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Sight Loss Monthly April 2022

April 2022

The Hull Foundation’s

Sight Loss

Monthly News


“The publishing of this newsletter is a service of The Hull Foundation and Learning Center Inc. It is not an endorsement of any of its contents. All products, items and other information may be used at the sole discretion of the reader.”

Editors, Hull Foundation Staff


Our Mission Statement:

The mission of the Hull Foundation and Learning Center is to provide programs, facilities and services including social, educational, and recreational activities for people with blindness and sight loss.

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“Cheers to 60 years”
by Kat Rogers, – Sight Loss Instructor

It is an exciting time at the Hull Foundation and Learning Center! We have entered our 60th year of providing resources and services to those with blindness and sight loss, and we want to CELEBRATE!

We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been a participant in all that we do and for those of you who have sponsored guests or attended yourself, you know that sight loss can take on a positive meaning! Mrs. Oral Hull donated her property with the help of a local attorney, and here we are 60 years later, still honoring and ensuring that her gift continues.

We have grown from giving the local blind a place where they can socialize, to a place where they learn that sight loss does not mean isolation and dependence.

We have grown in our ability to educate those new to sight loss and maintain a location where we can share our ups and downs and know that we are never alone.

Over the coming months, we hope to hear from many of you. We are looking for testimonials about your experiences with the Hull Foundation to help share our story. Many of you are annual or life members, and we will be reaching out to get your thoughts on the services we provide.

This is a significant milestone for us, and we want all of you who have ideas on how to celebrate our 60th to send them to:

email, . We eagerly await your reply. Again, thank you for being a part of the Hull Foundation’s first 60 years.

Meet Our Sight Loss Instructors – Part 2

by Jael Espinal – Sight Loss Instructor
Last month, we featured 4 of our Sight Loss Instructors. Get ready to meet the rest of the team!

Hull Foundation and Learning Center has been experiencing exciting changes over the last year. One of those changes is having the opportunity to host virtual workshops facilitated by our knowledgeable Sight Loss Instructors. As a result, we decided that introductions are in order. This is the second and last installment. We hope you’ve enjoyed meeting our instructors.

Marty Sobo

Q: What is your sight loss journey?

A: The diagnosis is diabetic retinopathy. My left eye is total with light perception, but no useable vision and right eye has a bit of vision, but just enough to get myself in trouble. I have been blind since 2014.

Q: What piece of advice would you offer to anyone experiencing sight loss?

A: Being open to every possible opportunity available to you.

Q: Do you have any hidden talents?

A: Snowboarding.

Kat Rogers

Q: What is your sight loss story?

A: My sight loss is due to major scar tissue on my corneas. In 1966 I had what was called Stephen Johnson Syndrome. It is when an allergic reaction to medication causes burning from the inside out. My eyelashes grew inward causing the scar tissue on my corneas. I describe myself
as a high partial.

Q: What bit of wisdom would you give anyone experiencing sight loss?

A: My main priority is to never give in. It’s just another way of doing things.

Q: What crazy or wild activities do you dream of trying someday?

A: I would love to create massive yard art that will serve as my legacy.

Michael Babcock

Q: Tell us about your sight loss journey. Your story?

A: It’s simple. I was born blind but lost the little light perception I had between the ages of 13 and 16.

Q: What’s something you would tell anyone experiencing sight loss?

A: Just because you’re going through the process of losing your sight doesn’t mean you can’t do the things you most enjoy doing. There are accommodations to make just about anything accessible and if not, you reach out to someone in the blindness community. There are other people who are also blind who have probably found an accommodation for what you want to do.

Q: If money and time were no object, what would you be doing at this moment?

A: I would be poolside at the most expensive lodge in Alaska with my wife and little brothers drinking White Russians and margaritas.

Carrie Muth

Q: Could you tell us about your sight loss journey?

A: I was diagnosed with RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa) at 14. I gradually lost sight and had very usable vision until about 40. Now, not much sight is left.

Q: What wisdom would you like to share with those who are experiencing sight loss?

A: Get familiar with blindness skills so it helps you feel more confident. The emotional part is always hard to deal with but if you get some skills, you know you’ll be able to function.

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would you go?

Q: Scotland, so I can tour all the castles.

Desiree A. Christian

Q: What’s your sight loss journey?

A: I was born legally blind but had enough vision, so I didn’t have to start using my cane until I was in my early 20’s. Before that I had a hard time fitting in at school, partly because I was just on the cusp of needing vision support services but could function just fine. In my early 20’s I lost a good chunk of my sight over a period of 3 or four years. I got a guide dog then; she was an awesome golden retriever. I decided to become more comfortable with my blindness before things got to where they might become dangerous for me. I had two young daughters and I learned how to navigate social situations with them, on top of learning how to navigate vision loss.

