Shared Visions Fall 2014

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Shared Visions

Fall 2014

In 1999, Steve Nakagawa, who was new to vision loss, came to Vista Center seeking assistance. Ultimately it was Vista Center who ended up seeking Steve’s assistance in implementing new projects.
Steve was so grateful and appreciative of the services and support he received from Vista Center. He had his initial intake with Jo Jaros, a Low Vision Evaluation with Dr. Selma Chin, Orientation and Mobility lessons from Laura Michels and computer classes from Carole Cyr. He regained and maintained his independence through our services. He experienced firsthand how Vista Center can change people’s lives. Thus began his journey with Vista Center.
In 2003, Steve joined Vista Center’s Board of Directors. His legacy of giving back to Vista Center continued for over ten years as a volunteer. During his six years as a board member, Steve was also instrumental in working with staff on the development, planning and opening of the Store at Vista Center. He was the Store Manager until 2010 when we asked him to help us find ways to link our clients with access technology. His volunteer service in this arena was his


passion. As our Access Technology Resource Manager, his mission was to motivate, educate, and inspire clients about using access technology not only to maintain their independence, but also to encourage and excite them about their capabilities and about learning new ways of doing things.

Steve was pivotal in the development of our Visually Impaired Persons Technology User Conference (VIPTUC). His close association with local and national vendors for assistive technology contributed to the success of the VIPTUC. He scheduled our 3rd VIPTUC for May 16, 2015. He was also the go-to person for input on new products by Google, Samsung and Barnes & Noble as well as being asked by Yahoo and eBay to test their web sites for accessibility. Steve shared his extensive knowledge of technology with Vista Center clients and staff. His expertise and facility with a wide range of products, and understanding of all the ways they can empower people who are blind or visually impaired, have greatly enriched our services as well as the lives of our clients.
Again, Steve came to Vista Center seeking assistance. What he ultimately did was provide Vista Center with successful programs: The Store, Tech User Groups, Access Technology Lab Days, VIPTUC, information and referral for technological products and services, and many side projects that he worked on with clients and staff along with his involvement in the blind and visually impaired community. Steve’s legacy is all of the above. Most importantly, to so many of us who knew Steve personally, his legacy is in the wonderful, caring, warm and generous person he was and the imprint he left on all of those lives he’s touched.

SHARED VISIONS Page 3 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In March of 2014, 21 clients of Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired signed up for a Fitness Challenge, sponsored by the United States Association of Blind Athletes. During the past eight months, each participant has worn a Nike fuel band to monitor their physical activity throughout the day, enabling each person to track their progress along with that of their peers.

Since July, the group has had opportunities to hike in some of our nearby parks and nature preserves, including Big Basin and the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve. The guided hikes were planned and led by David Emanuel, a long-term Orientation and Mobility Instructor for Vista Center. The outings were a wonderful opportunity to explore nature and experience the exhilarating feeling of being active in the great outdoors. The participants felt satisfied with their accomplishment as well as a chance to get to know fellow hikers in a relaxed setting.
Some of the active participants in the Fitness Challenge and frequent hikers offered the following comments on their participation:
The fuel band was a fun way to increase my activity and challenge myself. The hikes showed me I was capable of doing more than I thought possible! The camaraderie and friendships we made are invaluable!”

A great social experience and a chance to meet new friends, and the beginning of a new group that we hope continues on



in the future. David Emanuel was amazing in his coordination and excitement for these adventures.”

I loved the camaraderie and the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with others who love to walk, share stories, and laugh together.  Thanks to everyone who made this adventure possible.”  

As a person with significant physical limitations, this fuel band has done wonders for me. I have progressed from being very sedentary to consistently getting my activity level to one-half my age group average. My cardiologist is also happy with my progress.”

In addition to the outings, the group was invited to a free two-part workshop entitled “Healthy Eating for an Active Lifestyle” led by certified dietician Karen Ross who has led many workshops for Palo Alto Medical Foundation and other organizations.

