Thank You for Supporting the Redefining Vision Luncheon!

Our annual Redefining Vision Luncheon is the Lighthouse’s largest fundraising event of the year. This year, we welcomed over 220 guests to The Westin Seattle Hotel on Thursday, March 9th to celebrate the impact of the Lighthouse’s mission and success in the community. We raised over $126,000 for the continued support of accessible jobs, adaptive technology, and vital training programs for people who are blind, DeafBlind, and blind with other disabilities.

Keynote Speaker Jake Olson

Keynote Speaker Jake Olson

Guests had an opportunity to meet employees and engage in lively conversations with other attendees before the start of the program. In addition, guests had an exclusive opportunity to visit our display tables showcasing a selection of products manufactured by the Lighthouse in Seattle, Spokane, and Summerville. Also featured was a demonstration table hosted by Orientation and Mobility Specialists from our Employee and Community Services department.

Emcee Mark Wright

Emcee Mark Wright addresses the crowd

When the Luncheon program commenced, guests were treated to an inspiring and motivational program featuring KING5 news anchor Mark Wright as the emcee, blind athlete and inspirational speaker Jake Olson as our keynote speaker, and DeafBlind Lighthouse employee Jorge Aristizabal.

Mark Wright was a skilled and lively emcee, keeping the program engaging while sharing his how impressed he was with the Lighthouse after a recent tour. Jake Olson shared how he overcame losing his eye sight to cancer at age twelve and his journey to becoming a football player. He shared his inspirational philosophy, “that when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” You can learn more about this amazing young man by visiting his website www.openyoureyes.com.

Employee Speaker Jorge Aristizabal and an interpreter

Employee Speaker Jorge Aristizabal and an interpreter

The highlight of the afternoon was the Lighthouse’s very own Jorge Aristizabal who spoke about his time at the Lighthouse. He spoke of the positive influence the organization has had in people’s lives and how it has impacted him personally. He gave a spirited lesson in DeafBlind culturally appropriate applause which consists of stomping feet and banging on the tables in order to create vibrations that someone who is DeafBlind can feel.

It has become a tradition to debut a new video about the Lighthouse at the Redefining Vision Luncheon. This year’s video was inspired by the ways the Lighthouse is “making an impact,” featuring Lighthouse employees CNC Specialist Mike King, Contact Center Representative Meka White, and Accessibility Manager Antonio Rozier, along with Foundation Board members Katherine Perry, Barbra Ross, Doug Fischer, and Doug’s husband and Lighthouse donor Stephen Hadden. You can view the video here below:

We would like to thank everyone who joined us to support and celebrate our mission of creating and enhancing opportunities for independence and self-sufficiency of people who are blind, DeafBlind, and blind with other disabilities. To all our table captains and volunteers, we couldn’t have done this without you, thank you for your dedication and support. To our sponsors, thank you for your ongoing financial commitment to our mission, you help us sustain the work we do each and every day.

To everyone who donated, attended and lent their resources to the 2017 Redefining Vision Luncheon, we extend a heartfelt Thank You! Together we are making an impact for the future of the Lighthouse!

Thank You to All Our Redefining Vision Summer Garden Party Sponsors and In-Kind Contributors!

We are incredibly grateful for all of the generous gifts of cash and in-kind contributions to our Redefining Vision Summer Garden Party! Join us on Thursday, August 13th for a relaxing evening with great local food and drinks, a live DJ, and an incredible silent auction. Learn more and RSVP here.

Check out our sponsorship radio ad now playing on SPIRIT 105.3 FM.

