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Sight Loss Monthly December 2021

December 2021    

The Hull Foundation’s

We are all like a snowflake, all different in our own unique, beautiful way – anonymous

Sight Loss         Monthly News


“The publishing of this newsletter is a service of The Hull Foundation and Learning Center and 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


Mission Statement …p. 3

A Message from Kerith Vance …p. 4

Eyesight and Balance Part 4 …p. 5

Tip of the Month:  Top Ten Ways to Handle Tense Family Gatherings …p. 8

Tech Tip: Dealing with Spam Calls …p. 11

Reading in the Dark Book Club …p. 13

Hull Foundation Presents Zoom Meetings …p. 16

December Zoom Schedule…p. 17

Virtual Walkathon …p. 20

National Library Service for the Blind 90th Anniversary …p. 23

Living with Sight Loss Seminar …p. 33

Ushers Conference …p. 34

Upcoming Events…p. 34

Jokes to Keep Us Laughing …p. 38

Mission Statement …p. 3

The mission of the Hull Foundation and Learning Center is to provide programs, facilities and services including social, educational, and recreational activities for people who are blind and visually impaired.

*If you would prefer to receive this newsletter by email, or to unsubscribe, please call the Hull Foundation at 503.668.6195 or send an email to: 

A Message from Kerith Vance …p. 4

It seems like the days of 2021 have gone by so quickly. Being a part of the Hull Foundation family for these past six months has been quite a journey. I’ve been blessed to meet a lot of wonderful people – some by Zoom and a few in person as we worked to reopen our park and facility spaces to visitors. I am inspired by the stories I hear, and the laughter shared. I am also thankful for those of you who became members of the Hull Foundation. When we get a new member, I enjoy knowing that we connected with another person who believes in our mission and is supporting this organization into our next sixty years of service. Many thanks to all of you and I hope you have a cozy and safe December.

Warmly, Kerith

Eyesight and Balance Part 4 …p. 5

By Marja Byers, Sight Loss Instructor

In this final part of eyesight and balance, I wanted to talk about tools that we have built into our iPhones and Apple Watches; that is the Health App.

I had an iPhone for many years before I finally opened up my Health App. I was at a national convention, and I realized it gave me information on the distances I was walking, and how many steps I had climbed but I didn’t pay attention to the other information that the app gives you. As I’ve lost more sight and my balance has gotten worse, I am now finding the other information helpful to assess how I’m walking. Here is some of the other information that I have found helpful. Please note that this app works best when your phone or watch is carried close to your waist, such as in a pocket or a purse.

-Number of steps is reported daily and also gives you a comparison of weeks, months or last year.

-Walking and running distance, with the same comparisons.

-Double support- The percentage of time that both feet are on the ground. A higher number means you spend time with more of your weight on one foot instead of two. This can be a sign of better balance.

-Step length- The distance between your front and back foot. The ability to take longer steps is related to your long-term mobility.

-Walking asymmetry- In a healthy walking pattern, the steps you take with each foot should be similar. Uneven walking patterns can be a sign of injury or disease. I personally refer to this information if I’m concerned about my gait. If my numbers are higher (as with back pain) I adjust my possible trips accordingly. Sometimes it’s just safer to take paratransit or a cab.

-Walking speed- This is as much about how my guide dog is pacing me. Slower walks are usually a sign that we have not been walking enough. He does much better if we walk at least one mile a day, otherwise he tends to slow down.

I realize that not everyone has an iPhone or an Apple watch, but these are aspects of our daily mobility that we can pay attention to in hopes of improving the quality of our lives.

Tip of the Month:  Top Ten Ways to Handle Tense Family Gatherings …p. 8

By Teresa Christian, Sight Loss Instructor

Let’s face it, family gatherings are not always roses and cotton candy. For some families, they’re masked balls, with everyone straining to maintain a façade of harmony. For others, they’re Wild West shootouts.

Try some of these tips:

1.  Make a pro-and-con list. Clear your head, find a calm moment, and decide whether it is best for you to go.

2.  Consider smaller portions. Plan to visit only for appetizers or dessert.

3.  Educate yourself, seek information on the issues or dynamics that tend to come up in your family.

4.  Dig deeper, how do you contribute to the tension? Can you adjust your understanding of other points of view?

5.  Seek to understand, get to the heart of things by asking questions in a relaxed, open, non-defensive way. Read Sharon Ellison’s Taking the War Out of Our Words or Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.

6.  Be prepared. Holiday-related emotions may arrive early. Recognizing the source can help you deal with them more effectively.

7.  Take care of yourself. If the atmosphere isn’t safe, leave. Gather with friends, do volunteer work, or pamper yourself. 

