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

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.


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 (She is Hearing.)

Her supervisor is Gia Mac.  You can contact Gia at 773-257-6597 and her email is  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


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 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
  • 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 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

Winter Ceramics Class

Here is a great way to keep busy during these cold winter months by doing some fun activities.   The Chicago Park District is holding  Ceramics classes every Thursday for 10 weeks beginning on January 12.   This class is focused for those who are visually-impaired.  Best of all, the class only cost $13 for the whole ten weeks!   WOW… what a great deal!

The $13 fee is for residents of Chicago city.  If you live outside of the city, then the fee is $26.  Still pretty cheap!

If you require SSPs or interpreters, it is your responsibility to contact Timothy Owens at the Park District.  He works for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program.  His email is  You can also contact him if you have other questions.    LeCOBDA is working with the Chicago Park District to expand more accessible programs for DeafBlind people.  Please do show your support for better programs by signing up for this fun class.

This class is held every Thursday from January 12 to March 16.  The address is:

Atheltic Field Park is at 3625 N. Central Park in Chicago, IL  60618  It is very close to the Blue line Addison station.

Hope to see you there!

Catharine A. Papish

Dear Community,


Many of you may remember Catharine A. Papish, who was the Helen Keller National Center Regional as Assistant to the Region 5 states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

We have recently been informed that Catharine was in a tragic automobile accident on Saturday, November 26 in Kentucky.   Services were held today, Friday December 2, in East Moline, IL and she was interred at St. Mary’s Mausoleum, also in East Moline, IL.

Catharine is survived by her husband, Vincent Papish, a daughter named Trinity, and a son named Dustin.   She also had several grandchildren and many neices and nephews.

Catharine was born in 1958 and was married in 1993.  She was 58 years old at the time of her passing.

We join in expressing our deepest condolences to the Papish family in this time of deep sorrow and sudden loss.  She is fondly remembered by many in the DeafBlind community over the years for her work in ensuring that members of the community receive access to services.   And we extend our condolences to the HKNC family, and particularly to Laura J. Thomas, who worked closely with Catharine for many years as Regional Representative, as well as to Judy Knisely who is the current Regional Representative for Region 5 and also has worked closely with Catharine.


2016 Holiday Party is Coming!

We had an amazing Thanksgiving party.   Nearly 80 people came to the party and we had so much awesome homemade foods.   That’s the most delicious kind of food!    And kids and lots of good chats and discussions.

Now, 2016 Holiday party is coming.  It will be on December 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  We will have pizza and fun activities.   For desserts, please bring your favorite Holiday recipe.  We want to taste your awesome cookies, cakes, etc.    And we will have a fun contest with the desserts.

It is so much fun when we all contribute together.   You are all making 2016 such a wonderful success.

And Santa knows this and… shh…  Santa will be there with gifts!  So, you better be good!

Please notify to let us know if you are coming.   As always, we also need volunteer SSP and interpreters. But we promise, this will be a light event.  Its more about fun and relaxation!

When: December 10, 2016 from 11:00 to 3:00

Where:  Chicago Lighthouse, 1850 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago

A Day of Healing

As you all know, America has elected a new President.  For man of us in the disability rights community and other communities of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual preferences, this is a traumatic experience.   Across the country, many are gathering to support and grieve together.

This Saturday, the focus of our Thanksgiving meal will be on the support to each other that we all need at this time of immense challenge.   The theme “Gobble for Unity” is still the same, but now is even more important.

We have many RSVPs so far and a delicious meal planned.  Please, if you have not yet,  send an email to to confirm that you are coming, if you are bringing any foods, and also if you need a ride from Metra station.

We also will need more SSP volunteers. We have many now but we anticipate needing more due to this news.   If anyone wishes to be an SSP and join us in our community support and process, please do contact


THank you,

Bryen M Yunashko — President, LeCOBDA

Gobble For Unity!

What an amazing 2016 so far.  But 2016 not over yet. Our Chicago Area DeafBlind Forum⊆ was a-m-a-z-i-n-g.   So much ove and support for each other.  This is just the beginning.

November 12 is our next LeCOBDA gathering.    This is an important meeting, because we will have lawyers from Access Living come to hear your concerns about paratransit and public transportation issues.  You all spoke out about it at the Forum and now people are listening to us.  This is positive move forward!

After the Paratransit Forum, we will celebrate with a special Thanksgiving meal called “Gobble for Unity!”   Why?  Because we want to remember the past and move for the future together.   In the old days, did you know LeCOBDA members would always potluck their meetings?   That is UNITY!   We want to remind you all that community means unity.

The officers of LeCOBDA will be making many turkeys and bring to the meeting.  We will CARVE the turkeys like a real thanksgiving dinner at our meeting.  Who will fight for wishbone?  We are asking you all to volunteer to bring your favorite side dishes, appetizers, or desserts.     Isn’t that fun?

Also, remember, at the forum, we said we want to support family and children.  The meetings are open and welcome to everyone, including your families and your children. We will have some activities to have fun times for the children.  So bring them with you.

We need to know how many turkeys we must make.  So please send an email to   Let our secretary, Suzanne Salerno know how many people you will bring and what kind of dishes you want to bring.

The event starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m.   Please arrange to have your transportation meet you after 3 p.m.   Address is Chicago Lighthouse at 1850 W. Roosevelt Road, in Chicago, IL.

Let’s Gobble!!!

The Officers of LeCOBDA

Don’t Forget to Vote!

We want to remind you that it is important to vote on or before November 8th.  You have right to be part of American Democracy!  Your vote means you are telling government what you want.

You can vote on Tuesday, November 8 at your official polling location near your home, or you can vote early.  Early voting can be through mail-in ballot or at special locations such as libraries.    Make sure you learn who are the candidates.  We are not just voting for President and Vice President.  We are also voting for Senator and House of Representatives and many important local elections.

Don’t know who is on your ballot?   Want to know where to go to vote?  Want to make sure you are registered to vote?  You can do all that by visiting   (Note:  This website is not tested yet for braille accessibility.  If you need assistance, you may contact one of us at LeCOBDA and we can get the information and e-mail to you. Just send an email to and tell us your mailing address so we can match to your voting location.)


Be a proud DeaefBlind American!   Vote!

Stay tuned for more exciting news from LeCOBDA coming VERY soon!

The LeCOBDA Officers