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Making Sense: August 2020

Making Sense is made possible in part from donations by our readers. Second Sense thanks Horizons for the Blind for the braille transcriptions of Making Sense.

These articles are not an endorsement by Second Sense. Editor: Kathy Austin

Please note: Screen reader users can use the quick key letter “H” to navigate article by article.  You can also use your screen readers’ headings list keystroke   for a list of article topics.

CONTENTS

We are Here to Support You
RP Meet Up
Apple Exchange is Back!
Need some Technology Assistance?
Facebook Accessibility Research
Progress Center Provides Financial Assistance
GoGo Grandparent Ride Service
Online Orientation and Mobility Course
Hadley’s Turns 100 Years Old
If your Household Hasn’t Responded to the 2020 Census
November General Election
Are You Happy with Your Living Arrangements?

We are Here to Support You

While we are treading carefully through these uncertain times, our Second Sense staff are here to provide support.  We can answer questions, provide tips and suggest solutions for frustrating problems.  Our instructors can give you the training you need over the phone.  Coming soon, we will offer group programs remotely to help keep you connected.  Our website calendar will have updates on these upcoming programs.  Our Product Center is available for basic needs by mail order only.  Please call the office to discuss your product needs.  This is a difficult time for all of us, but your health and safety, and the health and safety of all staff and volunteers, are our number one concern.  Please bear with us and know we want to get back to providing the hands-on training you are accustomed to, just as soon as it is safe to do so.

RP Meet Up

It’s been some time, but we’re getting the gang back together!  On Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 7:00 pm, our RP group meets to talk about how you have been dealing with the coronavirus, troubles you have had and the unexpected silver linings that have come out of this time.  We’ll continue to meet on the second Tuesday of the month for the foreseeable future. Call the conference line at 312-582-2994, conference bridge 301 and pin 1111#.  To register, please call the office or email Kathy Austin.

Apple Exchange is Back!

Join us remotely for Apple Exchange on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm.  Cody is leading this month’s topic on BARD.  He will address the new iOS updates to BARD on the iPhone and answer your questions.  Check in at the appointed time and get ready to explore this valuable, free reading library.  To register, please call the office or email Kathy Austin.

Need some Technology Assistance?

If you are in need of some iPhone training or have some issues with screen readers or Victor Reader Stream, our volunteer tech tutor, Marv, is available to help.  Marv is available by appointment via remote phone call on Thursdays, beginning Aug. 6.  To make an appointment, please call our office at 312-236-8569 to schedule a time.  Please provide your phone number and Marv will contact you at the appointed time.  Appointments are limited to one hour.

Facebook Accessibility Research

Are you a screen reader user who also is active on Facebook?  Do you struggle with the accessibility of their website?  The User Experience team at Facebook wants to better understand how screen reader users interact with, and navigate, their platform.  Their goal is to make screen reader users experience easier and more enjoyable.  If you live in the Chicago or Denver area, you can participate in an ongoing accessibility research study taking place now through 2021.  You can earn $200, and possibly more, by giving your feedback.  Complete this survey to see if you qualify.  Please mention that Second Sense sent you and we will receive a donation for the referral!

Progress Center Provides Financial Assistance

The Progress Center  for Independent Living in Forest Park, IL can provide financial support to people with disabilities who may be struggling during the pandemic.  The fund is designated to provide support towards rent, mortgages, utility bills or household essentials.  To learn more, contact garnold@progresscil.org.

GoGo Grandparent Ride Service

You don’t have to be a grandparent to use GOGO Grandparent!  This is a good service if you don’t have a smart phone or don’t want to use the Uber or Lyft app.  Using GoGo Grandparent when you are visually impaired can take away the hassle of contacting your Uber or Lyft driver to find the vehicle.  GoGo Grandparent can do this for you.  The service has established new membership plans with varying degrees of benefits.  The basic membership provides custom pick up locations, use of voice commands and alerts to family about your location.  The Gold plan includes door to door driver assistance, prescription pick up and more.  A new feature to the service is Go Go Gourmet and Grocery delivery.  All plans have a monthly fee and   concierge charge on mileage and meal and grocery deliveries.  To learn more, call 855-464-6872.

Online Orientation and Mobility Course

The San Francisco Lighthouse is offering a six-week orientation and mobility course for people 55 years and older.  This course is perfect for someone who is new to cane travel or is interested in brushing up on existing skills.  Taught by certified orientation and mobility instructors, the comprehensive course covers a wide range of fundamentals including orientation strategies, human guide, protective techniques and long cane basics.  Also covered are street crossings and intersection analysis; spatial and sensory awareness; public transit and trip planning.  You must have a solid Internet connection, good computer skills to access articles, podcasts and the Zoom conferencing platform.  Cost of the program is $990 with scholarships available.  Course meets twice a week for six weeks from Aug. 17 to Sept. 23.  For more details, visit the Lighthouse’s “Get Moving” webpage.

Hadley’s Turns 100 Years Old

Hadley has a new look with anew digital footprint!  Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired, established in 1920, is changing with the times.  They are a great resource for anyone new to vision loss or for those looking to expand their knowledge about living independently.  Not only do they still have their helpful how-to videos – from adjusting to vision loss to using an iPhone or smart speaker — you can now connect to a live person for support and to have your questions answered.  You can set up your personal settings to help you see the site better, too.  If you haven’t ever visited Hadley, or haven’t checked it out in a while, take a moment to visit to see what’s new.

If your Household Hasn’t Responded to the 2020 Census

Beginning in early August, Census enumerators will be knocking on the doors of those households who have yet to respond to the 2020 Census.  Even during the pandemic, people were responding via mail, phone and online, but the response rate in Illinois is only 62%.  We will lose valuable representation in Congress and federal funds that support the services you may need in the future.  If a Census enumerator knocks on your door, please welcome them – they live in your neighborhood and they are doing their best, in very trying circumstances, to make sure we have a 100% count of Illinoisans.  To learn more about the Census and where the enumerators will be traveling, visit the Census 2020 Hard to Count/Response Rate Map webpage.

November General Election

Due to COVID19 and the risk of spreading the virus, Illinois is encouraging voters to vote by mail for the upcoming November general election.  Voting by mail does present issues for people with vision loss to cast a private ballot.  Using an accessible voting machine ensures you know who you voted for.  Voting by mail reduces the risk of contracting the virus or inadvertently spreading it.  You are the one who must way the risks and benefits of voting in person or by mail.  If you decide to vote by mail, you can request a vote by mail application via email, online, mail or in person.  After your application has been approved, you will receive a ballot returned to you by mail.  In Cook County, you can email the Cook County Clerk or call 312-603-0946.  Outside of Cook County, call 217-782-4141 or visit the Illinois Board of Elections vote by mail webpage.  You may also check with your local municipality for paper vote by mail applications.

Are You Happy with Your Living Arrangements?

New Beginnings for the Blind and Visually Impaired is an upcoming solution for affordable housing with the support and training people with vision loss may require to remain independent.  Started by Marc Overton, a Second Sense client, his goal is to provide studio and one bedroom apartments with kitchenettes at affordable rent where people can socialize, receive training and live independently.  Marc has over 25 years experience in the building and construction industry along with a degree in marketing and experience in finance.  Marc is in the process of writing grants and acquiring property suitable for this purpose and is asking for your help by completing a short survey.  To receive a copy of the survey, please email Kathy Austin.  The survey can be completed on the Word doc and returned to Kathy.  We will forward on all the responses to Marc.   You can learn more about New Beginnings BVI by visiting their website.