8.  Call a friend, debrief after the visit with someone you trust.

9.  Be patient, real change—in you and in your family—takes time.

10. Be gracious, aim for maturity and compassion in dealing with family situations.

By Marty Sobo and Michael Babcock, Sight Loss Instructors

We know how much everyone hates Robo calls. Below are some tips and tricks to help combat all the Robo calls you’re getting.

On an Apple device:

-Caller ID and spam protection on your iPhone.

-Go to settings.

-Go to phone.

-Scroll down to “silence unknown callers.”

-Turn this on (your phone comes with this feature in the off position by default until it is changed).

The only time a caller will get through is if the person calling is in your contacts. If the person calling is not in your contacts, it will go straight to voicemail. You may need to turn this off if you’re expecting a phone call from a doctor’s office or possibly a business. They usually have blocked phone numbers.

On an Android device:

-Caller ID and spam protection is on by default. You can choose to turn it off.

-Open the phone app.

-Double tap on the “more options” button, then double tap on “settings.”

-Double tap on “Spam and Call Screen.”

-You can then turn on or off the Spam and Call Screen option.

-Note: an optional feature is to “filter” spam calls. You won’t get any missed call or voicemail notifications; however the filtered calls will show in your call history and the voicemails will be in your voicemail in case something is filtered you need to follow up on.

-You can also mark a call as spam if the filters didn’t pick it up:

-Open the phone

-Double tap Recent

-Double tap and hold on the call you want to mark as spam.

-You then can choose the mark as spam choice.

For phone app help:

Reading in the Dark Book Club …p. 13

When:  Tuesday December 7th at 10:00am and we will resume after the Holidays.

In November we read “Sphere” by Michael Crichton DB 25998 and “A Dog Called Hope” by Jason Morgan and Damien Lewis DB 88872

Summary of Sphere:  

Scientists (psychologist Norman Johnson; mathematician Harry Adams; zoologist Beth Halpern; astrophysicist Ted Fielding; and marine biologist Arthur Levine), along with U.S. Navy personnel, travel to a deep sea habitat at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, where an enormous spacecraft has been discovered.

Summary of A Dog Called Hope:

The incredible story of a remarkable service dog who brought a devastated warrior back from the brink. It is the story of one funny lovable dog’s power to heal a family and teach a wounded man how to be a true father.

In December we will be reading “A Redbird Christmas” by Fannie Flagg DB 58836

Summary:  After a startling diagnosis from his doctor, Oswald T. Campbell leaves behind the cold and damp of the oncoming Chicago winter to spend what he believes will be his last Christmas in the warm and welcoming town of Lost River. There he meets the postman who delivers mail by boat, the store owner who nurses a broken heart, and the ladies of the Mystic Order of the Royal Polka Dots Secret Society, who do clandestine good works. And he meets a little redbird named Jack.

Join us for a fun hour of discussion and comradery! We also talk about other book suggestions. Come prepared with ideas for our next books!

Hull Foundation Presents Zoom Meetings …p. 16

Our December Zoom meetings have something for everyone and are full of interesting topics that can assist you in your everyday life. Bring a friend or spouse! Sighted or not!! If you would like to sign up to receive a weekly email with the Zoom schedule for the week and the links to the meetings, please email the office at or call us at 503-668-6195. If you are not an email user, then you can call us on Mondays to receive the call-in number and Meeting ID number for meetings you are interested in attending via phone.

December Zoom Schedule:

Wednesday 12/1/21 10-11am

Stocking Stuffers

Wednesday 12/1/21 1-2pm

Walkathon Update

Thursday 12/2/21 1-2pm

Travel Training for Seniors and People with Disabilities

Thursday 12/2/21 7-8pm

Family Dynamics During the Holidays

Tuesday 12/7/21 10-11am

Reading in the Dark Book Club

Tuesday 12/7/21 1-2pm

Creating your own Podcast: Part 1

Wednesday 12/8/21 1-2pm

How are you Doing and How are you Dealing?

Thursday 12/9/21 1-2pm

Abacus:  What is it and What is it for?

Tuesday 12/14/21 1-2pm

Creating your own Podcast:  Part 2

Wednesday 12/15/21 1-2pm

Holiday Recipe Swap

Thursday 12/16/21 10-11am

Using Movement to Change your Stress Level

Friday 12/17/21 6:30-8pm

Holiday Extravaganza

Tuesday 12/21/21 6-7pm

How are you Doing and How are you Dealing?

Wednesday 12/22 1-3pm

Group Chat- Tis the Season- Trivia, Tidbits, and Memories

Tuesday 12/28/21 6-7pm

How are you Doing and How are you Dealing- Post Holiday Check-in

Thursday 12/30/21 1-3pm

Group Chat- Out with the Old and in with the New:  Say goodbye to 2021. Here’s what’s in store for 2022.

