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The New Jersey Council of the Blind
July 2023

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

President's Message: Be the Shark!
By Wanda Williford

“We’re going to need a bigger boat.” That is one of the most iconic lines in movie history. Combine that with the ominous music warning the main character is lurking about. Steven Spielberg’s, ‘JAWS’ is one of my all-time favorite movies. I strongly believe the big fish is misunderstood. Make no mistake eight-year-old me was scared senseless the first time I watched the film and did not stick my toe in the ocean, the rest of that summer. However, I have come to realize the shark was only doing what he was designed to do and the Jersey shore is once again my happy place. Sharks are powerful, cunning, sleek predators that rule the oceans and seas. There are more than 500 different species of sharks that have adapted and thrived over hundreds of thousands of years. The mere sighting of a shark in the Atlantic surf makes the local evening news. That is star power!

Last year, my low vision support group was discussing resiliency. We were instructed to imagine being in a body of water with many other fish and there was a shark in our midst behind a transparent partition. The shark is purposely bumping into the barrier, making his presence known, waiting for the opportunity to break through and feast on the vulnerable school of fish, on the other side. The facilitator asked how we would handle this situation, as a member of the school. There was lots of interesting discussion and strategies devised to survive the threat of the menacing shark. When it was my turn to comment, I said, “I’m the shark, and that school of fish represents the delicious treats that I deserve in this life.” I further explained, the more I adapt and acquire skills that help me live with vision loss, the barrier will rise and allow me to gobble up all that life has to offer. Listening to that scenario I immediately identified with the shark. I was not a guppie or minnow, swimming scared, waiting for the shark to attack.

Almost a year later, I am still inspired by that discussion and when life throws me inevitable challenges, my mantra is, “Be the Shark!” Currently, I’m in active pursuit of learning Braille. My remaining vision is rapidly deteriorating and I recognize having Braille in my arsenal will only help me to raise certain barriers in life. We should all aspire to “be the Shark! In our own stories. Try a new app, brush up on your Orientation and Mobility skills, Learn to speak Spanish, play guitar, or master the accessibility features on your MAC, by participating in the many varied zoom calls offered each week by ACB Community. Tap into your inner shark, keep moving and devour this tasty life, one bite at a time. And, if you lose a tooth along the way, that’s okay, sharks have multiple rows of teeth for backup.

To help us navigate the sometimes-murky transportation waters, we are thrilled to host Access Link General Manager, Namecca Parker. Ms. Parker will update and inform us on the many changes in rider options and policies with Access Link. Please come ready with your questions and participate in what will certainly be an informative discussion.

Additionally, Eve Posner will join us to present and demonstrate the latest innovations with the OrCam family of devices. These products are truly remarkable. Do not miss the opportunity to be hands-on and experience the technology that makes life easier for the blind and low vision community.

Our July Quarterly meeting will take place, Saturday July 22, 2023, 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM, at the Joseph Kohn Training Center, 130 Livingston Ave. New Brunswick, NJ 08901. Lunch will be served from noon to 1:00 PM at a cost of $5.00. Call Wanda Williford at (609) 375-6682 to reserve your spot. To join us by Conference Call, Dial (605) 468-8005, passcode 425373 starting at 1:00 PM. Help us celebrate our return to the JKTC since October of 2019.

Guest Speaker

Namecca Parker is currently the General Manager of NJ TRANSIT Access Link Paratransit division. For over two decades, she has been actively involved in an assortment of functions in the passenger transportation industry. She truly exhibits and is an example of “working your way up.” Namecca began as a contract (temp) Paratransit Reservationist and has gone on to hold several other jobs in her rise to her current position.

She is currently a part of the ADA Access Link team. Access Link is a public transportation service developed to comply with the paratransit regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; it provides service comparable to the local fixed-route bus system.

With extensive experience in project management, contract enforcement, all facets of HR (non-agreement and agreement), contact center management, policy creation, communications, and emergency operations management, Namecca is a true advocate of accessible innovation, adaptive mobility, and all things transportation.

Namecca is also an active member of the Greater New York chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS). She is a member of the Glass Ceiling Committee that researches the glass ceiling and the difficulties of women entering executive management in transportation. She hopes to be a continued outspoken advocate for public transit, women, the underserved, and people with disabilities.

