NEWS FROM THE CENTER

Turkey Dinners Gobbled Up in Gales Ferry

Every November the Ledyard Lions Club hosts the Center’s monthly Dinner. It is one of the most anticipated events of the year. About 65 members and guests were served a sit-down meal beginning with a fruit cup and green salad. That was followed by full plates of oven-roasted turkey breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, butternut squash, biscuit, and cranberry sauce. We gobbled up a dessert of pumpkin pie while the tickets for the raffle prizes were drawn and hand-delivered to the happy winners. Thank you to all the generous people who donated the raffle prizes. There were a lot of happy winners!

Click here to see all the turkey dinner photos.

White Cane Breakfast a Big Success!

Stack of pancakes and coffee on red check tablecloth
Image by KamranAydinov on Freepik

“Orange juice at your ten o’clock position”, announced the young Coast Guard cadet, serving breakfast to a sightless member of the Center of the Blind.

The doors of VFW Post 189 in New London were open wide welcoming the community to the 2nd Annual White Cane Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, October 15. Roughly 130 people, including local dignitaries, brought family and friends from around Connecticut to enjoy pancakes, bacon, sausage, and eggs along with cinnamon rolls, coffee, and juice. 

“It’s people coming together to share conversation and good food as a community while supporting a phenomenal organization”, said John Baldwin of Norwich.

The white cane serves to symbolize the integration of visually impaired people everywhere as independent, productive members of society. White Cane Safety Day, (also known as “White Cane Awareness Day”), takes place every October 15.

“We owe a big thanks to Felix and his crew at the New London VFW, along with local Lions clubs and the businesses and volunteers throughout our area that make it possible for us to put on this fun event”, said Wendy Lusk, the Center’s Executive Director.

“It was an honor to have volunteers from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy helping out”, said Center vice president Kevin Harkins. “They are always front-and-center to assist with our bigger events”, Harkins said. It is one of the many ways these courageous men and women serve the people they protect.”

Member Christopher Million won the door prize of a BioMed Watch that can track his vital stats. Several other members won gift certificates from local restaurants. A big shoutout to member Tim Tryon for donating 18 dozen eggs for this event. Thank you to members Marni and Al Ouellette for assisting with the raffle ticket sales. They have an awesome method of tracking “hundreds” of ticket sales without writing your name on them

Fall-oween Crafts

On October 10, several members had a BOO! of a time creating ghosts from white cloth and gooey mod podge. These creations came out really cute. Visit our Facebook page to see the photos. While sipping cider, and eating goodies, the group enjoyed lots of jokes and fun and laughter as Monster Mash and Thriller played in the background.

Crafted cloth ghosts

Apple Picking at Holmberg’s Orchards

Martina and Gary looking for the perfect Honey Crisp apples at Holmberg's Orchards

A few intrepid souls braved the hottest day of the year to pick apples at Holmberg’s Orchards in Gales Ferry. Apple varieties included Macintosh, Macouns, and Honeycrisp. After a picnic lunch a visit to the store was in order. Who can pass up the delicious Holmberg’s apple crisp and hard cider?

Tammy picking apples at Holmberg's Orchards

The Healthy Living Festival at Dodd Stadium

On September 9, the Center participated in the Healthy Living Festival at Dodd Stadium. There were over 118 vendors taking part in the fair. We were fortunate to have a prime location under the concession stands and beautiful weather. A Boy Scout troop stopped by to inquire about our organization. As part of their program, they can earn more than 135 merit badges, one of which is a Disabilities Awareness Merit badge. Scouts learn about the experiences of someone with a disability, explain the significance of disability etiquette, and how it may differ depending on the specific disability. We invited the scouts to visit the Center to learn more about people with low vision or blindness.

Laura covers the Center's booth at the Healthy Living Festival at Dodd Stadium.

We’re on Display at Chelsea Groton Bank

Table Display at Chelsea Groton Bank

Each month Chelsea Groton Bank features a display from a non-profit organization in their lobby. This month we are in the Waterford branch. The touchable display includes a braille book and a braille machine as well as our tabletop presentation board explaining who we are. Brochures, membership forms, pens, and magnifiers are available for the bank patrons.

2nd Annual White Cane Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser

The South East Connecticut Community Center of the Blind 2nd Annual White Cane Pancake Breakfast will take place on Sunday, October 15, from 8 to 11 AM at the VFW Post 189, located at 110 Garfield Avenue in New London, CT 06320.  Tickets are $15 each, $5 for children up to ten years old, and are available by calling 860 447-2048.