Virtual Walkathon …p. 20

By Kat Rogers, Sight Loss Instructor

Our fourth walkathon is soon coming to an end, but we are not stopping. For those who missed out on this Walkaround the World and Beyond Walkathon, here is a little excerpt from the story: 

**Day 45 

When we all awoke, something seemed different. Our guide was gone and the area around us was “different.” There was a low mist hanging about our legs. We could not see our bottom half at all. “This is way too eerie,” said Bryant. “I agree,” said Carol. “I know I can walk but it does not feel like the ground- more like a bridge.” “You are right,” said KAT. “We are on the highest peak in Zimbabwe, Mount Nyangani at 8,507 ft. We are actually on the Sky Bridge and far above the clouds today.” Suddenly, everyone froze! “What!” everyone shouted.  As we stood there, the clouds started to disappear and all we saw was how high we all were. The dogs did not seem to like it either. “Not to fear,” KAT said. “We are surrounded by magic- no one will fall.” In fact, as she said this, she stepped off the bridge into nothing- but she did not fall. She “Floated”. “There is a zip line at the end of the bridge, but we can just “walk on the air” to our next destination…”

As we regained our senses, we found ourselves “walking” about Zimbabwe far above the land. As we listened to Jennifer tell us about the area, we flew silently as everyone was still in shock about flying with no plane or bird under us. Kat had said it was the Magic in the air and we were not to be afraid. But that was easier said than done for most of us.

Our next walk will be in the new year, so send in those ideas! And remember, it is never too late to start moving! I want to thank everyone who donated to the Walkathon, and a special thank you to our walkers. If you did not get to join us but are interested in getting the full story on e-book, just contact the office to place an order. The cost is any donation of $25 or more. The last 3 walks can be purchased as e-books also but may take a little longer to send out. 

National Library Service for the Blind 90th Anniversary …p. 23

By Peggy Chong, The Blind History Lady

Hello Blind History Lady Fans:

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the National Library Service for the Blind. But how did national library services for the blind get started years before? 

November 1, 1897, the first Reading Room for the Blind was opened in the Northwest corner on the first floor of what is today called the Thomas Jefferson Building. The woman credited for putting the idea into the Librarians mind is Helen Marr Campbell. Here is how Helen convinced the librarian to include the blind. 

After leaving the Maryland School for the Blind, Helen moved to Washington D. C., and taught music. She took rooms with Catherine Keith and her father.

Catherine Keith edited a newsletter for the blind called the “Scrap Basket”. Catherine collected articles, then Helen and other blind women transcribed by hand several copies into braille and New York Point. The newsletter was circulated among the blind, passed from one to another. 

Helen met Alice Underwood-Hunt, the second wife of the Governor of Colorado, the late Alexander Cameron Hunt. Mrs. Hunt asked the blind pianist to come stay with her during the summer of 1897. 

A new building was being erected to hold the library of Congress, scheduled to open in late fall of 1897. While talking with Mrs. Hunt about the new building in the news, Helen told of the difficulty the blind had in the country to obtain any reading material as an adult, and there was no place to quietly read. “The deaf and the dumb have their college. There are hospitals for the sick and insane, and a home for the district’s paupers. But no provision of any kind has been made by anybody for the betterment of the condition of the blind.” Helen explained. “One of our great sources of sorrow, has been that we have had no chance of others of equal education. Of course, we have a right to go to the Congressional Library and sit down in the public rooms with our books. But fingers reading naturally calls around us a crowd of spectators who ask idle and curious questions that – hurt. We are always grateful for sympathy, but only the blind can know how many hours of sadness are inflicted by thoughtless people who see.”  

Mrs. Hunt listened to what Helen said. Sighted people read every day, either a newspaper, signage in a business, letters from friends, their bible or devotional material. Those such as Helen, taught to read in school, with access to reading material that brought the world to them, found themselves, after leaving the schools for the blind, starved for literacy.

Alice Hunt called in-person the next day to the Librarian, and asked Mr. Young to talk with Helen. Mr. Young exchanged several letters with Helen excited to start a reading room for the blind and asking to learn more about the needs of the blind. In her letters she said: “We go out into the world with little or rather no opportunity for reading since our books are very expensive and most of us are not able to procure them.” The letter went on, “Now I ask you, in the name of humanity, only to think for one moment, what your conditions would be were you deprived of the blessed delight of reading-and remember the blind in the forming of your great library.” 

The two met in the middle of September in person. Helen brought several prominent blind citizens along with her to his offices to discuss plans. They thanked him for making the literacy of the blind just as important as the sighted in the country. 