July Quarterly Meeting Notice

The next quarterly meeting of NJCB will be held at the Joseph Kohn Training Center (JKTC) at 130 Livingston Ave. in New Brunswick, NJ 08901 on Saturday, July 22nd, 2023. A pizza lunch will be served at 12 Noon for a cost of $5.00; the meeting will begin at 1 PM and will be over at about 4 PM. In order for us to order enough food call Wanda at (609)375-6682 by July 15th to let us know that you will be attending and want lunch. One person from each organization can call with a group count. We are looking forward to seeing you there. Can’t make it in person? Call in on our conference number. The call-in number is: 605-468-8005 Access code 425 373#. Please note this is a toll call.

2023 Bernard Zuckerman Scholarship Award Winner

NJCB is proud to announce our winner for the Bernard Zuckerman Scholarship Award for the 2023-24 school year. Congratulations to Julius Brainmah. Julius is attending Mercer Community College and hopes to attend Rutgers University for Social Work in the future. He is also a current member of the MCAB! Please come to our meeting and meet Julius and learn more about him!

Nominating Committee Update

During our October Quarterly meeting, NJCB will hold elections for our Executive Board. We currently have openings for President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary.

Any NJCB member in good standing may be eligible to run for office as long as they meet the descriptions below for that position. Anyone else interested in becoming a candidate for one of the above positions, please contact Miss Ruth Williams at rhwilliams@yahoo.com or call 908-229-3591. We will also accept nominations from the floor for any open position. Anyone being nominated must have been approached beforehand.

Miss Ruth Williams
Nominating Committee Chair

Executive board descriptions

Section 1 - President
The President shall be the chief executive officer of the Corporation; he/she shall preside at all meetings, shall be Chairperson of the Executive Committee, and appoint all committees. The President shall serve no more than two consecutive elected terms and shall be legally blind.
Section 2 - First Vice-President
The First Vice-President shall assume all of the duties of the President when he/she is unable for any reason to fulfill them. This person shall be legally blind.
Section 3 - Second Vice-President
The Second Vice-President shall assume all of the duties of the President when both President and First Vice-President are unable for any reason to fulfill them. This person shall be legally blind.
Section 4- Secretary
The Secretary shall be responsible for receiving and sending all correspondence carried on in the name of the Corporation. He/she shall maintain custody of all said correspondence. The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping a record of all meetings of the Assembly and Executive Committee. He/she shall have custody of all minutes and correspondence of the Corporation.
Section 5 - Treasurer
The Treasurer shall be responsible for receiving and disbursing the funds of the Corporation, subject to the supervision of the Executive Committee and in line with the general policies of the Corporation, as set forth by the General Assembly. Such funds are to be deposited in a bank approved by the Executive Committee, and easily accessible by the Treasurer. He/she shall have custody of all financial and corporate records of the Corporation.

Keep an Eye on Your Mental Health as You Advocate for Others with Vision Loss

by Miss Ruth

I’ve learned so much about human nature from dealing with my beloved tiger tabby, Squeaky. When he wants to play too rough, I can sense a shift in his energy. He stares at me with those guy-liner rimmed eyes, which he knows is rude to my people (humans) and I’ve told him this before. “Don’t stare, Squeaks. It’s not polite.”

Eventually, he takes a chance that I might forgive him. He bats at my hand and scratches my skin. I’ve said, “No!” before, and even tapped him on the behind to impress upon him that pain is no fun.

Still, I sense the clues that his energy is too “amped-up” before he even gets to that point. Now I know the important thing is to walk away before I allow him to get into that mode.

It occurred to me that this has happened to me in the course of my advocacy work, as well.

Sometimes friends want to vent, and it’s a healthy thing. It’s not a problem for friends to share what’s going on in their lives.

But I’ve noticed that some people for whom I have advocated are trying to pull me into their swamp of sadness, or their endless battles with the "powers-that-be," if only unwittingly. I’ve found there are even some who are doing it intentionally and it's become a game to them.

They’re thinking, How much of my pain will you allow me to inflict on you? Check! How much of your essential energy will you allow me to steal from you? Checkmate!

There comes a point at which they’re no longer simply venting, but spewing venom. They're no longer reaching out to you for help; they're pulling you into their quicksand.

Our Council President, Wanda Williford, has a great (if gross) analogy: she says that people in this situation are “Vomiting their stuff onto you.”

That’s a vivid image, and I’m sorry to do that to you, but you’ll thank me (and Wanda) later when you realize that it’s happening in your life and you never thought of it in that way.

You’ll even start to realize that you’re being manipulated, which may make you angry. That’s healthy. That’s the beginning of positive change.

If you’ve been on the phone with someone every week for a year and they’re still telling you the same sad story, even after you’ve offered a valid resolution or resource, they’re not trying to heal. They’re trying to throw their stuff onto you so you’ll feel bad, too.

