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 email@example.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
Celebrate Your Dash!
By: Wanda Williford
Biting a warm and gooey marshmallow fresh off the Weber, strolling the AC Boardwalk with the aroma of roasted peanuts in the air, and belting out Prince’s ‘1999’ in the car with 3 relatives on our way to visit another relative, is my idea of what great summer memories are made of. Thankfully, this year, we all have an opportunity to enjoy the summer surrounded by friends, family and loved ones creating precious memories.
Recently, while listening to the radio, I heard the DJ say the most important part of a tombstone inscription isn’t even a word. It’s the dash between our birth and death, because that tiny little dash represents the entirety of our lives. The remainder of the beautifully carved calligraphy only accounts for 2 days, and we should focus on the dash and living with purpose. So, I took my hands out of the warm soapy dish water, dried them, and sat down for a moment to ponder what I had just heard. It really made me think deeply about what we all have survived these past eighteen months and how we should be living to fill our dashes with unbridled joy. We deserve it!
Now that we have lived through a once in a hundred-year pandemic, quarantined, worn an itchy face mask, eaten way too much banana bread, experienced Zoom fatigue, been afraid to touch your own groceries, worn a hole in your favorite sweatpants, hoarded 4 dozen rolls of toilet paper and gone too long without hugging that friend. (And yes, I admit to doing all that wackiness). How are you going to celebrate and live your dash? Take a moment, contemplate, and get to work doing whatever sparks joy for you, moments big and small. Whether that is taking that long awaited vacation or simply walking mask free in the park, do it! As for me, there are definitely smores, loud road trips and ocean boardwalks on the agenda for my summer of 2021 dash.
Do not miss our July Quarterly meeting. We are thrilled to host a group of talented, smart, and delightful individuals, as guest speaker. Who checks all of those boxes? You! That’s right you. We’re shaking things up and celebrating us, in addition to honoring the Bernard Zuckerman Scholarship awardees. We will conduct a discussion reflecting on our pandemic experiences and your thoughts on being a blind or visually impaired person living in the 21st century. Please join us for what will sure to be a lively, interesting, and memorable conversation. We want to celebrate your dash. On Saturday, July 31, 2021, please call (605) 468-8005, passcode 425373 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Our July Quarterly meeting will be held by conference call on Saturday, July 31st, 2021 from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM.
Call 605-468-8005, passcode 425373.
In this issue, we will get to know our very own, James “Jimmy” Dougherty. He is the quintessential “Jersey Boy”, that wonderful combination of intelligence, hard work and magical NJ talent. Jim joined the New Jersey Council of the Blind in the mid-90s. He has served on the NJCB Executive Board and numerous committees, over the years. Currently, he is chair of the Nominating committee.
Visually impaired since birth due to a congenital eye disease, Jim has led an active life committed to pursuing his passions. Born in New Brunswick and raised in Metuchen, Jim attended public school. He earned a degree in Psychology from what is now known as Kean University in NJ. A drummer at heart and deed, he played professionally with his band the ‘Rhythm Riders’ for 18 years, while simultaneously maintaining a career with the NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. During his 27 years with the Commission, he worked as a rehab teacher, vocational counselor, and assistant manager of the Joseph Kohn Training Center. Jim’s dedication to the causes and organizations within the blind community are evident in the amount of time he volunteers and offices he has held. He has served on the State Rehabilitation Council, President of the Music Association for the Visually Impaired Students and as President of the Lions Club, just to name a few.
Currently, Jim is a retiree splitting his time between NJ and Sun City Center, Florida. Let’s get to know more about this “Snowbird” in 20 questions.
What do Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Dougherty have in common? All of them are talented musicians from the great state of NJ, and I had the honor to interview only one. My conversation with Jimmy was filled with laughter and music, 2 of my favorite things. We sang and hummed tunes trying to recall artists and titles. He shared his love of country music and we agreed, Patsy Cline was the best voice in Country. Jim’s list of accomplishments is impressive and worthy of praise, however, his attitude is one of humility and service to others. Despite the fact he spends part of the year in “Margaritaville” relaxing on the lanai, he will always be a “Jersey Boy” through and through. Rock on Jim!
The Mind Body Power Visionaries is sponsoring a support group meeting on July 19 from 10 AM to noon. Our guest speaker will be Veronica Stoker who has recently done some absolutely wonderful yoga sessions over the phone
Veronica is a 200-hour certified yoga instructor with training from the Kripalu Institute. She is currently working to finish her 500-hour certification with the Sacred Lasya center for advanced vinyasa training. Veronica has over 10 years of teaching experience and 20 years in personal practice with yoga, mindfulness, meditation and other spirit-mind-body techniques. She is visually impaired and is recently gaining attention in the blind and low vision community as a yoga and mindfulness coach uniquely qualified to guide such practices for persons with limited vision. Veronica pays particular attention to cultivating mindfulness of body, breath, mind and consciousness to deepen internal awareness and skillful communication between these areas of self to enhance overall alignment and well-being.
The session is free all you need is a telephone. The benefits of yoga or many for anyone who is interested this could be a really interesting time spent. If you are interested, please call Pat Kay at 732-261-5881. I will give you the codes for the free conference call.
Alt text: Picture of a small, grey pair of glasses being held by someone’s fingertips. Through the glasses, you can see letters and numbers on an eye chart. The rest of the eye chart is obscured.
Vision loss changes how you look at the world, physically and figuratively.
