Updated on Friday, May 20th, this is the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) Information Network. This information can be accessed on the MCB Voice Information System by calling 617-626-7660. You may also call 800-392-6450 and say either “tape” or “telephone tape” into the speech recognition menu. Lastly, this weekly update is also available on "Newsline," the accessible newspaper service by pressing number 2, the local Channel, and in the "Massachusetts Commission for the Blind" section of “Newsline”. This update is produced by Wayne Levy.

As a result of the positive feedback we received from consumers during the 20 MCB Commissioner Listening Sessions that occurred between October of 2015 and March of 2016, the agency has created MCB News, an external electronic newsletter created to share extensive agency-wide highlights and updates with consumers and stakeholders of our agency. MCB News will be shared electronically several times a year. This is the first time that MCB has distributed an electronic newsletter to staff, stakeholders and consumers. If you would like to receive MCB News in the future, please send an email to OfficeOfTheCommissioner@MassMail.State.MA.US.

More than half of the sighted population can’t recall the last time they saw someone who is blind in the last year. Somehow they have missed a population of 7 million individuals who are blind. Why are blind people invisible to the sighted world? What can be done to create a world that is more inclusive of the blind community? BlindNewWorld is a new social change campaign sponsored by the Perkins School for the Blind to debunk stereotypes and inspire the sighted population to see the full social, professional and intellectual capabilities of people who are blind. According to a new study, there are four main barriers to inclusion: discomfort, pity, fear and stigma. For years, the blind population and organizations supporting it, have been frustrated by the social and professional exclusion and the near invisibility of people who are blind from the public’s social consciousness. “Many people hold preconceived biases that the blind aren’t capable of daily tasks and can’t lead happy lives,” said Corinne Grousbeck, Chair of the Board at Perkins School for the Blind. “Even worse, people often fear blindness more than many terminal diseases. This stems from a lack of understanding and contact with the blind community. BlindNewWorld reveals the realities of today’s highly capable blind population and provides simple actions that each of us can take to include the blind in the sighted world.” To learn more and join the movement, visit www.BlindNewWorld.org and follow @BlindNewWorld on Twitter and Instagram and Like Blind New World on Facebook so you can be present to share in the launch of BlindNewWorld!

Project Bread would like to inform you about its FoodSource hotline, which provides assistance to any of clients that may be able to benefit from SNAP/Food stamps. There are many factors that can keep people from applying and receiving the benefits they are entitled to. Guidelines can be confusing and the application process can seem intimidating. Some people may even be under the impression that they must physically go into the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) office. Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline counselors are available to help alleviate some of these stressors. The hotline can prescreen callers for SNAP eligibility and can start an application over the phone. Someone will also follow-up with each individual throughout the application process to help solve any problems that may arise. Project Bread can also answer questions for people already receiving benefits to ensure they are receiving the maximum amount they are entitled to. Hotline counselors are also able to connect callers with additional food resources in their community. The FoodSource Hotline has several different types of outreach material that may be of interest to you. They have bag stuffers (informational cards), posters, or brochures. The outreach materials are available in English and Spanish, as well as other languages. If you are at all interested, feel free to contact Kelly Carvalho at 617-239-2581 or Kelly_carvalho@projectbread.org.

Moms are right about a lot of things, including the statement that eating veggies is good for us! Vegetables are low in calories and fats but contain good amounts of vitamins and minerals, not to mention dietary fiber. We invite you to join The Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s Seminars@Hadley on Wednesday, May 25th at 11:00 AM for “Eat Your Veggies”, for a discussion everything vegetable-related: growing them in containers, raw vs. cooked, how to prepare and cook them, fun facts and more. Did you know there is an annual Eat Your Veggies Day? Hadley instructors Ed Haines, Jennifer Ottowitz and Vileen Shah will present, joined by Dawn Turco, Senior Vice President and moderator, for this 60-minute seminar. A question and answer session will be included as part of the seminar, which is an audio-only presentation. Space in this seminar is limited. To register, go to www.hadley.edu/SeminarDetails.asp?sid=321. You can learn more about this and other seminars at www.Hadley.edu.

