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VISIONS Newsletter
Sports and leisure through the eyes of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.


The Survey Says…

At least three times in 2006 and twice in early 2007, SportsVision tried
to offer recreational activities for youth who are visually impaired or
blind. Each time we had very little interest, and so we decided to take
some time to find out what, if any need exists for a regular recreation
and leisure program for this population. From August through October 2007,
SportsVision mailed out a “Survey of Program Interests” to Southwestern
Pennsylvania’s families of children who are visually impaired. Surveys
were sent to families from our own database as well as families served by
the Allegheny Intermediate Unit and the Pittsburgh Office of Blindness and
Visual Services. In total, 44 families responded to the survey. We
received great feedback and would like to take this opportunity to share
some of the results with you.

The top 20 activities of interest are:

Amusement Park
Swimming Bowling
Pirate Game
Snow Tubing
Roller Skating
Talent Show
Board Games
Tandem Biking

Frequency of desired activities:

Monthly 68%
Every Other Month 16%
Quarterly 14%

Distance willing to travel to an activity:

½ hour 36%
1 hour 39%
1-1/2 hours 9%
2 hours 14%

Desired length of an activity (Several respondents gave more than one

Less than 2 hours 23%
2-4 hours 59%
4-6 hours 31%
6-8 hours 11%

Amount willing to pay for an activity:

No Fee 2%
Up to $5 5%
Up to $10 27%
Up to $20 56%

Have an interest in attending repetitive activities (weekly/every other
week sessions):

Yes 80%
No 18%

Top 10 types of Repetitive activities:

Tandem Biking,
Ice Skating,
Martial Arts

Amount willing to pay for Repetitive Activities:

Less than $10 10%
$10-$20 14%
$20-$30 31%
More than $30 18%

The age range of youth respondents was as follows:

6-9 27%
10-14 30%
15-18 27%
18-21 14%

As we suspected, there is a definite need for a regular, on-going
recreation and leisure program for youth who are visually impaired in
Southwestern Pennsylvania. Our next step in developing such a program is
to create a foundation so the program can thrive. SportsVision needs help
from individuals who can assist in planning activities, ideas for
facilities to hold events, volunteers to lead activities, and help to
spread the word when activities are scheduled. If you can help in any way,
please either call 412-429-1996 or e-mail
Additional details regarding this new program will be mailed to families


Blind Bowlers Compete in Pittsburgh
More than 50 bowlers participated in the 31st Annual Keystone Blind
Bowling Tournament held February 15-17 at Noble Manor Lanes in Greentree.
Blind, visually impaired, and sighted bowlers from Florida, Maryland,
Washington D.C., North Carolina, and Pennsylvania competed in four events.
Bowlers from both blind bowling leagues in Pittsburgh (Steel Valley and
Mon Valley) competed. Dozens of members from local Lions Clubs helped by
spotting pins, selling tickets, and guiding participants. The King and
Queen of this year’s banquet were Brian Reader from Washington D.C. and
Sue Lichtenfels from Pittsburgh. They were the male and female who bowled
most over their average in the 2007 tournament. Lions District 14-B
Governor, Jay Wells spoke at this year’s banquet and helped to present the

Local Winners in Minnesota
Three members of SportsVision’s Audio Darts program traveled to
Minneapolis the last weekend in January for the annual Twin Cities Audio
Dart Tournament. The trio won $750 in prize money and brought home three
trophies. Joe Wassermann led the efforts with a first place in 501
Doubles, third place in 301 singles and 301 doubles, and fourth in 501
singles. He also won the high ton award in the 301 singles event for
throwing a 130 point round. Bob Lichtenfels took home second place in 301
singles and 301 doubles. Sue Lichtenfels won fourth in 301 singles and won
the high ton for 501 singles with a 162 round. Sue’s 162 ton stood as the
high round for the weekend, giving her another honor.

New Arts & Crafts Book
Stephanie Stevens Vann, a long-time professional in the blindness field,
who has worked for many years in Western Pennsylvania, has written and
recently revised an updated edition of a “how to guide” to craft making
for people who are visually impaired. “NEW INDEPENDENCE! Craft Adaptations
for Adults with Vision Impairments” includes directions for 15 craft
projects, resource section, and hints list. From the book jacket, “People
who have enjoyed making crafts at different times in their lives prior to
vision loss may think they can no longer continue. Also, individuals who
would like to begin making crafts for the first time may hesitate because
of reduced vision. But we know, from years of teaching experience with
individuals who have little or no sight, that it is very possible to
continue the fun activity of craft-making. This book—with its extensive
range of easy adaptations—will show you how it can be done!” The book
sells for $25 and is available in a downloadable PDF file from For a hard copy, write to AWARE, PO Box 96, Mohegan
Lake, NY, 10547 or call 914-528-5120.

GTCB Bowl-a-thon
The Golden Triangle Council of the Blind (GTCB) will hold its third annual
bowl-a-thon on Saturday, April 19, 2008. Bowlers who are blind, visually
impaired, or sighted are invited to roll three games at Playmor Bowl
located at 5840 Buttermilk Hollow Road in West Mifflin. The event runs
from 12:30—4:30 PM. Admission is $12, but anyone bringing at least $50 in
sponsorship money on the day of bowling will have their admission fee
waived. GTCB will also have a chance auction and 50/50 raffle at the
bowling center. Teams are welcome, but the captain should reserve in
advance to hold a lane. Contact GTCB at 412-343-9900 or
for more information.

