THE BULLETIN

of the

San Mateo County Council of the Blind

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Jan.-Feb. 2002 Vol. 3 No. 1

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President's Message

by Frank Welte

We now live in the information age, a world awash in facts and figures where success will not be measured by the amount of land or money that one owns, but by one's ability to manage information. Many of us rely on computers to access and manage information. However, computers can be complicated and difficult to use. It would be nice to get information from a simpler source, like your phone? Several companies make it easy to get information over the phone. Some services even let you use your phone like a computer, sending e-mail and surfing the web. Rod Brathwait, the speaker at our next meeting, represents Foundation 21, one of these new phone information companies. He will tell us of his company's information services.

At our next meeting I shall tell you about the status of the efforts of the California Council of the Blind, and other organizations in the blindness field, to set-up a separate state agency to serve blind Californians. A carload of SMCCB members attended a hearing on this topic at the state capitol in Sacramento on January 15. You can help us encourage our state legislators to support the proposed law, SB 105, which will create this new agency. Our legislators need to hear from you. Call me for information about how to contact the appropriate state Assembly members and Senators.

I was delighted by the large turn-out at our January meeting. We shared many good ideas for future meeting speakers and other activities, copies of SMCCB's new information brochure were distributed, and we completed other important business.

The spring convention of the CCB will take place Thursday, May 2 to Sunday, May 5 at the San Mateo Marriott Hotel at 1770 South Amphlett Boulevard. Our Chapter will host the convention hospitality suite, co-ordinate convention volunteers and find ministers to give invocations at convention sessions.

Continued on the next page

Note the following dates.

Saturday, February 2, 11:30 A.M. SMCCB meeting

Saturday, March 2, 11:30 A.M. SMCCB meeting

Saturday, April 6, 11:30 A.M. SMCCB meeting

Thursday, May 2 - Sunday, May 5, CCB spring convention, San Mateo Marriott Hotel

Saturday, June 1, 11:30 A.M. SMCCB meeting

Saturday, June 29 - Saturday, July 6, ACB convention, Houston, Texas (no SMCCB meeting)

Saturday, August 3, noon - 4:00 P.M. SMCCB picnic, Twin Pines Park, Belmont

Saturday, September 7, 11:30 A.M. SMCCB meeting

Saturday, October 5, 11:30 A.M. SMCCB meeting

October, 2002, SMCCB Tenth Anniversary Banquet

Thursday, October 31 - Sunday, November 3, CCB Fall Convention, Atrium hotel, Irvine, CA

Saturday, November 16, 11:30 A.M. SMCCB meeting

Saturday, December 7, noon - 3:00 P.M. SMCCB Holiday Party

Our meetings are on the first Saturday of the month at 11:30 A.M. at the Bank of America Branch at El Camino Real and Third Avenue in San Mateo. For further information, contact Frank Welte at (650) 508-8329 or send e-mail to: fwelte@sbcglobal.net.

SMCCB Begins 2002 Season As an Exhibitor at the CSM Volunteer Fair

This will be the first exhibition of the new year. We hope to surpass last year when we exhibited at four events: two at CSM and one each at Mills Hospital and at San Francisco JCC.

Involved in the planning, set-up and manning the booths were President Frank Welte, Pui and Wei Chan, Bill Hobson and Phil Kutner.

The Exhibits covered 8-foot tables and consisted of handouts of our own chapter and material from several national organizations.

SMCCB Will Launch Its Annual Chocolate-Bar Fundraiser

At this upcoming February meeting Bill Hobson again will take orders for our major fundraiser. The bars cost us 50 and we sell them for a dollar. Last year Judy Hemmer sold many bars at her church.

Other excellent selling situations occurred at the super market where Frank Welte and Bill Hobson weathered the cold. Finally excellent sales were held at a table in the CSM Student Center. Bill Hobson and Pui Chan and Phil Kutner manned the table. So be prepared to tell Bill How many bars you hope to sell.

The Dynamics of Networking–A Personal Experience

The full value of networking is not appreciated by many of us. We often ask for advice or assistance in our daily activities. If we ask directions at a bus stop and only one other person is there our information is limited to that person's knowledge. If more than one person is there, our odds are greatly improved.

The job market is a perfect example. If one is looking for a position, one might look at the help-wanted ads in the paper, write application letters, make calls to prospective employers, attend job fairs, etc. However, the best contacts are the personal ones. Knowing the person doing the hiring makes a big difference.

We each have several, personal networks. There is our family, circle of friends, neighbors, clubs, and for some, a religious institution. Our SMCCB is one such network.

This leads to the point that your editor is making. This is the story of his personal experience since joining SMCCB. He has been part of the networks mentioned in the last paragraph, but none is of any help for his visual impairment. Since joining SMCCB, not only has his knowledge of his disability been greatly increased but his ability to cope has been greatly improved.

An increased membership has meant an increased network of new friends. In the last two years our membership has grown to 35 and when the 4 applications come in we shall be approaching 40.

So what has this networking meant? All of the following have occurred and are due 100% to contacts made from the SMCCB network.

First, your editor was informed of the great assistive technology program at CSM and he has been taking courses there.

Second, through the efforts of another member he has become a commissioner on the County Commission of the Disabled.

Third, thanks to our President, you editor learned of the wonderful state and national conventions. He attended the last national one in Des Moines, Iowa and will go to the next one in Houston, Texas. They have been very informative and enjoyable.

Fourth, the programs at the meetings are very informative and have greatly added to his knowledge of coping with his visual impairment.

Fifth, are the new friendships. Practically, one cannot be close with every member, but your editor has become very close with six. For a membership fee of ten dollars a year--this is a bargain!!

SMCCB Speaker's Bureau

Our Chapter's Speaker's Bureau has been under-utilized. For our members– it is a reminder. If you have not listed your topics, please do so. If one of the other groups or places of worship, to which you belong, is interested in a top-notch speaker, please let us know.

Since this newsletter is sent to other organizations and libraries, it may be the first time they are aware of our services. For SMCCB it is a great way of getting our message out that we are a resource to those who have vision problems and those who interested in aiding us in our quest to spread the message that our disability is only another challenge which we can overcome.

Let's be specific about the kind of programs our bureau can offer. First they are geared to the age and interests of the group. We have addressed elementary school up through service organizations and at volunteer and health fairs.

One very popular theme is our guide dogs. Emergency Planning is another topic that is very much in the limelight. Coping with vision loss especially in the aging process is appropriate for many groups. Because some of our members are computer "experts", this area of the disabled is also very popular.

Our speakers will not receive any pay--we ask only that an honorarium be sent to our chapter.

The Bulletin

San Mateo Council of the Blind

Phil Kutner: Editor

1128 Tanglewood Way,

San Mateo, CA 94403

Web Site: www.smccb.org