When you realize you’re being damaged by staying in contact with people who are in this mode, you’ll pull back from the habit of helping all of humanity. Those of us who operate from a place of empathy end up trying to “mother” anyone who needs help. In truth, we only have so much bandwidth in our psyches. We only have so many hours in a day.

When people try to infect you with their poison, it’s up to you to get them out of your face and get yourself into your sacred space.

If you’re having the same fruitless conversation with someone who refuses to get help, you’ve done all you can. It’s okay to walk away. In fact, it is mandatory. Do you love your own life? Do you value yourself? Are your needs important? Consider all of these things the next time someone comes at you, demanding a portion of your essential energy, what I call, your “zhoosh.”

Don’t fall into the trauma-trap: the belief that you should unconditionally allow others to take your time, your compassion, and your energy. You deserve a life of ease and grace.

It's not "giving up on someone" to realize their troubles are beyond your scope. After all, it's not possible to help someone who isn't yet ready to heal. It's not quitting, but a course correction.

Safeguard your psyche as you extend yourself to others. That way, when someone tries to move into your sacred space, you’ll know it’s time to move on.

Chapter News

News from Blind Citizen’s Association
By Sarah Toma

Camp Happiness is in full bloom!

Last time I wrote, I was sitting at my desk watching the snow fall and listening to the howling winds. As I write today, summer is definitely in the air with the wonderful scent of the sea and the warm sunny weather allowing us to sit outside and enjoy the sounds of nature around us.

We kicked off spring with the 80’s Dance Party by DJ Blindvision held at the Red Bank Elks Club. The music was great and a few of our Board members, Campers, and their spouses, danced the night away making it truly a fun event.

We held our first Artisan Market of the year on April 22 which was, once again, well received and supported by the community. The artists were talented, and their creations were beautiful, music on the porch was again a great success. Campers’ artwork had its own booth and succulents in delicate teacups were a hot ticket item. Thanks to ShopRite, we had a food truck that gave out free food, drinks, and ice cream to anyone who attended. Of course, the day would not be complete without the Seeing Eye Puppies in Training, face painting, henna tattoos, and tents with representatives from the Lions and Kiwanis Clubs.

It was a beautiful day at Sandy Hook when the Eatontown Lions Clubs’ Walk/Run 5k for the Blind took place. In its 16th year, more than 300 runners and walkers participated, and excitement is already growing for next year.

Monmouth University’s Doctorate Occupational Therapy classes have come to an end but the experiences for the students and our Campers forged a great relationship. Our Campers were asked to participate in a study on Beach Accessibility this summer with another group of students. Six Campers, now referred to as SME’s, Subject Matter Experts, ventured out to the beaches with students in June and will be on other outings on July 3 and July 21. Meanwhile back in the office, I will be mentoring Monmouth University students on grant writing. We are hoping to get some funding that will enable us to participate in the Doctoral Occupational Therapy programs at Monmouth University in the Fall. Fingers crossed.

Sarah participated in the NJ State Lions Convention in May. The convention is held annually at the Tropicana and allowed her to build relationships with other agencies, share resources and meet members of the Lions Clubs throughout the state.

We had our first barbeque of the season thanks to board members, Larry Caminiti and Dave Wilson, kicking off the summer season on Memorial Day. Plans are in swing for another one on July 7. Tim, one of our visiting musicians, will be providing entertainment. All we need now is good weather!

One of our Campers, Charles, was entered into a juried art show in Atlantic Highlands Art Center and we are in the process of working on our artwork projects to be submitted to the Monmouth County Fair. You may remember last year, we won First Place in the Group Project and many of our Campers won, First, Second and Third place awards. Everyone is excited about the different opportunities that are developing and anxious to share their creativity with the community.

Through new partnerships, our Camp programs continue to evolve. In July we will be working with Family and Children’s Service, Campers will be participating in their W.I.S.E. program, and Shore O&M will be presenting programming on enhancing mobility. Lunchbreak continues to provide meals and fresh fruits and vegetables for Campers to take home.

Seven of our new board members will be participating in a two-day Board Retreat hosted by the Grunin Foundation on June 23 & 24. The program is open to board members throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties and will provide an interesting educational experience for all attendees.

In ending, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the courageous four blind men, Gunnar Nordling, John Mills, Walter Baker, and William Adicks who founded the Blind Men’s Club 1910. We are now going into our 114th year of keeping their mission alive. In my research, I found that July 10th became known as Camp Happiness Day in Middletown and parades took place throughout the towns of Leonardo and Atlantic Highlands.

The story continues… stay tuned.