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Sponsors:

Snoqualmie Tribe 2

Snoqualmie Indian Tribe

Exotic Metals Forming Company

Lane Powell PC

In kind contributors:

Amie Ryan, Ballard Market, Ben Bridge Jewelers, BluWater Bistro, Constance Engelstad, City People’s Garden Store, Columbia City Bakery, David Garten, Einer Handeland, Fast Rabbits, Fran’s Chocolates, Geraldine’s Counter, Hilliard’s Beer, Howie Dickerman, John Howie Steak, Kirk Adams, Kirk Neamen, Lighthouse Operations Team, Longhorn BBQ, McLendon Hardware Inc., Michael and Megan Leifson, Nate’s Wings and Waffles, Northwest Cellars, OtterBox, Pat O’Hara, Paul Carter, PCC Natural Markets, Pendleton Woolen Mills, Ron Ross, Rookies Sports Bar and Grill, Renaissance Hotel, Rhein Haus, Salty’s, STG Presents, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Storm, Seattle Symphony, Spa Hop, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma Rainiers, The Ruins, Tim Reiterman, Travel Set Go, Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria, Underground Tour, and Woodland Park Zoo.

Meet our Redefining Vision Luncheon Emcee: Pat Cashman

We’re thrilled to welcome Seattle Actor and Comedian Pat Cashman as the emcee for our 2015 Redefining Vision Luncheon supporting Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation. We hope you can join us on Tuesday, March 31st from noon to 1:00 p.m. at The Westin Seattle Hotel and share in our employees’ stories of jobs, independence, and empowerment. Click here to RSVP today!

Photo of Pat Cashman in a black sweater

Photo of Pat Cashman in a black sweater

Pat Cashman has been a broadcast performer and writer in the Northwest for over thirty years.  Along the way, he has been a TV weatherman, talk show host, stand-up comedian, short story writer, newspaper columnist, magazine essayist, TV sports reporter, radio and TV voice-over announcer, and character voice talent in cartoons and video games. He is the announcer on Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers which is currently the most popular video game in the world.

For several years, he was a featured performer, writer, and producer on the Seattle-based sketch TV show Almost Live! — a program that was also syndicated nationally and appeared for two years on the Comedy Central network.  For his work on that show and other projects, Cashman has won dozens of Northwest Emmys, advertising awards, radio honors, and medallions from the International Film and TV Festival of New York.

Cashman was an announcer and character actor on Disney’s Bill Nye the Science Guy Show — as well as PBS’s Eyes of Nye. Cashman was also the featured performer on National Geographic’s Amazing Planet.
Currently Pat co-hosts the Seattle TV sketch comedy show the [206], the highest-rated non-news local television show in the nation.
Cashman has hosted several popular Seattle radio shows, consistently winning newspaper readers polls as “Favorite Radio Personality.” He also won the same honor on Seattle’s “Evening Magazine’s Best of Western Washington.”

In addition, Cashman writes a weekly humor column for Robinson Newspapers and co-hosts a popular podcast, peculiarpodcast.com.

Join us on March 31st, 2015 for your chance to meet in-demand emcee and humorous, inspirational speaker Pat Cashman at our 2015 Redefining Vision Luncheon. Your attendance will support increased opportunities for independence and self-sufficiency of people who are blind, Deaf-Blind, and blind with other disabilities.

Making Connections at the Redefining Vision Luncheon

Check out full audio of the event, or download an mp3 by right-clicking the “Download” link below:

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Our 2014 Redefining Vision Luncheon was one of our best events yet!  Thank you to all our community supporters for joining us at The Westin on Wednesday, April 9th and helping us raise $100,000 to benefit The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.’s annual Deaf-Blind Retreat!

Seahawk Derrick Coleman, Jr. at the Meet and Greet portion of the Redefining Vision Luncheon

Seahawk Derrick Coleman, Jr. at the Meet and Greet portion of the Redefining Vision Luncheon

It all started with a special VIP Meet & Greet with our featured speaker, Derrick Coleman Jr., fullback/running back for the NFL Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks.  He shook hands, signed autographs, took photos, and met about 30 employees, board members, and Lighthouse community members.  Derrick was personable, relaxed, and funny!  We were so glad to have him at the Luncheon!