Q: What can you share as far as advice for those folks experiencing sight loss?

A: Be brave, be bold. People are more afraid of you than you are of them. People most likely will not initiate the first interaction with you. Don’t be afraid of the weird social awkward stuff because they will get over it.

Q: What fictional character would you be and why?

A: I’d be myself in a Victorian steampunk setting that has augmentations to have close or above average vision so I can fly airships and to be able to fire a blunderbuss.

Tip of the Month: Sight Loss and Fatigue

by Marja Byers – Sight Loss Instructor

Not long after I was determined to be legally blind by the Oregon Commission for the Blind, I went to their Portland Center for assessments to see where I might benefit from more training. The first instructor I met there was the adjustment to blindness counselor, she herself is blind due to retinitis pigmentosa. One of the first things she told me is that living as a blind person takes a lot more energy than it takes to live as a sighted person and to give myself permission to be tired. I was a little stunned; yes, I do seem to tire much faster than before. I had just not understood that it was my sight loss that had changed things for me. It was a relief to know it was not just that I was getting older (I was only 54 at the time) that was leaving me mentally and physically exhausted by 4:00 in the afternoon. Not much later I was introduced to a new friend who is deafblind, with lots of life experience with sensory loss. She shared so much information with me. One of her most valuable “nuggets” was the idea of “visual energy units”, (VEU) for those of us who have sight loss but still have some sight left.

She told me that you only have so many VEU’s in a day, and when you have used them up you are done for the day! When I read that in her text, I understood exactly what she meant. If I put too much demand on the sight that I have, I get to the point where I want to shut my eyes and I feel like I need to lay down.

Have you noticed that window shopping is no longer fun and getting groceries takes most of your energy? Looking out at scenery from a car is too hard now? Trying to read wears you out fast? (Hint: that’s why Talking Books are so great!)

Give yourself permission to acknowledge your low energy and to pace yourself. If you still use your sight, save your VEU’s for days you know will be busy, remember that simply going from place to place, even with sighted help, is still very tiring. Interacting with other people can take a lot of energy. You may struggle to pick up on social cues that used to happen with sight, but with no conscious effort. I think the big message here is, “please be kind to yourself!”

(And feel free to share this with family and friends.)

Technology Tip of the Month –

by Michael Babcock – Sight Loss Instructor

Jaws Keystrokes – for those of you who are not familiar with Jaws it stands for “Job Access With Speech.” It is a screen reader software and will convert the content present on your screen into audio so that the user can hear and understand it easily. If you are a Jaws user, the following keystrokes will help you better leverage the abilities of your screen reader.

Please note, some keystrokes are only available in Jaws 2022, these keystrokes will be identified at the end of the keystroke. To search jaws keystrokes, press Jaws Key + Space, then tap the letter “J”.

If you want to adjust Jaws Volume, press Jaws Key + space, tap “V” then “J”. Use your up and down arrow keys to adjust volume

If you want to separate Jaws from VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) calls, press Jaws key + Space, tap “V” then “B”. Press left to put Jaws in the left ear or right to press Jaws in the right. The VOIP app will then be in the opposite ear and tapping “UP” will balance all back to how it’s expected. (NOTE: this is a Jaws 2022 feature only)

To change the soundcard Jaws is actively on, press Jaws Key + Space. Then Tap “V” followed by “C”. Use the up and down arrows to pick the soundcard. Jaws will speak out of the active soundcard. Press “Enter” to select the active card. (NOTE: This is a Jaws 2022 feature only.)

“Reading in the Dark” Book Club

When:  Tuesday April 12th and 26th, 2022 at 10:00am. In March we read “Artic Dreams” by Barry Lopez   DB23024 and “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman DB87829.

Arctic Dreams is a travel memoir and nature writing by Barry Lopez. The book recounts his experiences traveling in Alaska for four years. He hunts with Eskimos, accompanies scientists on field expeditions, and makes his own trips to study the wildlife of the Arctic.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, and phone chats with her mom.

Our next books look to be very interesting.

“The Music Shop” by Rachel Joyce DB86957

“Never Cry Wolf” by Farley Mowat DB21586


Hull Foundation Presents Zoom Meetings

Zoom Calls April 2022

Week 1

4/1/22, Friday 7-8pm PDT

First Friday with Friends and Family with Marja and Carrie – Sight Loss Instructors

Friends and Family of your visually impaired loved ones please join us for our first ever First Friday. Tonight’s topic will be focusing on Human guides.

