owned by one of our volunteers, always delights our members when she visits. In March, we had a visit from Roxie, a miniature pet therapy horse!
We will also be having a meeting with the Monmouth County Parks System to develop programs for our members to enjoy. It has been a fun winter, but I know that everyone is looking forward to winter being over and we can enjoy the beautiful property that surrounds us.
NJBCA took an active role in supporting the State Council and Federation on the recent legislation on providing accessibility on voting. A vote was planned for March and, hopefully, it will be voted on with positive outcomes for our blind and visually impaired community.
After Campers inquired about going on road trips, a grant was written and funding received.
This new program, named by one our Campers as "Blinds on the Go" will be transporting Campers to other agencies funded by the grantor, the Monmouth Park Charity Fund, so that they can participate in the partner agency's activities, lunch and learn events, etc. Partnerships have already begun with Lunchbreak, Senior Citizens Activities Network (SCAN), No Limits Cafe, the local Girl Scouts troop, and more.
April is filled with fundraising activities with all of the proceeds going to support the programs at Camp Happiness. For more information, please visit our website at www.njbca.org or call the office at 732-291-0878.
On April 15, DJ Rob Blind and the Red Bank Elks will be hosting a fundraiser for NJBCA with a 80’s Dance Party starting at 6 pm - ? at the Elks building on West Front Street, Red Bank. Tickets are $25 and the event is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased by calling the office at 732-291-0878 or www.evenbrite.com/e/545269865847 - it’s going to be a fun night!!!
On April 22, NJBCA’s 4th Artisan Market will be held on NJBCA’s property at 18 Burlington Ave., Leonardo, NJ. The event will run from 10 am – 4 pm with 20 new local artisans, local musicians will be providing “music on the porch. Henna painting, psychics, Seeing Eye puppies and local community partners, the Lions and Kiwanis Clubs will also be in attendance. Face painting and other activities for children will take place on the lawn. Food and ice cream will be provided by ShopRite. Anne’s Thrift Shop will also be open to make the day even more fun.
As April is also Volunteer Month in New Jersey, NJBCA will be hosting a volunteer recognition event thanking our many volunteers as we could not do this work without them.
May 6 will bring a 5k Walk/Run for the Blind on Sandy Hook presented by the Eatontown Lions Club with all proceeds going to NJBCA. This event is in its 16th year and anyone who is interested can participate. Registration is available on www.runsignup.com/Race/NJ/SandyHook/SandyHookLighthouse5k
The New Jersey State Lions Convention is being held on May 19 & 20 at the Tropicana Atlantic City. Hours are from 10 am – 4 pm on Friday and 8:30 am – 1pm on Saturday. NJBCA, a state project of the Lions Clubs International, will be present with a booth and members of the Board of Trustees in attendance.
Stay tuned, more to come…
Mercer County Happenings: Spring Is in the Air
By Wanda Williford
Songbirds blissfully chirping and the sweet scent of early blooms, signal the return of Spring in Mercer County. The time of year we declutter our closets, plant heirloom tomatoes and vow to get more exercise. Spring of 2023 the Mercer County Association of the Blind is planting the seeds of “Health and Wellness". This season our monthly meetings will feed the mind, body and spirit.
Our calendar is filled with a variety of activities and guest speakers to help us maintain a healthy lifestyle. For starters, we will lift our spirits by hosting a “Trivia Night” complete with prizes and refreshments. MCAB members will compete in teams, this event is sure to be a night of laughter, camaraderie and friendly competition. Game on!
In April we will learn how to properly nourish our bodies. Nutritionist, Allison Sabio with Shoprite, will join us to share tips and tricks on how to adopt healthy eating habits for a lifetime. We will learn innovative ways to incorporate more fresh fruits and veggies into our diets. Kale, blueberries and jicama, oh my!
At the May meeting, Stephen Fell, Talking Book and Braille Center Librarian, will help to expand our minds. He will educate us on the many ways to read our favorite books and also discover new titles. He will update us on the latest devices that enable us to connect with and consume audio or braille materials. There is nothing better than being transported to a land and time far away, while seated in your comfy chair. Simply stated, books are magic.
Spring is the season of renewal and growth. The MCAB family has recently grown by two. We are excited to welcome new members, David Matthews and John Miscianio. We look forward to celebrating our journey to “Health and Wellness” together with them both. Welcome gentleman!
Foodie Focus - Stuffed Peppers made in a Toaster Bag
Submitted by Patricia Musico
Seeking Nominating Committee Members
As 2023 is an election year, we are seeking members to join our Nominating Committee. We need someone to Chair and up to 2 additional members.
Up for election for the 2022-2023 term is President, 1st and 2nd VP, Secretary and Treasurer. Responsibilities for this committee is to first verify if current board members want to stay in their positions and if not, then the committee will need to seek out new nominees. The slate will be voted on during the October quarterly meeting. Please contact Wanda for more information.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Please note all posts must be related to activities relating to your membership with NJCB or its affiliates. The page is www.facebook.com/groups/2255314534793147/. Just search for New Jersey Council of the Blind in Facebook.
Save The Date
Saturday April 15 NJBCA 80’s Dance Party
Saturday April 22 NJBCA’s 4th Artisan Market
Saturday May 6 NJCB 5k Walk/Run for the Blind on Sandy Hook
Saturday July 23rd 12 Noon Camp Happiness in Leonardo
Saturday October 22nd 12 Noon Location TBD
Saturday January 27th 12 Noon Location TBD
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 email@example.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
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.
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Make check payable to NJCB and send to:
Treasurer- Steven Sowa
PO Box 434
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