Lighthouse employees and musicians Andrew Stauffer (left) and Peggy Martinez (right) performing at the Redefining Vision Luncheon

Lighthouse employees and musicians Andrew Stauffer (left) and Peggy Martinez (right) performing at the Redefining Vision Luncheon

At 11:30 a.m. we enjoyed the musical stylings of several Lighthouse employees, Peggy Martinez and Andrew Stauffer.  They played several fun and upbeat covers as well as an original acoustic piece written by Andrew.  They are both incredibly talented musicians and it was nice to have some entertainment while guests socialized.

Our emcee, Rep. Cyrus Habib of the 48th Legislative District, Washington State house of Representatives, started the program at noon while lunch was served.  Cyrus is a natural public speaker and he easily kept the audience engaged and excited for every moment of our incredible program full of inspirational stories of empowerment and independence.

Rep. Cyrus Habib emcee'ing the Redefining Vision Luncheon

Rep. Cyrus Habib emcee’ing the Redefining Vision Luncheon

Cyrus shared some of his own journey as a young blind child growing up in public schools and being left alone on the playground.  He reminded everyone that teaching children and adults the proper skills such as braille, adaptive technology, and orientation and mobility is essential for building confidence and becoming a thriving community member.  He explained that that’s why the Lighthouse’s mission is also so important in creating those opportunities for independence and self-sufficiency for people who are blind, Deaf-Blind, and blind with other disabilities.

Deaf-Blind Retreat Coordinator aj granda speaking at the luncheon

Deaf-Blind Retreat Coordinator aj granda speaking at the luncheon

Cyrus then introduced our employee speaker aj granda, Deaf-Blind Education and Retreat Coordinator.  aj started her presentation by explaining to the audience that as a Deaf-Blind individual, she relies on physical connection.  Since she cannot see or hear the audience, she asked us to stomp on the floor and create vibrations that she could feel to know she wasn’t alone in the room.  She also had everyone reach out and touch the person next to them and then showed us the sign for “connection” in American Sign Language.

Luncheon guests connecting with one another during the program

Luncheon guests connecting with one another during the program

We were all very excited to hear about The Lighthouse for the Blind Inc.’s annual Deaf-Blind Retreat that takes place in beautiful Seabeck, WA each August.  aj shared that the Retreat offers Deaf-Blind individuals access to information and relationship-building activities in a fully-accessible environment.  The Retreat features educational seminars, recreational activities, and most importantly the chance to network and make connections with other members of the Deaf-Blind community.  She shared that none of this would be possible without the 120-150 volunteer interpreter/guides who put in nearly 7,000 of volunteer time in a one-week period.

We are incredibly grateful to have the support of such a great community!  As aj reminded us, Seattle has a world-class Deaf-Blind community and it takes your support year-round to make this possible!

Finally, Cyrus introduced Derrick Coleman, the first offensive deaf player in the NFL.  Derrick answered several questions, asked by aj granda, about his childhood, communications strategies, and experiences as a deaf person.  He inspired us with his confidence and story of empowerment.  He made the audience laugh when he said “If someone tells me I can’t do something I say, watch me!” and deepened our own independence by saying “nothing more painful than the pain of regret.”

Featured guest Derrick Coleman, Jr. of the Seattle Seahawks (right) speaking during the Luncheon

Featured guest Derrick Coleman, Jr. of the Seattle Seahawks (right) speaking during the Luncheon

It truly was an incredible event and thanks again to our community for your ongoing support!  A special thank you to our volunteers, table captains, Luncheon Committee members, and sponsors!

If you were unable to attend but would still like to support our mission, you can make a gift online.  Thank you!

 

 

Thanks for a great start to our “In Bloom” Garden Series!

