Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired • Spring 2017

inside this issue...

· When We Help Each Other, Everyone Wins

· Engaging the Senses

· A Gift That Will Keep On Giving

· Student Award Winners & President’s Award

· Hadley’s iFocus Videos

· Blindness Awareness Month

· Hounds for Hadley Returns

Help Provide for Hadley’s Future
Including Hadley in your estate planning helps ensure that future students will continue to receive our award-winning programs and one-on-one instruction. Please consider designating Hadley as a beneficiary of an IRA, insurance policy or in your will or trust.

• Suggested wording to share with your attorney: I give ____% or $____to Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired, an Illinois non-profit corporation located at 700 Elm Street, Winnetka, IL 60093, EIN #36-2183809.

• If you have previously included Hadley in your will or trust using our former name, “The Hadley School for the Blind,” you do not need to change your documents.

Please let us know that you have made the decision to provide for Hadley’s future students so we may thank you and welcome you to the Clarence Boyd Jones Society! Contact Brooke Voss at 847.784.2774 or .

Connect with Hadley on Social Media
Did you know that Hadley has more than 5,500 likes on Facebook; 2,800 followers on Twitter; 690 followers on LinkedIn; and more than 1,000 subscribers on YouTube? Stay up-to-date on our latest courses, seminars, trends in the field and more! Search "Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually
Impaired" on any of these platforms and connect today!

A Letter from the President...
What a year! When I became President of Hadley Institute last spring, I was excited to work with a fascinating group of people who are experts in distance education and issues in the field of blindness and visual impairment. As I began to know the staff, Trustees, Woman’s Board, students and donors who comprise Hadley’s universe, I was struck by their ambitious spirits and big hearts and am grateful for new relationships with the people who create our wonderful “ensemble.”

In this issue of Generations, you’ll read about: students, whose stories inspire; teachers, who consistently go the extra mile to help students succeed; and donors, generous people like you who take the time to understand Hadley’s impact, and then take action by making contributions. Students, teachers and donors — the three legs of the Hadley stool — are essential and keep us standing tall.

We are pleased to introduce you to our 2016 Student Award winners on page 8. The stories
of Hadley students vary widely. For example, Family Education Award winner Michelle Albrecht adopted two blind children from foreign countries. Then, she enrolled at Hadley and learned
how to homeschool them. International Student of the Year Trivita Mathoora lives on a remote island in the Indian Ocean. She found Hadley, took charge of her own education and is now a teacher and a proficient braille reader.

Thanks to a major bequest from our friend and donor Jimmy Heimann, Hadley created an endowed fund to honor a braille teacher every two years, with the proceeds supporting braille instruction and curriculum development in perpetuity. The first Hadley teacher to receive this honor is Judy Matsuoka. Judy is a passionate advocate for braille and a gifted teacher — read about her on page 6.

Our donors’ stories are varied too, revealing deeply personal reasons for giving to Hadley. For example, Mimi Winer (page 4) is a long-time Hadley student who gives annually to say “thank you” to Hadley, the “organization that has helped me so much.”

The synergy among students, teachers and donors is rich and filled with stories of hope and heart. This is what makes our work so gratifying. Thank you for being part of it.

Warm regards,
Julie S. Tye, President

When We Help Each Other, Everyone Wins
Mimi’s sight loss began with a sudden disturbance of vision. It progressed to low vision, to legal blindness, to only light perception, then to total blindness.

Mimi Winer lost her vision vision due to retinal damage, a rare symptom of Lyme Disease, which doctors were not able to diagnose or treat when it struck Mimi more than 50 years ago. But sight loss did not slow Mimi down, it merely suggested a different path.

Mimi reminds us of our founder, William Hadley, who started a correspondence school in 1920 to teach “braille by mail,” after he lost his sight and found there were no educational resources for
adults who were blind. When Mimi began to lose her sight on her 32nd birthday — long before the internet — she, too, found that the existing resources for support and education were difficult to find.
She started her own support groups for people with vision loss and authored a book called Coping With Sight Loss.

During her journey, Mimi found Hadley. She first enrolled in 1982 and, since then, has completed 20 courses. Mimi told us, “I use skills I learned at Hadley every single day.”

She is especially grateful to Hadley teachers and staff, who “went above and beyond” to help her live independently. Hadley instructor Linn Sorge and Hadley’s Access Technology Specialist Allen Maynard “teamed up to help adapt my computer with special software and audio cues, so I can use it to email, keep my records, and download my precious audio books from the National Library Service. That wasn’t part of any course, but their personal commitment and compassion.”

Mimi attended Wellesley College and earned a degree in Philosophy. She says, “I have taken many courses from excellent instructors, but in my 86 years of living and learning, Linn Sorge has proven to be the most outstanding and dedicated instructor of them all.”

Mimi carefully considers the non-profit organizations that she supports. She has made annual contributions to Hadley for many years because, “I like to give to an organization that has done so much to help me.”

Engaging the Senses
by John Eskandari

Hadley practices what it teaches. In 2009, The Marylou Hayford Sensory Garden was created to be a memorial garden that was not only beautiful, but also engaged all senses: visual, tactile, olfactory, auditory and even taste. In 2016, Hadley wanted to truly maximize this experience for blind and sighted visitors alike. I was asked to take over the project and, having completed the program for Horticultural Therapy at the Chicago Botanic Garden the previous year, I was thrilled to explore this greater focus at Hadley.

