HumanWare comes to CDBA!

Hello Everyone!

The Labor Day Weekend has completed and the 2017 Summer Season is now over.  Our first-ever Chicagoland DeafBlind Beach Outing was a success, even with a bit of sunburn.   But, that’s okay, because the fall season is going to be an excitin time for CDBA.

On September 23rd, CDBA will host a Technology Exhibition, sponsored by HumanWare.   One of the exciting things you will experience is a brand new DeafBlind VideoPhone!   Yes, this videophone is awesome, and you’ll get to try it out for yourelf.  You’ll also be able to check out the first-ever Google-certified Braille Tablet.   And there’s many other good technology you can try out.   We know you’ll enjoy the experience and will want something for yourself.

If you would like to try the Videophone, be sure to bring a phone number so you can make a call to your favorite person.

We will also have people present to discuss your technology needs and advise you on how to obtain technology products that will benefit and empower your life.    It’s an experience you don’t want to miss.  We will demonstrate products for braille, low-vision and audio needs.

HumanWare will provide lunch for all who attend.  And we deeply appreciate their sponsorship.  So, please RSVP if you can by sending an email to info@chicagodeafblind.org.   If you are interested in volunteering as an SSP, please also send us an email so we can add you to the list.

This event is not limited to DeafBlind members.  We encourage others such as VR counselors, purchasing agents,  and DeafBlind individuals who have not visited CDBA to come check out the cool toys.

WHEN: Saturday, September 23, 2017

WHERE:  Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind – 1850 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL

TIME:  10:30 – 3 p.m.

Free parking is available at the Chicago Lighthouse.  If you will use paratransit services, you must inform your driver to pick you up no later than 3 p.m.  If you require transportation from Metra stations in the Chicago downtown area, you must inform us no later than September 20 so we can ensure that you will be picked up and droped off at your station.

See you all on September 23rd!

Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen!

Only a few more days until the CDBA Beach Party.   If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to send in your RSVP by August 10 (Thursday) so we can make sure we have enough for you.

To remind you all, the beach party will begin at 11 a.m., but you can come earlier if you wish.   It will be held at Montrose Beach.  Please tell your driver to go to 350 Montrose Harbor Drive and we will meet you there.

Everyone who is DB or SSP will receive $10 toward meals at the eateries on the beach.   For family and friends, we ask that you pay for yourself, because we are not a rich organization yet.

Don’t forget, bring your favorite beach towel or chair.   Bring pails if you want to make sand castles!   Bring sunscreen so you don’t become red like a lobster when you go home.

Closing time is up to you. You can leave whenever you want.   It is your responsibility to make travel arrangements.

See you all on Saturday, August 12th at Montrose Beach!

More info about Beach Party

Good news, everyone!   We have more information about the upcomng CDBA Beach Party on August 12.   We did some careful research and visited locations to make sure we found a place that would be ideal for CDBA.   Here is the information now:

The CDBA 2017 Beach Party will be held at Montrose Beach in Chicago. The address is 350 W Montrose Harbor Drive.  Everyone is invited to the Beach Party.  We welcome family, friends, younggsters…. Everyone!

Each DeafBlind person and SSP will receive $10 toward their lunch meals.   Everyone who uses Paratransit will receive a voucher for the cost of their paratransit ride.

Please continue to read for all the important details:

WHAT TO BRING:

Bring your favorite beach towel, chair, swimsuit, and sunscreen.  And whatever else you feel you need, including your favorite beach pail and shovel to create your own sand castle.

FOOD:

Everyone who is DeafBlind or SSP will receive $10 cash to purchase your own meals.   Friends and family, we regret we are not able to afford to cover your expenses for food.

There are two restaurants on the beach.  One restaurant has good food at cheap prices, like hot dogs, polish sausages, and italian beef and you can easilya fford with drinks. If you prefer more fancy foods, you can go next door to another restaurant.  Anything above $10, you will need to pay out of your own pocket.

HOW TO GET THERE:

Parking is available and free at Montrose Beach.    If you are taking paratransit, please tell your driver to go to 350 Montrose Harbor Drive at Montrose Beach.   Someone will be there to meet you and guide you to the beach area.   If you are takingMetra to Chicago, and you wish SSP to meet you at the station, please notify us right away so we can make sure to send an SSP to meet you.

