Summer Pride – DeafBlind Style!

The Summer Holiday weekend is just around the corner, and we DID promise you we’ll come up with a great idea for our annual summer LeCOBDA gathering.  Promises are not made to be broken, so here it is:

On Saturday, July 23, LeCOBDA is proud to join the Chicago Disabiity Pride Parade.   This parade will walk from Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago to the Richard M. Daley Plaza.    Vice President Jason Salerno is already hard at work designing an amazing tactile banner that is sure to make you all PROUD to be DEAFBLIND!

The parade starts at 11 a.m.    After the parade, we will walk over to Millenium Park for our very own special LeCOBDA Picnic.   A picnic in one of the greatest parks of Chicago.

Food and drinks will be given to all DeafBlind and their SSPs free.   This picnic is family forcused, so please feel free to invite friends and family to join you and celebrate with all of us the wonderful summer weather amongst great friends and social activity.

For guests, we ask only a $5 donation to help defray the cost of our picnic.

Are you an awesome activities planner?  Want to join the team in planning fun activities in the park?   Email us and let us know.    And we encourage everyone and their SSPs to explore the fascinating statues and monuments in Millenium Park.

We will send another email next week with exact meeting place and pickup address information for you.    If you are planning to come to the parade and picnic, please send an RSVP to and let us know if you have any special dietary needs.

Can’t wait to see you all.  This is going to be so much fun!   Stay tuned for exact address information next week, and again, don’t forget to send an RSVP email!

The LeCOBDA Officers

Light a Candle to Get It Done Illinois!

This is a call to action, and we need every one of you to support this important rally!


Did you know that the state of Illinois has not passed a budget in a year?  Many social services have been forced to cut back and some even closed down.   Many services that support the DeafBlind are under serious threat.   This includes independent living centers, DeafBlind training, and equipment programs.   Programs like ITAC and ICRE-Wood and Title XX may be under serious threat after July 1.   We do not know if the state will approve a new budget.  If so, many of these programs may be permanently cut until a new budget happens.


This is SERIOUS!  The new officers of LeCOBDA, including President Bryen M Yunashko, Vice President Jason Salerno, Treasurer Darrell Washington, and Secretary Suzanne Salerno stand united on this. We cannot allow the state of Illinois to miss the budget deadline on July 1.  Your quality of life is at stake.


On June 28th, there will be a rally of thousands of people at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago.    It will be a candlelight vigil starting at 6 p.m.    We need to make sure the DeafBlind community is REPRESENTED!    Do not ignore this. We need YOU!



On Tuesday, June 28th, all DeafBlind people will meet at PotBelly’s restaurant on State Street and Lake Street in downtown Chicago.  We are working hard to make sure there will be plenty of interpreters and SSPs ready to work with us.  We will then walk together to the Thompson Center.    You do not need to bring a candle if you do not want to.  We know it is hard to hold a candle and cane and tactile sign at the same time.  Important thing is, you are THERE!    Show your spirit, show you care!  We all care about each other,  does Illinois state government care about us?    Demand them to pass budget so our programs stay!

State and Lake streets are located easily near the Red, Green, Orange, Brown lines and two blocks near the Blue Line.    If you need assistance to get to that corner, please let us know, we will try our best.   We will also try our best to send SSPs to the Metra stations.

This is MAJOR.   Show you can do it!    See you on Tuesday evening!   We are together!

For more information, contact


The Future is Empowerment

The newly elected officers of LeCOBDA are greatly humbledby te trust and support guiding the future of our club and are excitedto begin working.  It is our goal to create a new and excitingenvironment where all DeafBlind community thrives, supports each other, explore newopportunities and build strong allianceswith other advocacy organizations in our region.   The newLeCOBDA is about celebrating and pride as DeafBlind individualsand a communit.  Our identity will be strong and our passion for the greater things in life will rise.