Our July Redefining Vision: In Bloom event proved to be a wonderful evening in The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.’s Ethel L. Dupar Fragrant Garden.  This unique garden was designed specifically for people who are blind or Deaf-Blind, with over sixty different fragrant plants that appeal both to the sense of smell and touch.  Our guests got the opportunity to hear from our Government Relations Specialist Mark Landreneau who talked about the tools and supports that make it possible for him to do his job.  Donations from generous donors at Redefining Vision: In Bloom support our mission to create and enhance opportunities for independence and self-sufficiency of people who are blind, Deaf-Blind, and blind with other disabilities.  These gifts help fund our Employee and Community Services, such as those Mark discussed personally using including Orientation and Mobility training and tactile American Sign Language interpreting.   After Mark’s insightful remarks, Master Gardener Helen Weber hosted a captivating tour for our guests, who got to learn about the specific plants and Helen’s gardening techniques which allow this community treasure to thrive.

If you weren’t able to attend this month, there are two more chances this summer!  We’re offering two more Redefining Vision: In Bloom events on upcoming Saturdays, August 17th and September 14th, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  You can find more information and register at www.redefiningvision.org.

Braille Raffle Drawing To Be Held at 2013 Redefining Vision Luncheon

As part of Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation’s 2013 Redefining Vision Luncheon, we’re raffling off an amazing getaway package!  The prize will be drawn at the close of event on March 27 at the Westin Seattle Hotel.  If you haven’t already registered to join us at the Luncheon this year, please visit www.redefiningvision.org for more information.

Palm Desert, CaliforniaBraille Raffle Prize:  Palm Desert Vacation!  A one-week stay in a lovely, newly-remodeled condo home at Silver Sands, Palm Desert, California.  Prize includes airfare for two!

This one-of-a-kind getaway is a two-bedroom, two-bath Spanish-style home at the Silver Sands Racquet Club.  This 1,240 square-foot desert hideaway is close to wonderful restaurants, public golf courses, and incredible shopping.

It has two baths, a private courtyard and additional patio viewing, a granite and stainless steel kitchen, dishwasher, gas fireplace, patio, wine refrigerator, and gas fireplace.

(Must be redeemed by March 27, 2014 and other conditions apply).

Raffle tickets are only $20.00 each – or three tickets for $50.00!

Meet Brett Lewis: Judo Gold Medalist and Sensei

Keynote Speaker Brett Lewis

Keynote Speaker Brett Lewis

Developed in Japan in 1882, Judo is a mutually beneficial sport for everyone involved, including blind and visually impaired athletes.

Meaning “the gentle way” Judo require a lot of self-discipline, structure, and strategy.

Brett Lewis, the keynote speaker for the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation’s 2013 Redefining Vision Luncheon on March 27, knows first-hand the challenges and rewards of this competitive martial art.

Originally born in Del Rio, TX, Brett moved to Spokane when he was just five years old.  At age six, he lost his sight due to a post-surgical infection.  Always an active child, he never let his lack of vision prevent him from being physically active, taking up Judo, running, and wrestling.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Lewis said in an interview for the Spokane Judo Club, where he serves as Head Sensei.  “The hardest lesson to learn was to always keep trying hard.  When you think you don’t have to anymore, you start slacking and you get lazy.  Then someone comes along who will stomp you into the ground and you’ll realize you’ve gotten lazy.”

This dedication paid off for Lewis when in 1987, he became the first American Judo competitor to win the Gold Medal in both his weight division and the open division at the World Championships for the Blind.  He also earned the Silver Medal in the subsequent 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona, Spain.

Lewis attended Stanford University, earning both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in math and engineering.  Prior to returning to Spokane in 2001, Brett worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency, the US Mission at NATO, the RAND Corporation.  He currently telecommutes to his job as a software engineer for Freedom Scientific.  Brett is also the proud father of two boys, Lucas and Miles.

Besides improved physical fitness, Judo can be attributed to increased confidence, defined character, and mutual respect.  Judo is based on two major principles, maximum efficient use of energy and mutual prosperity for self and others.

The goal is to win decisively.  To be successful, players must rely on their perception of the strength and behavior of the opponent and choose the appropriate reaction or defense technique.

“It is all about leverage and balance,” said Lewis.