On November 1, 1897, the library had its grand opening. The Reading Room for the blind, in the basement, was ready for its patrons. Special shelves were built to house the oversized books and materials. A screen allowed for private reading, away from the curious sighted patrons. Tables and chairs were spaciously placed around the room to allow for quiet reading as well as a volunteer reading to a group. Thicker paper and writing devices such as a slate and stylus were placed in the reading room for blind persons to write letters to other blind persons. It also meant that if a blind patron or volunteer who knew one of the raised codes, could also write a letter or card from the sighted guest to a blind person. Later, typewriters were added.

Originally, the library was to be on the main floor. However, many stairs led up to the main floor from the street. Fewer stairs led to the basement and officials felt that fewer stairs would be preferable to the blind. 

The library opened with several books in Braille, Moon Type, and New York Point, about 500 volumes. The books included an eight-volume Bible, books by Dickens, an encyclopedia, the Eneid, Books in Latin, poetry and musical scores. 

Just as she had before November of 1897 at other libraries around the district, Helen spent a lot of time at the Reading Room for the Blind in the Library of Congress. She read what there was, but also assisted newly blinded patrons in learning how to read and write in one of the raised formats available. Many believed that Helen was one of the “elite” blind in D. C. as she had an education, was literate and conducted her music teaching business enough to support herself with comfort. 

Visitors from across the country and around the world came to visit the reading room. Some were curious sighted individuals. Others were the well-educated blind with no library services in their community.

Helen got to know Col. Edward F. Jones, a former Lieutenant Governor of New York who lost his sight later in life. He came to the Reading Room and learned to read and write in New York Point. The Blind Chaplin of the House of Representatives, Rev. Henry N. Couden came to read from the religious material. One blind man, a piano tuner by trade many times visited the library, just to warm up in the winter. The blind patrons and the librarian took him under their wing. They taught him to read and write, dress better and built up his self-respect. After many visits to the library, his piano tuning business grew. 

Helen not only contributed her own New York Point material to the library, but helped raise funds for the purchase of additional material for the reading room such as magazine subscriptions in alternative formats, raised line maps and books. 

Often Helen performed for the one-hour concerts on Wednesdays from 2:30 to 3:30 at the Reading Room. Her technique on the piano was considered to be superb. Her voice was strong, sweet and conveyed much emotion, bringing in not just blind patrons of the library, but sighted ones as well. When the performance began, the doors to the reading room were closed and no one was allowed to enter or leave until the end of the performance. 

If you would like more information about the Blind History Lady, contact Peggy Chong at:

Or call her at:  303-745-0473

Living with Sight Loss Seminar …p. 33

On February 16-18, 2022, we are hosting an Introduction to Living with Sight Loss Seminar at Hull Park. The schedule will contain immersive, hands-on workshops covering a variety of topics such as daily living skills, orientation and mobility training, functional vision assessments, vision aids, home organization tips, and more! Please contact the office at 503-668-6195 to request more information and a registration form.

Ushers Conference Event

On March 10-12, 2022 we are tentatively hosting an Ushers Conference.  There will be workshops and special speakers related to the topic of living with Sight and Hearing Loss. This event is currently tentatively scheduled. The event will go forth based on interest and number of registrations. If you would be interested in such an event, please contact the Hull Foundation and Learning Center office at 503-668-6195 or by email at to reserve your spot and receive a registration.

Upcoming Events

2022 will be an exciting and fun-filled year for our events! If you are interested in any of our recreational Getaway events and Retreats, please contact our office and get signed up! The spots can fill up very quickly, so jump in with both feet and save your spot and come out to Hull Park in 2022!

Winter Adventure Retreat- Feb. 6-12, 2022

A great time of snowshoeing, cross country skiing and jaunts around town!

Spring Fling Getaway- April 5-8, 2022

Come join us for games, crafts, enjoying the beautiful grounds of Hull Park, great food, and comradery!

Friends and Alumni Retreat- June 5-9, 2022

Come meet with old friends and make some news ones! We will enjoy visiting some local attractions, swim in the indoor swimming pool and spa, visit a living history museum, play games, and enjoy Hull Park in the spring!

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 opportunities 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 maize and 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!

-What happens if you eat Christmas decorations?
You get tinselitus.

-What do you call Santa when he stops moving?
Santa Pause.

What does an elf study in school?

The elfabet.

-What did the gingerbread man put under his blankets?
A cookie sheet.

-How much did Santa’s sleigh cost?

Nothing! It was on the house. 

We hope you all have a safe and wonderful Holiday Season!

The Hull Foundation Family

Phone:  503-668-6195  



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