If you want your SSP to ride with you from Metra to Beach via Paratransit, be sure to tell Paratransit you are bringing a guest rider with you.   You will be reimbursed with vouchers for your ride.

WHAT TIME?:

The party starts at 11 a.m.   However, you can arrive earlier if you wish.  We will be done around 3 p.m.   Please make your arrangements with drivers according to this schedule.

SSP VOLUNTEERS:

As always, we welcome and deeply appreciate the support of SSPs and invite you to join in and volunteer to ensure our DeafBlind participants have a fun and safe experience.  And we promise you, SSPs, you will have fun too!

RSVP:

You are not required to RSVP.   However, if you need an SSP and if you want to reeieve $10 for your meals, you must RSVP by August 10 so we can make sure you have everything ready.

For volunteers and DeafBlind, please send questions and RSVP to info@chicagodeafblind.org

 

Thank you,

Chicagoland DeafBlind Alliance

Let’s Go To The Beach!

Hello all!

I hope everyone is having a very awesome and great summer so far in 2017.   The weather is nice and beautiful for many days here in Chicago.

Unfortunately, we have some news to share.   Due to a scheduling mishap, we are unable to enter the Disability Pride Parade this weekend as there are no slots available.   Therefore, we will not be partcipating in this weekend’s parade.   However, we still plan great things for this summer.

On August 12, 2017, we will have our first CDBA Beach Party!   Yep, many of you have told us that you would love to have CDBA for beach party on the Lake Michigan shores.   We will be providing picnic with sandwiches and chips and fun activities for everyone.    All you have to bring is your swimsuit, towel, sunscreen and your favorite drinks.

We are working now to identify the easiest beach for everyone to meet at and we will post the details of that no later than July 25th, so mark your calendars.  We are looking forward to seeing you there.

Again, we regret the scheduling mishap due to a miscommunication that we are unable to participate in this year’s parade.  We will definitely be in the parade next year and we’ll have our awesome float then.     Please continue to enjoy your great summer and see you all on the beach in a few weeks!

CDBA-Get Your Pride On!

Hello everyone!

 

Last month was such a great time at the Cicno de Mayo celebration hosted by Roge Ramos and his family, including his parents and his grandmother.  What an awesome event with great foods, pinata, and decorations everywhere.   CDBA thanks Roge and his family for making it so memorable.

Next month we will be returning to the Disability Pride Parade in downtown Chicago.   As requested by members last year, we will be including a float.   Today, we are seeking volunteers to join the decoration committee to create an awesome float to represent the DeafBlind community in Chicago.   If you are interested, please send an email to info@chicagodeafblind.org.

We will begin decorating the float during the week before July 22nd.   Your creative ideas will be valuable.   We know there are many creative people in our organization and we want you to come out and show your amazing skills.

After the parade, we will s the area.  There will be an awesome exhibit area for many booths that you will want to visit.   We will eat lunch at a local restaurant in the immeidate area.   More details on the location whwere we will have our luncheon will follow soon.

SSPs are especially welcome and we request that SSP volunteers contact us soon to work with us both during the decoration week and at the Parade and luncheon.

See you all soon and stay cool in this very warm weather we are having now.

 

Cinco de Mayo on May 13th!

Oh boy, we have an exciting luncheon for Cinco de Mayo this year!   Roge and his family have worked together to create an awesome meal.    What is the menu?

  • Steak or Chicken Fajitas
  • Rice and beans
  • Pickled Carrots
  • Salad
  • tortillas
  • -Red and green chips

MMM  Yummy!   From the best Mexican restaurant in the Chicago   Top quality food.   And guess what?

 

There will be a pinaa for the kids too!

When:  May 13, 2015 – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where:  Chicago Lighthouse – 1850 Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL

RSVP:  If youc an RSVP and let us know, by May 10, send email to info@chicagodeafblind.org.

COST:  Free, but if you can help us keep our costs down, please feel free to donate $5 if you can.   If you cannot afford, that is fine.

See you all on Saturday, May 13th.  Bring empty bellies, lots of food and fun to enjoy!