4/5/22, Tuesday 10-11am PDT

Disaster Preparedness on Fixed Income with Guest, Andrea Barnhurst

Top 5 things you can do to become more prepared for crisis. Sponsored by the Hull Foundation & ACB of Oregon

4/5/22, Tuesday 7-8pm PDT

The Chat Café with Carrie and Teresa – Sight Loss Instructors

Pull up a chair; grab a mug; and sit by the fire. Chat about anything and everything. Sponsored by the Hull Foundation & ACB of Oregon

4/6/22, Wednesday 10-11am PDT

iPhones, Androids and Tablets Q&A with Marty and Michael – Sight Loss Instructors

You’ve got questions? They most likely have the answers. Sponsored by the Hull Foundation & ACB of Oregon

Week 2

4/12/22, Tuesday 10-11am PDT

Reading in the Dark Book Club with Monica- Hull Foundation Staff

Come share with a group of diverse people what you are currently reading and find your next good read!

4/12/22, Tuesday 1-2pm PDT

JAWS Q&A with Michael Sight Loss Instructor

Have questions about Windows or a screen reader that runs on windows? If Michael doesn’t know he will help you find out. Sponsored by the Hull Foundation & ACB of Oregon

4/13/22, Wednesday 1-2pm PDT

How are you Doing and How are you Dealing? With Marja and Teresa- Sight Loss Instructors

Going through sight loss has a huge learning curve, you’re not alone. Join Marja and the gang to chat about the ups and downs and ways around.

4/14/22, Thursday 10-11am PDT

Cane Maintenance with Jael – Sight Loss Instructor

Are you in the possession of a white cane that you want to keep new or needs a little spit and polish then join Jael for an hour of tips and tricks from top to tip!

4/14/22, Thursday 1-2pm PDT

In the Garden with Kat – Sight Loss Instructor

Think you can’t garden after sight loss? Want to know how to do it and what to plant this spring? Kat can help!

Week 3

4/19/22, Tuesday 7-8pm PDT

The Chat Cafe with Carrie and Teresa – Sight Loss Instructors

Pull up a chair; grab a mug; and sit by the fire. Chat about anything and everything. Sponsored by the Hull Foundation & ACB of Oregon.

4/20/22, Wednesday 10-11am PDT

iPhones, Androids and Tablets Q&A with Marty and Michael – Sight Loss Instructors

You’ve got questions, they most likely have answers. Sponsored by the Hull Foundation & ACB of Oregon

4/20/22, Wednesday 1-2pm PDT

Disaster Preparedness: Go-Bags on Fixed Income

A vastly different approach to Go-Bags that make them accessible for anyone on fixed income and on foot when you need to evacuate. Sponsored by the Hull Foundation & ACB of Oregon

4/21/22, Thursday 1-2pm PDT

Sight Loss and Hearing Loss, a Group Chat with Jael – Sight Loss Instructor

An opportunity to connect with other individuals who are hard of hearing as well as living with sight loss. Information and support are provided. Please invite your family and friends. Sponsored by the Hull Foundation & ACB of Oregon

4/21/22, Thursday 6pm PDT

Navigating Social Situations: A Practical Conversation with Marja and Desirée – Sight Loss Instructors

Social situations are hard, anxiety inducing, and please can I go home now. The intersection of sight loss, social interaction and the sighted world is a complex one. Let Marja and Desirée be your guides at the first of an ongoing series of conversations. Sponsored by the Hull Foundation & ACB of Oregon.

Week 4

4/26/22, Tuesday 10-11am PDT

Reading in the Dark Book Club with Monica

Come share with a diverse group of people what you are currently reading and find your next good read!

4/26/22, Tuesday 1-2pm PDT

Mac Q&A with Michael – Sight Loss Instructor. Decided to deviate from the norm and are now the owner of a MacBook, MacBook air, or and iMac? Want perspective and support other than on the apple accessibility line? Join Michael for an hour and bring your questions. Sponsored by the Hull Foundation & ACB of Oregon.

4/27/22, Wednesday 1-2pm PDT

Get Your Grill Out with Marja and Desiree

Sight Loss Instructors. Learn about grilling with or without sight and learn about real fast food.

4/27/22, Wednesday 6:30-8pm PDT

How are you Doing and How are you Dealing? With Marja and Teresa – Sight Loss Instructors. Going through sight loss has a huge learning curve, you’re not alone. Join the gang to chat about the ups and downs and ways around.

4/28/22, Thursday 10-11am PDT

Read More Books: Libby App with Jael – Sight Loss Instructor

Learn more about this free app that connects you with the books in your local library. This is not intended to be an instructional session but a workshop to learn about the service and how it works. Sponsored by the Hull Foundation & ACB of Oregon.

4/28/22, Thursday 1-2pm PDT

In the Kitchen with Kat

Transitioning from sighted to blind is hard enough as it is. Let Kat be your guide in the kitchen as she gives you tips and tricks so you can stay in the kitchen.