The new officers are so enthusiastic that we have already held two Officer meetings to identify our immediate goals and we will no longer reject anyone who has not  made reservations to attend a gathering.  While we hope that you will let us know in adance if you are coming, we will not be strict and reject you if you simply arrrive.   LeCOBDA is for ALL DeafBlind people in the area!

We will also work h ard to keep you informed and be open and honest about the activities of the officers and the health of our organization. We will communicate with you  regularly and often.

What is next?

We are working hard now to organize a special first LeCOBDA picnic or BBQ, possibly to be held on July 23.   We will notify you asap when we have the details in the next few days.

This means that unfortunately, we will not be having a DeafBlind cruise on the lake in July. This is because the club does not have much money. We only have $3,800 in the bank and the cruise costs $2,900.   We simply cannot support making our beloved LeCOBDA go broke.     This is why we will have a great family picnic event soon.  It will be fun and very social and a lot of activities.

It is our responsibility to make sure that LeCOBDA is financially healthy and to begin efforts to fundraise.  We have not done enough fundraising in the past.  This will change.  We are going to work hard to develop a new plan.

We are also planning a very special and historic event for October 1.  This will be the first ever city-wise DeafBlind Forum.  More details will come soon, but during this Forum, we will have a morning session with all Deafblind people to discuss what it is YOU want LeCOBDA to be.   THen in the afternoon, we are inviting EVERY adovocacy and partner ally organization in the region to attend and listen to your concerns so we can all learn to work together and be able to interact with each other.   There is so much that Chicago has to offer, and it is time that we, DeafBlind people become a strong part of the Chicagoland area!

Thank you again for supporting us and we will do our best to do the right thing for and with you!

Sincerely, The Officers of LeCOBDA

Bryen M Yunashko – President

Jason Salerno – Vice President

Darrell Washington – Treasurer

Suzanne Salerno – Secretary

LeCOBDA May 2014 Newsletter

We, Le COBDA, will be having an outing to Green City Market. It is located at the south end of Lincoln Park between Clark and Stockton Drive (approximately 1790 N. Clark).

Saturday, May 10, 2014

TIME: 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM

****Bring your cash as the vendors selling may not accept the cards. Also bring your bag for the vegetables and fruits****

Before heading to the Green City Market, please MEET at The Chicago History Museum first. We all will walk to the market which is about five minutes away

The Chicago History Museum is located at the south end of Lincoln Park
1601 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614

Please get to The Chicago History Museum by 10:30 AM.

Transportation Arrangements
PLEASE have your driver drop off at 10:30 AM and pick up at 2:30 PM at The Chicago History Museum.

PLEASE have your ride ready by 2:30 PM, no later than 2:30 PM. Please be aware that we will be not assisting or waiting for anyone to leave after 2:30 PM. Thank you.

Discounted parking is available for $10.00 for under two hours with validation in the Chicago Historical Museum parking lot off of Stockton Drive. Pick up a validation ticket at the Market Info Booth.


Be sure to show up on time or a bit early that would be appreciate.


After the Green City Market, we’ll be having lunch at Elly’s Pancake House which is close by walking.

Elly’s Pancake House
101 W. North Ave
Chicago, IL 60610

Serves: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Features: Open 24 hours, Accepts Credit Cards, Lunch Special
****Pay lunch on your own money***

If you will be attending, please contact Sara at to RSVP by May 8th.

Looking Forward to seeing you all!

Le COBDA President

Friendly Reminder:

A membership fee is DUE in May. It is $15.00. Please see Jerrie, the Treasurer for your renewal membership. Thanks!

Please remember we will not have a meeting in June. We’ll have an outing to the cruise at Navy Pier in July. Save the date of July 12th. Details to follow.
Illinois DeafBlind Retreat will be hosted from June 10, 2014 through June 14, 2014 at Illinois School for the Visually Impaired in Jacksonville, IL.  Application packets are ready.

If you are interested, contact Mindy Joy Mayer at for an application packet.