This community breakfast brings people together to have a good time and get to know each other better”, said Wendy Lusk, Executive Director of the SE CT Community Center of the Blind.  Lusk says the white cane symbolizes the independence of blind and low-vision people as productive contributors to a healthy, diverse society.

Delicious Pancakes photo

The Sunday morning breakfast will feature pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, fruit, coffee and juice, along with fun and prizes.

Tickets for the White Cane Pancake Breakfast are likely to sell out, so order yours by calling 860 447-2048.

CT LAB Partners with Nine Connecticut Libraries

Headphones clamped around books

The Connecticut Library for Accessible Books (CT LAB) announced a new partnership with nine Connecticut public libraries who have volunteered and committed to serve as Connecticut Library for Accessible Books (CT LAB) hub libraries.  The aim of this new initiative is to spread information about CT LAB services and offer opportunities for patrons to engage with CT LAB closer to home. 

Each hub library is equipped with an informational display featuring CT LAB resources and services. The promotional materials are in large print and braille formats.  Hub libraries also feature Digital Talking Book players and cartridges available for in-library demonstrations.

In preparation, CT LAB conducted in-person training sessions for staff at each hub library so that they can answer basic questions about CT LAB and demonstrate how to use Digital Talking Book players and cartridges.  Looking ahead, CT LAB staff will collaborate with hub libraries to plan informational and training sessions on CT LAB and its offerings for new and current CT LAB patrons.

The public libraries serving as hub libraries are Bristol Public Library, Danbury Public Library, Darien Library, Killingly Public Library, Otis Library in Norwich, Simsbury Public Library, Slater Library in Jewett City, Stratford Library, and Weston Public Library.

A few items of note for current CT LAB patrons related to the hub libraries.    
* Patrons should continue to place all book requests with CT LAB by calling (860) 704-2220 or (800) 842-4516, or emailing csl.AccessibleBooks@ct.gov.  Hub Libraries are not equipped to fulfill book orders and requests.

* Patrons will continue to receive books and talking book players from CT LAB in the mail, as usual.

* Patrons have the option to pick up and return Talking Book cartridges and players at any of the hub library locations.  To schedule pick up at one of the hub libraries, please contact your CT LAB Reader’s Advisor.  Talking Book cartridges and players may be returned to any of the hub libraries with out prior arrangement. The hub libraries will forward all CT LAB materials returned to their locations to CT LAB in Middletown.

* CT LAB plans to work with the hub libraries to offer training and information sessions at the hub library locations.  CT LAB will share information with patrons as events are scheduled.

Please contact CT LAB at (860) 704-2220 or (800) 842-4516 if you have any questions.

The Connecticut Library for Accessible Books (CT LAB), formerly the Connecticut State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH), is a network library of the Library of Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS).  CT LAB lends books and magazines in audio and braille formats, for free, to any Connecticut resident who is unable to read regular print due to a visual, reading, or physical disability.

Readers register with CT LAB and materials are delivered to individuals via U.S. mail or are downloaded by patrons to their personal computers and mobile devices.  The NLS collection includes nonfiction, fiction, bestsellers, magazines, and the NLS music section.  Titles are available in a variety of world languages.  The collection is intended to appeal to patrons of all ages. 

Beautiful Day for a Picnic by the Sea

We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our picnic this year. The pavilions at Camp Harkness are a perfect place for our event. The sun was shining. The sky was blue and the air was comfortable. Members enjoyed hotdogs and hamburgers were expertly grilled by Chris and Tyler. In addition several members brought a rainbow of potluck dishes including salads, beans, and desserts. Everything was delicious. Kevin provided the smooth background music. After we ate, we played a few games of bingo with our wonderful callers, Almaz and Sofia. And no event is complete without a raffle, right? A good time was has by all.

Click here to see all the picnic pix.

Chelsea Groton Bank Grant Funds the Lunch & Learn Program

Miria Gray presents check to Wendy

Miria Gray, Community Education Director for Chelsea Groton Bank, presents Executive Director Wendy Lusk with a check for a grant to fund the Lunch & Learn Programs at the Center. In these monthly sessions, guest speakers educate members on a wide variety of topics including the latest in digital and accessibility solutions, energy conservation, artificial intelligence, and resources on aging. Afterwards, members are treated to a delicious lunch.