>Curiosity & Results: What’s the Connection?
by Teresa Christian – Sight Loss Instructor

Curiosity has been given a bad rap. Perhaps we grew up hearing that asking questions was rude or conveyed ignorance, or we’d get into trouble if we were like Curious George. We might even have been warned that “Curiosity killed the cat!” but then, “satisfaction brought him back.” The truth is that curiosity is one of the most vital and life-affirming qualities you can bring to your life and your relationships.

Curiosity on the Sight Loss Journey –

It is so easy to blame others when things go wrong. Consider being curious about your experience rather than critical. For example, instead of beating yourself up for not having the courage to cross a street, feeling unsure how to fry a hamburger without getting burned or not realizing that yes, a person with sight loss can use power tools.

Again, try asking yourself what was going on for you that you were afraid to explore the possibility you might be able to do a thing you didn’t realize that you could?

Do other people with sight loss do this?

How can I meet other people living with sight loss and find out what they are up too?

With an attitude of “how fascinating that I’ve created this” you are much more likely to help yourself find new solutions to attaining your goals.

Curiosity in Life –

Helen Keller said, “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all!” When you cultivate an attitude of curiosity, doors open, and adventures begin; questions lead to new possibilities. For example, asking yourself, “What do I want to learn now and where might that lead me?” can set you on a journey of exciting exploration that moves you forward. If, instead, you come from the place of “I already know what I need to know,” you shut off the possibility of discovering something new that could rock your world.

Curiosity in Relationships –

How often we assume we know what someone else is thinking or experiencing. What if we came from a place of not knowing and offered others an invitation to speak? According to Sharon Ellison, creator of Powerful Non-Defensive Communication, “A non-defensive question is innocently curious, reflecting the purity of the child who asks how a flower grows or what makes an airplane fly.” We invite others to share their true experience when we ask questions without hidden agendas and to clarify understanding.

Practice Cultivating Curiosity –

Here are some ways to cultivate a more curious life.

• Questions. Practice asking questions with openness and neutrality. Practice with strangers in stores and with people close to you. Stop thinking you know all the answers…be open to being surprised!

• Inquiries. An inquiry is an open-ended question designed to broaden your perspective. For example: “What would make life a daring adventure for me?” “Where in my life do I assume I already know?”

• Assumptions. These impact how we treat strangers as well as loved ones. Challenge your assumptions by asking, “What if that’s not true?” What other choices might you make then? If you truly want to expand your excitement, joy and fulfillment in life and relationship, sprinkle liberal doses of curiosity and watch your life become the fabulous adventure it can be! Curious? Join me on the journey!

Upcoming Events>,h1>

2022 will be an exciting and fun-filled year for our events! If you are interested in any of our recreational One Day Fun Day, Getaway events and Retreats, please contact our office and sign up! The spots can fill up very quickly, so jump in with both feet and come visit us at Hull Park in 2022!

One Day Fun Day! This new event will be held throughout the Winter, Spring and Fall months. It features a one-day event, either at our park site or in the greater Portland metro areas. The first one is April 6th and we will be in the Gresham, OR area starting off with a scavenger hunt, lunch at a local restaurant and then bowling! Great time to socialize with others in our sight loss community. Transportation is available in the local area. Call today, 503-668-6195 for more information.

Moderate Adventure Retreat- Aug. 10-16, 2022 -During this retreat, activities may include white water rafting, kayaking, hiking, winery tours, visiting local tourist sights, live action plays, and more!

High Adventure Retreat- Aug. 24-30, 2022

This retreat is designed to give guests opportunity to stretch themselves! Activities may include white water rafting, hiking in the Mt. Hood National Forest, various water sports, challenge courses, horseback riding, and much more!

Monster Mash Getaway- October 24-27, 2022

Come get spooky with us for a seasonal favorite Getaway! We will have theme-based games, movie night, a trip to a local farm for hayrides, corn maze, pumpkin patch, a costume contest, and do the monster mash at the dance!

Winter Holiday Getaway- December 12-15, 2022

Come Deck the Halls with your friends and the Hull Park staff for this festive event! We will have holiday-themed games, treats, crafts, and on the final night a holiday banquet and live music which is open to friends and family.

Registrations are now available for these events! It is never too early to sign up as spots fill up very quickly. Please email the office at or call at 503-668-6195 for more information and to request a registration form.

Jokes to Keep you Laughing…or Groaning!

  1. What happens when you crack a bad joke at school on Easter?
  1. You get egg-spelled!

Q. What does one Easter bunny say
to another if they want to flirt?

A. You’re ear resistable!

Q. Who would lose in a fight: peeps or
chocolate bunnies?
A. Peeps, because they’re way soft!

**Q. Christmas comes before Easter in
only one place – where is it?
A. The dictionary!

Q. What happens if you fall in love on
A. You live hoppily ever after!**


Stay well, stay safe, and stay happy!**

The Hull Foundation Family
Phone: 503-668-6195



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