As always,


Mercer County Association Of The Blind (MCAB)

Mercer County Happenings!
By Wanda Williford

Summer is sizzling here in Mercer County. The long-range weather forecast is a stretch of wonderfully sunny days with a chance of fun. The Mercer County Association of the Blind is planning a sensational season of activities that will inform, engage, and entertain our members.

Starting off the season, we will host Dennis McGowan as our guest speaker. He is a manager with the State of New Jersey Division on Aging. Dennis will share information regarding the NJSave program. A program that connects eligible seniors with resources to save money on Prescriptions, utilities and more.

Additionally, we will discuss and demonstrate the benefits of using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Apps. Seeing AI, Envision AI, Google Lookout, and Super Sense are several of the most commonly used apps that assist Blind and low vision users to accomplish many everyday tasks independently, without sighted help. These amazing apps are able to read mail, identify objects, currency, people and food labels and other helpful tasks. We will explore the various features of OCR apps and how they can be a tool in your arsenal of independence.

The MCAB event that caps off the summer is our annual picnic. This year we will be "Singing for Our Summer Supper" by way of Karaoke. Let's channel our inner Elton John, Taylor Swift, and Whitney Houston. We will entertain ourselves and show off some hidden talents. This indoor picnic will take place on Saturday August 5, 2023 from Noon to 4:00 PM, at the Elks Lodge 42 Decou Ave, Ewing NJ 08628. There will be great food, door prizes and lots of fun. If you're interested in attending, start practicing your favorite Karaoke song in the shower and contact, Wanda Williford at (609) 375-6682 for additional details.

MCAB is thrilled to welcome new members, Alice Burnett, Mary Jane Dunn, Michael Dunn, Keith Hale, Angela Lampkin and Dawn Selmon to our family. Each of these individuals add a distinct square to our growing beautiful quilt. We look forward to celebrating the delicious delights of summer with them and getting to know their unique talents. Happy Summer!

Foodie Focus

I've never met a person who doesn't like Peach Cobbler. It is always the first dessert to disappear at the cookout. This recipe is super easy and can be made with ingredients you probably have on hand. The sweet, warm, buttery cobbler topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is delicious with a capital D!

Easy Peach Cobbler
½ cup butter
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 15 oz can sliced peaches drained
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and milk
  3. Mix well to make batter
  4. In a 9x9 pan melt butter in the oven
  5. Pour batter evenly over melted butter. Do not stir!
  6. Spoon drained peaches on top of batter
  7. Sprinkle peaches with cinnamon
  8. Bake 35 to 40 minutes

Submitted by Wanda Williford

Special Bonus Recipes by Patricia Muscico


July 4th Pancakes


Mix everything together and place on your hot pan or griddle. Cook approximately 1½ minutes on both sides or when firm.

Serve when pancake is completely cooked Add a whipped cream topping and you have your 4th of July Red, White and Blue Pancake. Or if you prefer, top with butter or syrup.

Double or triple the ingredients depending on how many pancakes you wish to make.

Special Hawaiian Salmon


First cook your rice and put it aside.
Place Salmon into toaster bag
Add to your salmon a pineapple ring topping, as many as you like
Add the pineapple juice.
Place toaster bag into toaster. Cook for about 6 minutes.
Time is approximate depending on the size of your salmon.
When cooked, open bag and drip on Teriyaki sauce. Place completed salmon on top of your rice.
You can add sliced avocado to decorate your plate.

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 www.facebook.com/groups/2255314534793147/. Just search for New Jersey Council of the Blind in Facebook.

Save The Date

Saturday October 28th Time and Location TBD

Saturday January 27th Time and Location TBD

Saturday April 27th Time and Location TBD


Directions to the Joseph Kohn Training Center (JKTC)


130 Livingston Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-2421

Cross Street: Seaman Street

From the North
Proceed south on Route 1 to Route 18 toward New Brunswick.
Get off Route 18 at the New Street ramp.
Turn slight right onto New Street/ NJ 26.
Take the 2nd left onto Livingston Avenue/NJ 26.
Turn left onto Seaman Street and left into the JKTC parking lot.

From the South
Proceed north on Route 1 to the Livingston Avenue/NJ 26 exit toward New Brunswick.
Turn right onto Seaman Street and left into the JKTC parking lot.

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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Preferred format for Braille Forum (ACB National's Newsletter): Large Print __ Digital Cartridge __ Braille-Ready Text __ E-mail __ Podcast __ None___

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Annual Dues: $10.00 due in January

Make check payable to NJCB and send to:
Treasurer- Steven Sowa
PO Box 434
Woodbridge, NJ 07095