A message from Renee Ingalsbe and her co-directors:

Hi! Friend,

It’s that time again! 🙂

You’re invited to our 3rd DB camp at Camp Tuolumne Trails in Groveland, California on the dates of Saturday, July 19 through Saturday, July 26, 2014.

Party Theme – STAR WARS

Information – click this:!info/cjg9

We are looking forward to have a great time and hope you can join us!

Sincerely yours,

Mike Walton, founder/retreat co-director
Renee Ingalsbe, retreat co-director
Sue Morgan, retreat co-director

If you have any questions about this information, contact Renee at

2014 International Deaf-Blind Expo in Las Vegas

July 30, 2014 10:00pm to August 3, 2014 10:00pm
You are invited to take part in this first of its kind event.
Greetings all,

Happy New Year to you all! Bapin Group is excited to open 2014 with an announcement. We will be hosting the first-ever International Deaf-Blind Expo, scheduled to take place Wednesday, July 30, to Sunday, August 3, 2014, at the Riviera Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas! Please read below for full details.

For more information, please go to Stay tuned for more details!

LeCOBDA: NOTICE! October 5 Outing cancelled

An important message from the president of LeCOBDA, Sara Chung:

Happy October!  Hope all is well.

I hate to break the news to you, everyone.  We know we’re having the Farmers Market outing tomorrow.  I just learned there will be isolated thunderstorm in the morning becoming more widespread in the afternoon.  A few storms may be severe.  Chance of rain 80%.


Unfortunately, I’m afraid that we have to cancel the Farmers Market outing.  Whether it will rain or not, it would be better if we stay home.  It would be difficult for transportations to get to places on time during the thunderstorm/rain.

Please call your transportation immediately and cancel your ride arrangement.


I’m truly sorry that we have to miss the Farmers Market outing, but I have to do what’s best for everyone.


Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

See you all in November.


LeCOBDA President



Happy October, hope all is well!



LeCOBDA: Let’s Go Shopping!

Warmest greetings to all from Sara Chung, Le COBDA President!

Hope everyone enjoyed the BBQ party. I was so pleased with how well the meeting went, especially with new activities for the year 2013-2014. We definitely have a busy schedule which is good 🙂

The Farmers Market outing is around the corner. Please be aware that the Farmers Market outing is on October 5th, not the 12th. We changed the date due to Illinois RID State Conference which is held on October 11-13.

Farmers Market
When: October 5, 2013
Time: 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Where: Dearborn & Polk (Printers Row Park)
700 S. Dearborn, Chicago, IL
***Bring your cash only as the vendors selling do not accept credit cards.  Also bring your own bag for the vegetables you buy to take home***

After the Farmers Market, we’ll be having lunch at Hackney’s Printers’ Row which is close by walking.  Please bring your money to pay for your own lunch.

Hackney’s Printers’ Row
733 S. Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60605

Please have your transportation ready by 2:30 PM. Be aware that we’ll be not assisting anyone after 2:30. Be sure to get your ride ready no later than 2:30 PM.  For people who use a service car for transportation, the address is 700 S. Dearborn for drop off and pick up.

For people who drive, there is a parking lot at the corner of Dearborn and Polk.  Parking is $10.00 or little more for all day.

If you plan to use public transportation:

  • State Street CTA buses are one block east of Dearborn.  Take #29 or Southbound #62 and exit at State Street and Polk.  Then walk one block west to Dearborn Avenue.  Cross the street on Dearborn Avenue and then turn right..  700 S. DearBorn will be on the left (South) side of the street.
  • Northbound #62:  If you are coming from the south via Northbound #62 bus, get off at DearBorn and Polk and cross the street to 700 S. DearBorn.
  • Red Line:  Exit at Harrison Street station.  Walk North on State Street to Harrison Street corner.  Turn left and walk one block to Dearborn Avenue.  Then cross the street and turn left again and you will arrive at 700 S. Dearboarn Street on your right side.
  • Blue Line: Exit LaSalle Station.  Walk East on Congress Parkway to Clark Street.  Turn right on Dearborn.and walk two blocks to 700 S. Dearborn.  It will be on your right side.
  • All other CTA Trains:  Exit the Loop at Van Buren/Library Station.  Walk south on State Street to Harrison.  Turn right on Harrison Street.  Walk one block to Dearborn Avenue.  Cross the street and turn left at the corner.  Then cross the street again.  Walk south to 700 S. Dearborn which is on your right side.