CDBA Issues Testimonial on IL Senate Bill 0752

Yesterday, on March 14, 2017, the Illinois Senate Committee on Human Services passed Senate Bill 752 which proposes reforms to the Ilinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission (IDHHC).   Our organization was there to provide testimony on the legislative proposal.   It was also the first time that our organization formally asserted its new name “Chicagoland DeafBlind Alliance” which is formally known as LeCOBDA.   Come join us for our meeting this Saturday, March 18, for more exciting news about our new organization direction!

Below, is the written testimonial given to the Senate Committee that you can read.

—————–

Submitted by:  Chicagoland DeafBlind Alliance – March 14, 2017

To:  Members of Illinois Senate Committee on Human Services

Thank you, Honorable members of this Committee, for allowing me this opportunity.  My name is Bryen M Yunashko, and I am the president of the Chicagoland DeafBlind Alliance.    We are the only official DeafBlind non-profit organization in the State of Illinois.

In 1995, the State conducted a survey and identified 7,000 residents with combined hearing and vision loss.   Two recent surveys elsewhere show significant numbers.   In North Carolina, for example, 26,000 residents were identified, and a national survey conducted by a university in New York identified 2.4 million people with those combined losses.  This only identifies those who willingly identify themselves as having combined loss.   Many more exist out there, who live with the societal shame that somehow, being DeafBlind is a terrible thing.   With our population continuing to live longer, it is easy to assume that in Illinois, that number is higher today than it was in 1995.

It is for this very reason, that we deeply appreciate that language is now included to recognize DeafBlind as a stakeholder of the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission.   We agree, it is important, and its time has come.    However, our organization expresses deep concerns about the fact that we have never been consulted in any way on the drafting of this legislation.   If we are a stakeholder, should we not be a part of this resolution’s outcome?

We are a growing community, coming into consciousness as an empowered and diverse group.  We are neither Deaf nor Blind.  We are DeafBlind.   We strive to speak for ourselves and not presume others to speak for us.   Our lives, our experiences, are ours and the challenges we must overcome, we must overcome them with our own determination of destiny and future.

Make no mistake about it, we are keenly aware of what lays before us.   We face obstacles, education, and discrimination on a daily basis, even by those who are seemingly our closest allies.

We are concerned about language in Senate Bill 0752.   If we are now granted formal stakeholder status, should not the name of the agency IDHHC reflect that?   And while the bill increases specificity of representation, we are concerned that this specificity will in fact a) tokenizes us and b) provides inadequate representation of the true DeafBlind life.

As I mentioned, we are a diverse community.   Some live in denial, and some embrace who they are.   Some live in rural areas, and others in urban areas.   Some have been DeafBlind all their lives and some became so later in life.   Nationwide, our unemployment rate stands at 84%, one of the largest of any disability.    Some have ready access to training services, others do not.   And in states like Illinois, we do not even offer some of the most basic services to life empowerment and independence.    In fact, I could not even submit a witness slip independently without assistance, even though Illinois state law requires accessible websites.  How many other DeafBlind voices are not being heard because a function as simple as submitting a witness slip is not accessible?

It is impossible for a single DeafBlind person to adequately represent the views of such a huge and growing population.

We recognize the intent of this legislation is well-meaning and we do not oppose that spirit.   What we ask for today is to revisit and ensure broader stakeholder input into the development of the language in this legislation in order to support a truer and more representational and diverse Commission.

Thank you,

Bryen M Yunashko

President – Chicagoland DeafBlind Alliance

president@chicagodeafblind.org

It’s the Year of the Rooster!

Hello everyone!

Did you know that January 27, 2017 was the start of the Chinese New Year?   Yes, that’s right. It is now officially The Year of the Rooster.   Want to learn more about what this means?  Come to our next LeCOBDA gathering on February 11, 2017 and meet the Rooster in person.  The Rooster will tell you all about what it means and what 2017 will be like.

 

To celebrate the Chnese New Year, we are hosting a Chinese Appetizers luncheon and we ask people to also bring potluck their favorite side dishes and desserts.   Bonus if you have a favorite Chinese side dish or dessert!

We will also have fun DeafBlind activities to keep you busy all afternoon.   Let’s make this the best Year of the Rooster!

Our host for this month’s event is Julie Somers.  Thank you Julie for planning such a fun event!

