CDBA Thanksgiving Luncheon almost here!

Hi Folks!

Hard to believe how fast time moves.  We are just a few days away from our annual Thanksgiving luncheon at Chicago Lighthouse on Saturday, November 18.   It is a potluck luncheon and CDBA is providing the turkey.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please do send us an email at to let us know that you’re coming so we can make sure there is plenty of turkey for everyone.   Also let us know if you are bringing any side dishes or desserts.    All family and friends are welcome and we invite SSPs to join us in this wonderful meal as well.

We are looking forward to seeing all of you at 11 a.m. on Saturday.  And don’t forget, we wil also have our December Holiday Party with gifts for everyone brought to you by Santa himself!

This Saturday will be at Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind at 1850 W. Roosevelt Road in Chicago on the corner of Roosevelt Road and Wood Avenue.

See you all on Saturday.

The CDBA Team

CDBA, Are you getting hungry?

Hello DeafBlind community!

First, we apologize for the delay in this message.  Our website was down, but we are now up and running again.   We hope it will be stable this time.  So, let’s get started with upcoming news.

Last month was an amazing success with Humanware coming to our event and we were able to play with the new DeafBlind videophone.   Lots of people were excited and are interested in getting for themselves.  If you haven’t tried it yet, send us an email and we’ll try to arrange a demonstration for you.

Our next big event will be on November 18th.  It will be time for our annual Thanksgiving Luncheon.  We are going to do the same thing as last year…  Potluck Turkey dinner.  CDBA will be providing the turkey and beverages.  We ask you all to bring something delicious.  We had so much amazing delicious foods to try out last year!  We want to do the same again.    Please send us an email with your planned potluck contribution.

After the luncheon, we will have our Paratransit Public Forum.  As some of you know, CDBA has been working with PACE and legal representatives to resolve issues about accessbility for DeafBlind riders of paratransit.   In our next step, we need for you all to voice your concerns about your experiences so we can properly document it and help to make improvements in the PACE paratransit system for all of you!

For December, we will have our annual December Holiday Party.  Yes, the rumors are true…  The DeaefBlind Santa has already promised he will come by and bring gifts for everyone.   That event will be on December 9th.  More details about this event will come soon.

Remember, CDBA events are open to everyone.  That means you can bring your family, your kids, your parents, your friends.  And we welcome newcomer DeafBlind people too!

For our November 18 event, it will be held at the Chicago Lighthouse at 1850 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL     From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.   If you will have a driver, be sure to tell the driver to pick you up no later than 3 p.m.

Please do let us know if you are coming, if possible.   Send an email to

We also welcome volunteer SSPs and interpreters.  If you would like to be a volunteer SSP or would like to learn more about how to become an SSP, please send us an email!

See you all on Novemer 18th with empty bellies!


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   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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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


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

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

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!

CBDA March Meeting Update: More parking available at Chicago Lighthouse

Good Evening,

If you need to find more parking space while attending CBDA March Meeting at ICRE. Joann Rushing and Chicago Lighthouse has graciously offered more space at Chicago Lighthouse if you are unable to find parking anywhere else.

Look forward seeing you all!

Vice President

Jason Salerno

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