Our group has formed some close bonds and continues to enjoy time together in the great outdoors. As we near the end of our program in November, our attention is turning to how we might continue the activities of social-recreation for our clients. We will be forming a broader social-recreation program in 2015. Are you interested in improving your physical fitness along with a fun-loving group of people living in our area? To express your interest about future activities, please call or email Alice McGrath at (650) 858-0202, ext. 130 or Let us know your ideas and future plans. It will be published in Shared Visions and posted on our web-site,

SHARED VISIONS Page 5 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________
If you are blind or visually impaired, enjoy cross-country skiing, or have a desire to learn, Sierra Regional Ski For Light (SRSFL) is the place for you. Participants ski alongside trained guides in parallel groomed trails. SRSFL is primarily a cross-country ski organization which encourages participants to learn the techniques of skiing. However, some participants enjoy the exercise of snowshoeing, and a limited number of snowshoe guides are also available. The goals of SRSFL are to encourage a life style that includes fitness, give people a safe and invigorating experience of the outdoors, and share an enthusiasm for cross country skiing.

Vista Center is seeking clients interested in participation. Simultaneously, we are looking for supporters to help cover the costs of this program. If you are interested in either participation or support, please contact: Alice McGrath at (650) 858-0202, ext. 130 / email or David Emanuel at (650) 858-0202, ext. 133 / email


Saturday Day Trips

January 24th, sign up deadline January 17th

February 7th, sign up deadline January 31st

March 21st, sign up deadline March 14th

Adults: $41 for trail pass and skis, $20 if you have skis. Seniors 60 to 69: $38 for trail pass and skis, $17 pass only. Age 70+: $26 for skis and trail pass, $5 pass only.



Saturday, February 28th - Monday, March 2nd, 2015.

Skiing at Tahoe Donner Cross Country, Truckee, CA.

Lodging at the Best Western Hotel in Truckee; CA.

Cost: $218 if you bring your own skis or snowshoes, $275 includes rental equipment. Age 70 or older: $183 if you bring your own equipment or $238 with rental equipment. Includes 2 nights lodging (double occupancy) in Truckee, 2 breakfasts (Sun. & Mon.), 2 dinners (Sat. & Sun.), and trail passes for all three days. Add $130 for a private room. Additional cost of lodging at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Rancho Cordova Friday night February 27th is $43 double, $86 single.

We are all settled into our new offices at 3200 Hillview Avenue in Palo Alto. Over 40 clients and visitors attended our Open House on October 17.  In addition, we have great news about transportation options to our office.

Outreach and Redi-Wheels are continuing their services to the interim location. Vista Center staff has been orienting clients to the new interim location. We have had group outings to travel there from the California Avenue/El Camino Real intersection via Stanford’s free Marguerite Shuttle service (R line), a 5-minute trip to the new building.

The Stanford’s free Marguerite Shuttle service (R line) runs every 20 minutes from 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM as a six-month trial.  We encourage all visitors to use this service to help validate the need for the mid-day shuttle.  Additional information about transportation and directions can be found



on our web site, including complete schedules.
Our Choices and Changes class is open to adults with visual impairment and their family members (if the client is enrolled) and is led by Vista Center's social services staff. This class introduces clients to services, equipment, and resources available to help in adjusting to vision loss, and increases understanding of the adjustment process.

The next set of classes will be offered the following Thursday mornings from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM: March 5th, March 12th, March 19th, and March 26th. If you are interested in attending, please call Jo Jaros at 650-858-0202 ext. 115 or Alyssa Brodeur at ext. 131.

We want to welcome a new member of the Access Technology Team at the Palo Alto office, Lorraine Brown, Access Technology Trainer. Lorraine has been an Access Technology Trainer for nearly 13 years.
Jan McKinley is now working with clients at our Santa Cruz office and therefore Lorraine is working Tuesdays and Thursdays at the 3200 Hillview Avenue office. We are very excited to have Lorraine join our Vista Center team!

3200 Hillview Avenue,

Suite 120

Palo Alto, CA 94304




How to Contact Us

Vista Center, Palo Alto Vista Center, Santa Cruz

3200 Hillview Avenue Ray Westman Branch

Suite 120 413 Laurel Street

Palo Alto, CA 94304 Santa Cruz, CA 95060

650-858-0202 831-458-9766

800-660-2009 Website:
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