But of course, no one wins every match and one must also learn humility.  “It’s just you out there on the mat, there’s no team to blame it on if things go bad, and some people don’t stick with it when they lose,” said Lewis. “But if you can leave
the match knowing you’ve done the very best you could, well, then there’s
really nothing wrong with losing.”

Inland Northwest White Cane Walk and Redefining Vision Wine Tasting

On October 18th, Inland Northwest Lighthouse celebrated the independence of individuals who are blind or visually impaired with two events.  We began the day with a White Cane Walk in honor of October’s National White Cane Safety Day.  That was followed by an intimate evening in support of INL at the historic Flour Mill, at the Redefining Vision Wine Tasting.

The White Cane Walk took place in Spokane’s Riverfront Park, where we heard from Spokane Mayor David Condon, State Representative Andy Billig, INL Employee Kurt Lance, and Lighthouse President and CEO Kirk Adams.  Following our speakers, Lighthouse Orientation and Mobility staff members demonstrated methods of being a sighted guide to people who are blind.  Next came the White Cane Walk, in which white cane users and sighted guests who donned vision simulation goggles and blindfolds walked a predetermined course through Riverfront Park. The course of the walk offered various types of terrain, in order to give examples of navigating a path for individuals who are partially sighted or blind.

That evening, it was time for our Redefining Vision Wine Tasting, an event that raised nearly $1,800 for employment opportunities and programs for individuals who are blind or visually impaired at INL. The Flour Mill, located on the banks of the Spokane River, features a hidden secret in its lower level – the Chateau Rive.  The historic space took guests back in time, creating an interesting backdrop to the wine taste challenge and presentations by INL employee Greg Wing, INL Council Chair Lorna Walsh, and INL’s Development and Public Relations Director Shawn Dobbs.  After our speakers for the evening shared their stories, we were delightfully entertained by live singing and guitar playing by INL employee Greg Szabo.

Redefining Vision Took Flight on September 22nd!

 

Chris Loomis, Keynote Speaker of the evening, presents his personal story of discovering meaningful employment at The Lighthouse as a machinist.

 

On Saturday, September 22nd Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation celebrated its fall Redefining Vision Takes Flight event. Over 65 friends and supporters joined us at the Museum of Flight’s historic Red Barn to celebrate and support our mission of creating and enhancing opportunities for independence and self-sufficiency for individuals who are blind, Deaf-Blind, and blind with other disabilities.  The event raised approximately $8,000 in support of this mission.  Thank you to everyone who participated that night.

The fascinating venue highlighted the long relationship between The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. and The Boeing Company, as the Red Barn is the original manufacturing facility of The Boeing Co.

Set-Up Machinist Chris Loomis shared his moving story of finding the Lighthouse as a place to work after searching 46 other states for an organization that could offer him meaningful employment.  He demonstrated how accessibility measures such as American Sign Language interpreting, the addition of a large monitor, and use of calipers with a large visual display allow him to operate an Okuma machine, which produces precision parts for aerospace customers.  Chris was one of the Lighthouse’s Employees of the Year in 2010.  President and CEO Kirk Adams expressed that the Lighthouse was fortunate to have attracted someone with Chris’ skills and dedication.

We’d also like to thank Foundation President Howie Dickerman for his remarks and Otis Kenyon Winery of Walla Walla for donating a magnum of 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon as the prize for our Braille Raffle.

Meet our Emcee: Cyrus Habib

Cyrus Habib, Keynote speaker for our Holiday Breakfast in December 2011, will be our emcee for the 2012 Redefining Vision Luncheon. We are excited about his continued involvement with the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation.