The Access Advisory Committee to the MBTA (AACT) invites you to a Summit about Transit Accessibility, titled “Overlapping Needs, Sharing Resources” on Wednesday, May 25th from 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM at the Massachusetts Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza in Boston. The summit will take place in Conference Rooms 2 and 3 and will feature MBTA Manager Frank DePaola. The focal point of the discussion will be about the role of the disability community in the Boston Region’s transportation planning process. If you have any questions or would like to register (which has to occur prior to Monday, May 23rd), please contact Janie Guion, AACT Coordinator at 857-702-3658 or email her at AACT@ctps.org. All are welcome!

The American Repertory Theater (ART) recently announced that they will provide two Audio Described performances for In the Body of the World this month. In this world-premiere adaptation of her critically acclaimed 2013 memoir of the same name, activist and artist Eve Ensler celebrates the strength and joy that connect a single body to the planet. While working in the Congo, where war continues to inflict devastating violence on women, Ensler was diagnosed with stage III/IV uterine cancer. This diagnosis erased the boundaries between Ensler’s art, her work, and her own body. This production charts the connections between the personal and the public, inviting and challenging all of us to come back into our bodies, and thus the world. The Audio Described performances for the blind and low-vision audience will be on Thursday, May 26th at 7:30 PM and Sunday, May 28th at 2:00 PM. The team will include Alice Austin as the primary describer and Jan Stankus as the secondary describer. A touch tour will precede both Audio Described performances. The tour includes a tactile tour of costumes and production materials, and will be held in the west lobby one hour prior to curtain. The Loeb Drama Center, located at 64 Brattle Street in Harvard Square in Cambridge, is accessible to persons with special needs and to those requiring wheelchair seating or first-floor restrooms. Additional access services include Braille programs, large print programs, and hearing assist devices. To purchase tickets for these performances, please email boxoffice@amrep.org, call 617-547-8300 or visit www.AmericanRepertoryTheater.org.

The Perkins School for the Blind would like to invite you to “A Celebration of Spring”, scheduled for Thursday, May 26th, at 7:30 PM at the Howe Building on the Perkins Campus, 175 North Beacon Street in Watertown. This hour-long performance of seasonal music, song, poetry and dance features the talented Perkins Secondary Chorus, members of The Revels Singers, song leader David Coffin, a young rapper sword dance team, plus a great band of Revels musicians. Last but not least, expect a wild visit from the ancient and venerable Padstow 'Obby 'Oss, all the way from Cornwall, England! A Celebration of Spring is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. No reservations are required and free parking is available at the Beechwood Avenue lot (GPS address: 55 Beechwood Ave., Watertown, MA). You can visit www.perkins.org or www.revels.org to learn more.

The Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB) would like to invite you to a Low Vision and Blindness Technology Fair, scheduled for Wednesday, June 1st at the Easter Seals Technology Center, NPC Building, Community Room, 89 South Street in Boston, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The cost to this fair is free! Vendors will be on hand to show their latest devices in the area of low vision and blindness. Here is a list of some of the participating vendors: Freedom Scientific and ABiSee; New England Low Vision and Blindness; AdaptiVision; Perkins Solutions; Perkins Talking Book Library; BaumUSA, Inc; and HumanWare. Please RSVP and request accommodations by contacting Catherine Bly 617-226-2634 or cbly@eastersealsma.org.

MCB and the Carroll Center for the Blind would like to invite you to the 32nd Annual Carroll Society Awards, to be held on Thursday, June 2nd at 3:00 PM at the Rachel E. Rosenbaum Technology Center, 770 Centre Street in Newton. The 2016 Blind Employee of the Year Award will be given to Glenn Boivin, IT Operations Manager at Kayem Foods, which will also be honored as Employer of the Year. Additionally, five individuals will also be inducted into The Carroll Society: Carla Burke, Assistive Technology Coordinator at the Brooks Free Library; Katherine Moss, Service Desk Specialist at Partners Healthcare; William Sanabria, Community Supports Specialist at the Northeast Independent Living Program; Maria Thompson, Store Associates at Industries for the Blind; and Laurie Werle, Peer Support Groups Program Coordinator at the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. This event is free, open to the public and will feature a reception following the awards ceremony. Consumers, employers, professionals, families, and friends are encouraged to attend. RSVP is not required. For more information, please visit www.carroll.org or call 617-969-6200.

Thanks for reading this message and it will be updated again on Friday, May 27th.

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.


This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.