You can see little to nothing of the things you’ve always taken for granted. It can also make you wonder where you fit into the world as your identity changes. Before, you were an employee. A parent. A friend. Now, you’re a displaced employee. A blind parent. A friend who needs a guide dog or cane to get around the mall.
Navigating this new world takes new skills, but the most important one is embodied by a word I learned only recently: Sitzfleisch.
This German word, literally translated, means sitting meat, another term for “buttocks.” This isn’t the start of a dirty joke, not to worry! It means you possess the ability to endure and stay focused during a difficult situation. That you sit your tuchus in the chair and get the job done.
For example, as I’m writing this article, my cat is nudging my leg, as if to say, “Feed me! Play with me! Come on!” At the same time, my neighbor is having her first post-pandemic yard sale, complete with honking cars and haggling customers. How can you argue with someone over a pair of jeans that already only costs one dollar?
Behind my house, a lawn mower is whirring and neighborhood kids are jumping on a trampoline. Peace and quiet in the suburbs! But this is just life, and we adjust, all day, every day.
I take a deep breath and deal with the distractions in steps: Open the window so my cat can scope out the pair of bluebirds who swoop past the screen and taunt him daily. Move to the kitchen, which is farther away from the noise of the yard sale, and continue to write. Sitzfleisch in action! As for the mower and the trampoline troop? Some things you just have to learn to tune out.
So maybe adjusting to vision loss involves flexing the same internal muscles we already use to adjust to these vicissitudes of life. Finding a way to endure while gathering information on resources that may help you. Leaning on those you can trust for support. Adapting to new ways of doing things you’ve always done.
It will help to learn how to effectively audio-describe your own life. This will quantify what you need from agencies and individuals who help the visually-impaired. Do you have partial vision but sun glare is an issue? You may need protective glasses. Do you have total vision loss but love to read? Books on tape will add to your quality of life.
Do you like to knit, but can’t see well enough now, and don’t want to poke yourself in the eye with a sharp stick? Consider round-loom knitting. You’ll be back to making hats to give away for the holidays before you know it. They might be lumpy and misshapen at first, but you can always give those hats to your frenemies!
Being aware of your needs as a person with vision loss gives you an advantage over those who are fully-sighted, many of whom take their sight for granted. I’ve coined a term for this: Sight Privilege. Most couldn’t imagine living a full, rich life without sight. But it is possible, and we do almost all the things we used to do, just in a different way.
So in my own little, long-winded way, I’d like to encourage you all to defy Sight Privilege and use your Sitzfleisch to carry you through the changes of vision loss. Life may look different to you now, but you’re up to the challenge.
The interview and decision-making process is currently underway for the 2021-22 Bernard Zuckerman Scholarship Awards. The winners will be announced at our July 31st Quarterly Meeting. Please plan to attend to give our winners your support and congratulations!
The organization remains closed. There are no updates at this time.
Peace and well-being to everyone from The MCAB Family near and far.
We pray that everyone has been safe, enjoying the best of health and life.
We’re still holding Virtual phone meetings the 3rd Thursday of the month at 7:00 PM. For the month of February our financial advisor was on the conference call to explain MCAB’s Finances as of date. For the month of May, Out Reach Librarian, Stephen Fell from The NJ Talking Book & Braille Center enlightened our membership of the wonderful services that organization provides for the visually impaired and blind.
And lastly, before our Summer Break, for the month of June our guest speaker will be Magdalena (Maggie) Felton. A registered nurse in the healthcare industry for the past 22 years. For the past 8 years, she has worked as a clinical nurse educator at Vanda providing education and awareness about Non 24 to members of our blind and visually impaired community.
With much relief this Pandemic is easing across the Country and I’m happy to say our membership is delighted that MCAB will be holding its annual picnic on August 7, in person but still observing safety precautions. The picnic will be held at Elks Lodge 105, 42 Decou Ave., Trenton, NJ 08628. From 12:00 PM until 4:00 PM. It will be inside their large Hall and the food will be catered. Members in good standing are free, everyone else $5.00 ea. It is open to everyone. We just ask that you call my number so the caterers know the number of people – call number (609)695-4203.
I talked to Pastor Brian of the Trinity United Methodist Church at 1985 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ 08618. MCAB meets the third Thursday from September through June from 7:00 Pm to 9:00 PM. Although, Pastor Brian mentioned to me that they had some water damage. He said everything will be fixed up by September. I told him that’s great because MCAB would like to resume regular meetings in September.
Submitted by Mustafaa Shabazz, MCAB President
During our October Quarterly meeting, NJCB will hold elections for our Executive Board. We currently have a Slate of candidates willing to fill the positions 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 me at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than August 31st. We will also accept nominations from the floor for any open position. Anyone being nominated must have been approached beforehand.
Nominating Committee Chair
Section 1 - President
Section 2 - First Vice-President
Section 3 - Second Vice-President
Section 4- Secretary
Section 5 - Treasurer
I am saying goodbye to my Microsoft Dell computer. However, I have a number of peripherals that could use a new home and are in very good shape.
Here’s what is free for a deserving person.
Again, these are available for free to someone who can use them. They are all in very good shape. If interested or for questions, please call Pat Kay at 732-261-5881
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 email@example.com. Please note all posts must be related to activities relating to your membership with NJCB or its affiliates. The page is https://www.facebook.com/groups/2255314534793147/. Just search for New Jersey Council of the Blind in Facebook.
Saturday October 23rd Time and Location TBD
Saturday January 22nd Time and Location TBD
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.
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Make check payable to NJCB and send to:
Treasurer- Steven Sowa
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