Cyrus makes his living as an attorney at Perkins Coie in Bellevue, WA.  Who he is and what he has accomplished will take a bit more space to explore.  Blind since the age of 9 due to a childhood cancer, retinoblastoma, Cyrus never let fear of the unknown hold him back. In an interview on the January, 13 2012 edition of KUOW Weekday (See complete interview HERE), Cyrus talks about how his parent’s attitude helped him shape his view on life:

“I was in third grade, and you know as kids do at recess time, all my peers would go and play on the jungle gym and monkey bars. And the recess monitors, knowing that I had just lost my vision and probably, I suspect, also knowing that my mother is a litigator, decided that it was too dangerous for me to be playing up on the monkey bars. So, they kept me by the side of the school with them: pretty segregated. So, this was hugely dispiriting. So, I went to my parents and I told them about how unhappy I was with the current state of affairs. My mom went to the school, she took me with her, and she said: I’m going to take my son to the playground on the weekends, I’m going to teach him how to get around the jungle gym, and he’s going to learn it as well as any other kid knows it. And, she said: I’ll sign any liability waiver you want, but he’s going to get on that jungle gym, and it may happen that he might slip and fall and break his arm, that’s a fear that any mother has. But, I can fix a broken arm I can never fix a broken spirit. My parents decided, as they told me years later that they were not going to let their fear become my fear. That really set the tone for me for life. This disability that I have at a young age is not going to affect my dreams or my pursuit of those dreams.”

Cyrus grew up in Bellevue, attending the Bellevue International School, which ranked 12th in the nation on Newsweek Magazine‘s list of the best high schools for 2007.  However, even the best institution can have weaknesses, and Cyrus amended his education through classes at Bellevue College:

“I am passionate about Bellevue College because years ago my high school’s inability to accommodate math and science classes had led me to take those portions of my high school curriculum there. Their creative approach towards teaching me topics that are seemingly entirely visual, instilled in me an enduring respect for the value of such institutions.”

In his first foray into higher education Cyrus studied Literature at Columbia University in New York, then at University of Oxford in the UK. In addition to being a Rhodes Scholar, Cyrus is also a Truman Scholar and a Soros Fellow. Upon graduating with a Masters in Literature, though, he switched his focus to attend Yale Law School. In an interview with friend and fellow Rhodes Scholar, Chesa Boudin (See complete article HERE) Cyrus explains his choice:

“I reached a point where I felt as though I was speaking into an echo chamber…  I decided that the issues I was addressing on a theoretical level, namely the relationship between visual experience and the formation of power dynamics, was in fact a phenomenon that could use my involvement outside the ivory tower. I realized that I would start with issues facing other blind individuals — not necessarily the most obvious ones — and see where that took me.”

While in law school, Cyrus was editor of the Yale Law Journal.  And, it was at Yale where he first became interested in the role currency plays in accessibility.

“As a first year law student at Yale, I learned of a recent court ruling in Washington D.C. District Court that U.S. currency is inaccessible to the blind because bills are only distinguishable visually. I was intrigued, and soon enough found myself wrapped up in that cause. I co-authored, along with another Rhodes Scholar and Yale classmate, Jonathan Finer, an amicus brief at the appellate level, authored an op-ed in the Washington Post and other forums, and eventually testified before Congress on how best to adapt U.S. currency to become accessible to America’s blind and low-vision population as well.”

Cyrus is a Human Services Commissioner for the City of Bellevue, and sits on the board of directors of the Bellevue College Foundation and the Bellevue Downtown Association. In 2009 he was appointed by King County Executive Dow Constantine to serve as a King County Civil Rights Commissioner. A former Trustee of the Washington Young Lawyers Division, he has served on a number of Bar committees and task forces. He is also active in the Bellevue Rotary Club. Cyrus is currently running for State Representative for the 48th District. In an article for the Washington Post in 2007 titled “Show us the Money”, Cyrus makes a call to action that the Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. hopes to reflect:

“When it comes to accommodating disabilities such as blindness, let us continue to lead the world in practice as well as in principle. More important still, let us tell the world that we, too, believe that blindness should not be an obstacle to financial independence. In doing so, let us also take a significant step toward ameliorating the living conditions of blind Americans, now and for years to come.”