When:  Saturday, February 11, 2017 – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where:  Chicago Lighthouse – 1850 Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL

RSVP:   Please let us know if you are coming and if you are bringing any dishes.   Send an email to info@chicagodeafblind.org

Volunteers:  We welcome volunteer SSPs and interpreters.   Let us know if you’d like to join our fun event.  Vounteers should plan to arrive by 10:30 a.m.

Mount Sinai Hospital Interpreting Services

Hello all,

We wanted to inform you about this important news about Mount Sinai Hospital Interpreting Services.  If you use Mount Sinai for any purposes, you need to know the following information that was sent to us.  Please read the letter below:

Hi folks,

Mount Sinai hospital has decided to close the Sinai Deaf Health program and use on-call interpreting services through CAIRS.  They’ve done this very quickly and people are going to be very confused if they are trying to get services at the hospital.  It’s about money.  State doesn’t have a budget and spoken language AND ASL interpreters all day are expensive.

MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES HAVE NOT BEEN TOUCHED.  THOSE ARE FINE.

Medical services will be very confusing for awhle.  CAIRS is  a good agency, but it will still be confusing for people tryng to getinterpreting services for awhile.  CAIRS doesn’t know the people who use Sinai or the clinics.  That means they don’t know if you prefer ASL  English, tactile ASL, etc.  Please tell other people about the change.

If you are looking for interpreter services at the hospital or any of the clinics, the new coordinator is Patricia Gibbs.  Her voice number is 773-257-5412 and her email is patricia.gibbs@sinai.org. (She is Hearing.)

Her supervisor is Gia Mac.  You can contact Gia at 773-257-6597 and her email is Gia.Mac@sinai.org.  She is also hearing.

 

If you have concerns about these changes, you can contact the CEO of Mount Sinai. her name is Karen Teitelbaum.  Her email address is karen.teitelbaum@sinai.org.

 

Thank you.

 

A note from LeCOBDA President, Bryen Yunashko.

Mount Sinai has been a very good program ensuring good access to services with interpreters.  The Coordinator for the Deaf Services Program had a very good understanding about how to work with DeafBlind clients.  It is sad that we have lost an important ally at Mount Sinai, and we are deeply concerned that continued medical access will be accessible for all DeafBlind people in the Chicago area.   If you are concerned, please send an email to the CEO so they know about your concerns.   While it is not Mount Sinai’s fault that the state has been unable to complete a budget, nevertheless, we are all affectd.   If you do not speak up, your concerns will not be heard by Mount Sinai or the State of Illinois.

Thank you,

 

January DeafBlind Events

Hello, we’d like to keep you updated on the events of January that you may be interested in.   See below for more information:

  • As a reminder, the Chicago Park District is hosting a 10-week Ceramics class for people with vision impairments, incDeafBlind.  This event will be held at Athletic Park betinning tomorrow, January 12, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.    The class only costs $13sidents and $26 for non-Chicago residents for the full 10 weeks.    Please contact timothy.owens@chicagoparks.com for more information.
  • The PACE Chicago ADA committee will be holding its quarterly meeting on Jauary 23rd at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) on January 23rd from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.   The committee is asking for all public to come and provide accessibility comments.  If you use Pace in the Chicago area, please make your concerns known!    To make accommodation requests and to get exact locationon, please email to ada.committee@pacebus.com
  • On January 21, there will be a nationwide march to recognize the rights of women and will include a Disabilites Caucus.   This group is getting a lttention because of the importance so close to the Presidential inauguration.  ago, the Women’s March is expected to have at least 10,000 people and as much as 100,000 people.  The march will be held Saturday Mo Petrillo Bandshell in Grant Park in Chicago on January 21.    There will be similar marches all over the United States.   Shelley Engstrom-Kestel and Bryen Yunashko are coordinating SSPs and interpreters for anyone who wants to join this very important and histori event.   If you are interested in participating in the march, please send an email to Bryen via hello@bryen.com for more information
  • Do you use Paratransit services?   Are you happy with the services?   Do ou have concerns?  Should Paratransit be improved for DeafBlind people?   If you have yes to any of these questiosn, please contact Bryen Yunashko for an important research project as soon as possible.   Contact Bryen via hello@bryen.com.