New Museum of Disability History

As long as there have been people, there have been people with
differences. To acknowledge and honor these differences, People Inc. is
developing a Museum of disability History. The museum is dedicated to the
story of the lives, the struggles and the successes of people with
disabilities. The eventual goal of this outreach project is to create a
permanent space for exhibits and artifacts. If you would like to be part
of building the museum, you can help by donating artifacts or expertise.
In preparation for a permanent home, the project is focused on collecting
materials and noting their significance. If you have old adaptive
equipment, photographs, letters, or artwork related to people with
disabilities? They could become part of an exhibition that helps to
educate the public on the history of the disability culture. People can
currently learn more about the history of people with disabilities by
taking a virtual tour on the web site, or by
viewing the traveling exhibit. For more information, contact Douglas A.
Platt, project coordinator, at 716-817-7477.


2007 Talent Showcase for VIPS

The spotlight shone bright on eight Visually Impaired Performers (VIPS) at
SportsVision’s first-ever Talent Showcase. Friends, family members, and
community spectators gathered at the Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church
on Saturday, October 20, 2007 to see the many talents that exist within
Southwestern Pennsylvania’s blind and visually impaired community. The
evening began when Bill Newland, our blind MC welcomed everyone. Autumn
Self charged up the audience by singing and playing keyboard to “Get This
Party Started.” Autumn also entertained the group with several numbers
from Jennifer Lopez. Dominika Oliver shared her beautiful musical
abilities on not one, but three instruments: obo, cello, and piano. Linda
Davis awed the audience by singing “Miracles” a song she and her friend
Eileen wrote. Marty Mathews captured everyone’s attention with her flute
accompaniment of “The Going Home Theme” and a compilation of Stephen
Foster songs. Terri Winaught’s melodious vocals impressed everyone with
her renditions of “Climb Every Mountain” and “Ave Maria.” Jim Musto
re-energized the crowd after a break for refreshments by playing “The
Chicken Dance” and “Alley Cat” on his accordion. Brian Stiggers stunned
the audience when he sang a capella “My Sherrie Amour” and “Never Felt
This Way.” Mike Gravatt tickled everyone’s funny bone with his retelling
of adventures as a blind man. The crowd closed out the evening with a
sing-along to “Hit the Road Jack” accompanied by Autumn Self on the

Kudos go out to the eight courageous VIPS who wowed our crowd with their
talents! The event planning team of Darlene Barton, Bill Newland and Sue
Lichtenfels made sure the evening would be a success. Several additional
individuals assisted with the refreshments and by guiding participants to
and from the stage. Ron Dag assisted with the PA system. Colleen Castro
took the pictures. Rose DeAugustine recorded the audio files. Thanks to
everyone for a great job! Let’s make the 2008 Talent Showcase bigger and

For those who missed the fun, audio files of the 2007 Talent Showcase will
soon be available on the SportsVision website at

Looking To Lose?

The National MS Society sponsors a Weight Watchers group for people with
disabilities. Meetings take place Saturdays at Noon at Magee Hospital in
Oakland. For a 12-week session, individuals with MS pay $72 while those
with a different disability or no disability pay $144. The group is open
to friends of people with disabilities, their co-workers, family, or care
partners. To learn more about this Weight Watchers program, contact
Valerie Hawkins at 412-828-1484 or


VSA Arts Call for Scripts
The VSA Arts Playwright Discovery Program invites middle and high school
students to examine the ways in which disability affects their lives and
the lives of others, and to express their views through the art of
playwriting. Playwrights may write from their own experience or about a
experience in the life of another person or fictional character. Young
playwrights with and without disabilities are encouraged to submit a
script. Entries may be the work of an individual student or a
collaboration by a group or class of students. The winning play will be
professionally produced at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts. The
winner receives $2,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C., to see his/her play
performed. Authors must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the
U.S. and be students in grades 6 to 12. Complete program guidelines and
application materials are available at Deadline for
entries is April 11, 2008.

Summer Braille Music Institute
The National Resource Center for Blind Musicians is accepting applications
for its seminar for blind college-bound musicians, which will be held July
14-20 at the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia, PA. Designed
for serious Braille-reading music students preparing for or already in
college (ages average 17-21), the program tailors instruction to each
person's need to develop Braille music and theory skills, and to learn to
use technology to submit music assignments in print notation. Applicants
must have already studied some music theory, have had several years of
music lessons, and be able to present a polished and pleasing performance.
Contact the Resource Center regarding tuition, scholarship criteria, and
the application and audition procedure. Deadline for requesting
applications is April 12; all application materials must be in the
Resource Center office by May 8. Also contact the Resource Center if
you are a sighted teacher and would like to gain experience as an intern
helping out during the program, or are a parent and would like to bring a
younger student for an evaluation. The Resource Center now works with
colleges and state agencies to provide phone and online tutoring to
students studying music at the college level. For more information, visit; call David Goldstein at 203-366-3300, Ext. 229;
or e-mail

Call for Artists
The Eye Care Center at the Southern California College of Optometry
announces the "Call for Artists" for "Shared Visions 2008-2009", the
fourth annual juried art exhibit by artists who are blind or legally
blind. Works selected will be exhibited in the Eye Care Center for a
period of one year. The deadline for entries is May 14, 2008.
For the application to enter the fourth annual exhibit, (September 2008-
August, 2009), visit For
questions, contact Rebecca Kammer at 714-449-7473 or

** ABOUT US **

SportsVision develops opportunities for individuals who are visually
impaired to participate in competitive sports and life-long leisure
activities. Our vision is a community where people who are visually
impaired have the freedom to pursue and enjoy the many benefits of sports
and leisure opportunities. SportsVision is a 501c3 not-for-profit
organization. All contributions are tax deductible.

Please contact SportsVision at 412-429-1996 for subscription requests. Article submissions and content suggestions for “VISIONS” are always
welcome at P.O. Box 23053, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 or





PO Box 13202 | Pittsburgh, PA 15243
Phone: 412.429.1996 | Email:
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