Humbled by the request, I spent days working on combinations of seasonal plants that would really engage people who were blind or had low vision in the garden experience. The goal was for them to not only feel relaxed, but also to feel connected with the garden space through other senses, such as hearing wind chimes in the breeze and the gentle sounds of bubbling fountains. To increase touching and smelling, we used various tactile and olfactory plant gems like scented flowers, herbs or delicate grasses in low, shallow containers located in easy-to-access areas. Large tropical plants with diverse textural foliage added to the tactile experience.

Something that has been a driving force in my life is the deep belief that gardens and nature are critical to a person’s well-being and that they are a great human leveler… everyone enjoys plants and gardens. I also believe they should be accessible and engaging for everyone, allowing all senses to be activated: touch, sound, smell, taste, as well as visual. However, many gardens have been
designed only for visual appeal.

My goal for Hadley was — and continues to be — to enhance its own garden areas so they provide a truly engaging experience for all who visit.

As part of Low Vision Focus @ Hadley, a series of horticultural videos was developed with Barb Kreski, Director of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Horticultural Therapy Department. I worked with the Hadley team to generate these tutorial videos that allow individuals with varying degrees of vision loss to take part in garden-themed projects they can do at home that can expand personal enjoyment. Taking cuttings of plants; designing floral arrangements; preparing potpourri; creating a desert dish garden; and even explaining how to make a garden pizza using home-grown herbs and veggies are just a few of the topics. These videos are designed to teach some basic garden skills that can open up new hobby possibilities, as well as provide a multi-sensory experience for the student. This video project was funded thanks to a grant from the Abra Prentice Foundation.

As a horticulturalist, I am excited to see Hadley continue to provide courses and seminars that encourage being in nature. It has been my great pleasure, in the past few years, to be involved
as a subject matter expert for Hadley garden and bird songs courses. But I know I have
personally learned even more — through my work with Hadley’s incredible faculty and staff.

John Eskandari
Owner, Urban Plantsman
Arborist, Educator and
Horticultural Therapist

A Gift That Will Keep On Giving
Hadley instructor Judy Matsuoka was selected as the first recipient of the Cora L. and Manny H. Heimann Chair in Braille Literacy.

Ever since high school, Judy Matsuoka wanted to be a teacher. One summer when she couldn’t find employment, she volunteered at the Johanna Bureau for the Blind, where she learned braille. At Northern Illinois University (NIU), she became a certified braille transcriber and taught in the Waukegan Public Schools. Later, she received a Master of Special Education of Children with
Multiple Disabilities and Newly Blind Adults and, while teaching at Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education, became acquainted with three Hadley teachers.

NIU recruited Judy back as the Director of Rehab Technology in its Adult Blind Program. She initiated an Orientation and Mobility Program, and several of her students went on to become Hadley instructors, including Jennifer Ottowitz, Cathy Pasinski, Ginger Irwin and George Abbott. Judy then took a 10-year break from the blindness field and served as an Executive Director of a woman’s organization in Little Rock, Ark. Linn Sorge, another Hadley teacher, informed Judy of an opening for a braille instructor and, in 2006, she interviewed with a former student who was now Hadley’s Dean of Faculty. Judy has led the development of many things at Hadley, including the Visual Learners Group for faculty. When she became aware of the poor completion rate of parents who wanted to help their blind children learn braille, she developed a course to teach them how to use braille books with their children, similar to how parents engage with sighted children.

In 2012, the United States joined the rest of the English-speaking world in adopting the Unified English Braille (UEB) Code. Hadley quickly needed to develop a course to help professionals transition to UEB so they, in turn, could teach their students. Judy helped Ruth Rozen, a Hadley curriculum designer, write the course. Months earlier, Judy had been teaching students from other English-speaking countries who were already proficient in UEB, and they were asking questions she couldn’t answer. On her own, she took a course from Australia so she could provide the best teaching to her students, and also took the lead in teaching Hadley instructors UEB, including the development of additional supplements for them.

Judy believes courses need to be fun and engaging for professionals and family members. She said, “Those on the front lines need a really positive attitude toward braille. The best way to achieve that is for our courses and our interactions with students to be very positive.”

Judy is currently updating other courses, along with Lydia Schuck, a new Hadley curriculum
designer, who shares the attitude that braille courses should be engaging and motivating. Their ideas include using a video clip of a scuba diver who sees different fish on an eye chart, or using crossword puzzles in the learning process.

To people who say, “Why braille?”, Judy responds, “Braille still provides an experience in
reading that cannot be replaced or matched. When you read yourself, the voices you hear are your own; when you listen to audio books, those are other voices. The day you stop teaching sighted children to read print, is when you stop teaching braille to blind children.”

Judy remarked that when she was informed she would receive the Cora L. and Manny H. Heimann Endowed Chair in Braille Literacy, she initially had no words; she was honored and surprised. She said, “The fact that someone would give a gift that size to Hadley speaks volumes. This gift honors and encourages our faculty. It is significant that Hadley set this money aside only for braille literacy.”

If she could have met Jimmy Heimann, Judy commented, “After I thanked him, I would have asked him what was it that he saw in Hadley that prompted a gift of this size. What did he hope the gift would do, and what do we need to do to live up to the gift?”

Judy loves being a Hadley instructor, which she says is “a large well-oiled machine” that is focused on teaching. She noted, “Hadley keeps moving forward, and thanks to gifts like Jimmy’s, we can ‘think big’ here!”

Jimmy Heimann left $2,000,000 to Hadley in his trust which provides for the endowed chair in his parents’ names and will support braille literacy in perpetuity. We are grateful for his generosity and this legacy.

Annual Student Award Winners
In 1959, Hadley began an annual tradition of honoring our highest achievers. The Student Awards recognize individuals whose hard work, determination and spirit serve as an inspiration to others.