Don’t forget Friday’s Tactile Nights!

We’re hearing a lot of buzz and it looks like quite a few people will come to this Friday’s Chicago Tactile Nights.  The second of our monthly gathering to celebrate and embrace the art of Tactile signing.  As always, you do not have to be DeafBlind to participate.  You just need to know at least some signing.

Everyone who is there will get a chance to practice reading tactile sign and explore ways to improve your ability to comprehend and deliver effective tactile signing.

It all happens this Friday, June 21 at:

Potbelly’s on State Street
190 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Start time is at 6:30 p.m. until closing.
Potbelly’s is located on the southwest corner of State Street and Lake Street, directly across the street from the famed Chicago Theatre.  Take any elevated train and exit at State/Lake and you are right there.  Don’t even have to cross streets!
Except Blue line.  You have to get off at Clark/Lake and walk one block east on Lake street to get to State Street.
You can also take bus numbers either 6, 29, 139, 62 or 36.   Or if you are driing into downtown, there are nearby parking lots available, and possibly also some street parking if you drive around enough to find something.  🙂
See you all tactually this Friday!

DeafBlind Representation on CTA

Chicagoland’s DeafBlind community will now have representation!   Bryen Yunashko has been appointed as a member of the Chicago Transit Authority’s ADA Advisory Board with a term beginning in October.

So what is this board about?   Well, there are several ADA advisory boards for transit authorities in the Chicagoland area, including for PACE and CTA.  The CTA advisory board focuses on fixed route buses and trains.  Paratransit issues are usually handled by the PACE advisory board.

At present, there are blind and Deaf  people representing their communities.  But there has been no DeafBlind representation.  The CTA recognized that it is important to include DeafBlind people in advocating accessibility on public transit routes.

My Goals:

I won’t be joining the board to represent myself.  I’m here to represent YOU!  Plese, always feel free to submit your suggestions, ideas, concerns, and issues and I will make sure they are recognized.  And I will focus on ways we can innovate Chicago’s public transit system to make it more accessible to all of us.

As an example of some of the ideas I have, I will propose or work on several ideas.  Paratransit is a great option for many of us.  But for those of us who want to continue to use fixed routes for as long as possible, I believe there are some ways we can make it better:

Making Bus Stops more discoverable:  I will propose that current bus stop poles be phased out and replaced with a pole that is distinctive.  It can be frustrating to stand on the street waiting for a bus and you find out you were standing at the wrong pole.  Making tactile poles will help us to identify exactly where to wait for a bus.

Transmitting Information:  Did you know that when a bus makes a stop and opens iits doors, a loudspeaker on the bus announces the bus number and Route name?  It’s a great way to make it accessible for Blind people who cannot see the bus display.  But, it leaves out DeafBlind people.   Maybe you can see the bus but cannot tell if that is the correct bus to get on.  How do you know if it is Bus #12, or Bus #36?  However, buses are equipped with a GPS display that announces the stops on the route.

Wouldn’t it be great if technology could be changed so that when you are standing at a bus route, your phone or other device would vibrate when the right bus comes by?  Wouldn’t it also be great when you are riding the bus, and you cannot see the GPS display, you can have it sent to your device and you can customize the readability including font size and color?  I believe that this can be done and will make proposals to seek ways to develop such innovative technology.

Communication Card Development and Driver Training:  We need to develop and distribute effective cards to help DeafBlind people communicate to drivers where they want to go.  And we need to educate drivers how to recognize a DeafBlind person and provide appropriate assistance.

Comparing Nationally:  There are several regions across the United States where transit authorities have developed effective programs for working with DeafBlind travelers.  I will work to gather data and strive to make our transit authority equally as accessible or better than other regions.

Communicating Locally:  I will work to gather up information from all of you about what you want to see changed within the CTA to make it more accessible for you.

Those are my goals, let’s work together to make Chicago ACCESSIBLE!!!



Equip for Equality events

Last week, we informed you that Equip for Equality will host a general forum on Friday, June 21 to gather input from the general disability community on prioritizing their resources for the next three years to protect the legal rights of people with disabilities.

There is now an additional meeting scheduled for June 28 which is focused on Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing issues.  If you want to attend either or both meetings, you need to send an email to Cecille Escartin at

Both meetings will provide a sign language interpreter.  However, you need to notify Cecille if you require your own interpreter..

Here are the two meeting dates and locations:

General Forum

Friday, June 21, 2012
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
James R Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph Street,  Room 9-031
Chicago, IL  60601

Getting here is very easy.  Simply take any of the Downtown Loop trains and exit at Clark/Lake.  The Thompson Center is connected to the train station.  When you enter the building lobby, ask for assistance to guide you to Room 9-031.

If you are taking the Red Line train, you will need to exit at State/Lake and walk one block west to Clark Street.

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Forum

Friday, June 28, 2013
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
20 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 300
Chicago, IL  60602

Take any Loop train to State/Lake.  Walk east two blocks to Michigan Avenue.  Then walk tww blocks south to Washington.  Continue for about half block and the building will be on your right (West side) of the street.

Can’t Make it?

You can still provide valuable input to EFE even if you cannot attend either meetings.  Simply go to EFE’s website and either fill out the online survey or download a printable version and mail/fax to them.  Here is the link to their website, which has lots of interesting information for you to browse:





Busy Week Ahead

Road Sign - Busy Week AheadThe Chicago DeafBlind community has some pretty busy and exciting things going on for the next week including advocacy and social interaction.  Here’s a look at what happens next week.

PACE City ADA Advisory Committee

PACE Bus logo



On Monday, June 17, the PACE transit authority will have its regular meeting.  This is for topics related to use of PACE within the city of Chicago.  If you use PACE buses or use Paratransit, you’ll want to attend this meeting to offer your insights as a DeafBlind person.  They want to hear from you!

June 17, 2013
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Willis Tower (Formerly Sears Tower)
Chicago Metropolitan Planning Agency
233 S. Wacker Drive, 8th Floor
Chicago, IL  60606

If you wish to attend this meeting, you MUST contact PACE to request an interpreter.  Call Linda Swedlund at voice/relay:847-228-4254 or send an email to her at

Equip For Equality

Equip for Equality Logo



Equip for Equality is a legal organization dedicated to “Advancing the Human and Civil Rights of People with Disabilities in Illinois.”   This month they are hosting two meetings to discuss the agenda for the coming year on legal advocacy.  This is where you, as Chicago DeafBlind community members can make an important contribution to raise awareness of any legal issues or legislative improvements you wish to see happening in Illinois.

Friday, June 21, 2013
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph Street, Room 9-031
Chicago, IL  60601

A sign language interpreter will be present for Deaf attendees.  However, if you need special accommodations, you must notify Equip for Equality to make arrangements.  That means if you need a dedicated interpreter for your DeafBlind needs, don’t assume the general interpreter to be your personal interpreter.

To reserve your place at this meeting, you must contact Cecile at voice: 1-800-537-2632 or tty:1-800-610-2779.

Chicago Tactile Nights

As recently mentioned, the next Chicago Tactile Nights will be held on June 21.  Here’s the details in case you missed it:

Friday, June 21, 2013
6:30 p.m.
Potbelly’s on State Street
109 N. State Street
Chicago, IL

No reservations required.  But if you can let us know, we can anticipate how many tables to hold when we get there on Friday.

See you all at these many exciting events next week!