sharju1's blog http://lighthousecfl.org/blog en Meet Todd: A Renewed Sense of Confidence! http://lighthousecfl.org/node/152 <span>Meet Todd: A Renewed Sense of Confidence!</span> <div><div class="lantern-top"> <div class="career-cover"><h class="lantern-title">THE LANTERN</h></div> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sharju1</span></span> <span>Wed, 10/23/2019 - 13:30</span> <div class="lantern-art-title">Meet Todd: A Renewed Sense of Confidence!</div> <div class="lantern-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2019-10/Todd%20LaFlame.jpg?itok=FqIeqb2x" width="488" height="650" alt="An image of Todd at the Lighthouse Works office holding a sign that says &#039;We are all one&#039;" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <div class="lantern-content"><p>Dear Friends,</p> <p><img alt="Todd speaking at the National Entrepreneur Center" src="/themes/monoset-master/images/ToddNEC.jpg" style="float: right; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px;" />October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month -- a time to celebrate the many contributions Americans with disabilities make in the workplace.</p> <p>All month we have been showcasing a few of the talented team members from our Lighthouse WORKS social enterprise nonprofit.</p> <p>Today, I want to introduce you to Todd L., a lead customer care professional at 4Sight360, the commercial contact center operated by <a href="https://lighthouseworks.org/" target="_blank">Lighthouse WORKS</a>.</p> <p>Before applying for a job at Lighthouse Works, Todd had been out of the workforce for nearly 20 years.</p> <p>"I'm someone who is legally blind and for a long time didn't think the workforce would accept me. My dream was to return to work, but I'd lost my confidence--in fact there were people around me who fed my fears and told me I shouldn't apply anywhere."</p> <p>Today, having been with the call center for two years, Todd's confidence is back!</p> <p>As lead customer care professional, Todd is responsible for assisting agents--many of whom are also visually impaired--when they have issues with their computers.</p> <p><img alt="Todd posing with coworker Norma and Lighthouse President and CEO Kyle Johnson" src="/themes/monoset-master/images/ToddNormaKJ.jpeg" style="float: right; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px;" />"Lighthouse has afforded me the time and training to learn the processes and operations of a commercial contact center. In fact through Lighthouse and the National Industries for the Blind (NIB)- I've enrolled to get certified in Effective Supervision training and continue learning how to best apply my leadership skills!"</p> <p>"It feels great to be on such a meaningful career path."</p> <p>"Never let anyone steal your dreams! I've learned to not accept the limitations other people put on you."</p> <p>"I can do whatever I set my mind to do. If I decide to do it, I'm going to do it!"</p> <p><a href="https://lighthousecfl.org/WeSeeWhatsPossible" target="_blank"><span>See what YOU can make possible with your donation to Lighthouse Central Florida!</span></a><br /><br /> Thank YOU!</p> <p><img alt="A headshot of Kyle Johnson" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5615a860-732f-4559-8046-1b1996b33bc8" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/kyle-headshot.jpg" width="100" /> <br /> Kyle Johnson<br /> President &amp; CEO<br /> Lighthouse Central Florida</p> </div> <div class="back-to-lantern"><a href="/Lantern">BACK TO THE LANTERN</a></div> Wed, 23 Oct 2019 17:30:55 +0000 sharju1 152 at http://lighthousecfl.org Meet Brian: Team Member, Advocate...& More! http://lighthousecfl.org/node/151 <span>Meet Brian: Team Member, Advocate...&amp; More!</span> <div><div class="lantern-top"> <div class="career-cover"><h class="lantern-title">THE LANTERN</h></div> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sharju1</span></span> <span>Wed, 10/16/2019 - 10:43</span> <div class="lantern-art-title">Meet Brian: Team Member, Advocate...&amp; More!</div> <div class="lantern-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2019-10/BrianDC2019.jpg?itok=rQDwyr9h" width="650" height="488" alt="Brian with Lighthouse President Kyle Johnson, and Lighthouse Vice President Kaleb Stunkard in Washington DC in front of the Capital building" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <div class="lantern-content"><p>Dear Friends,</p> <p><img alt="Brian assembling boxes when he first started working at Lighthouse Works in the supply chain division" src="/themes/monoset-master/images/BrianSupply2018.jpg" style="float: right; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px;" />October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month--a time to celebrate the many contributions Americans with disabilities make in the workplace.</p> <p>I want to introduce you to Brian L., a customer care professional at 4Sight360, the commercial contact center operated by Lighthouse Works.</p> <p><a href="https://lighthouseworks.org/" target="_blank">Lighthouse Works</a> is our social enterprise nonprofit created to train and provide competitive employment to working-age adults who are visually impaired as well as generate revenue to support vision rehabilitation programs at Lighthouse Central Florida.</p> <p>Brian lost his vision later in life. As a father of four who was used to working, it was a difficult adjustment. Employers seemed wary to take a chance on hiring a candidate who was blind--despite his experience and credentials.</p> <p>But Brian persisted. He began taking assistive technology and work readiness classes at Lighthouse Central Florida and when an opportunity arose at Lighthouse Works, Brian interviewed and was hired.</p> <p><img alt="Brian at home sitting in a chair with his two sons on his lap" src="/themes/monoset-master/images/BrianSons2019.jpg" style="float: right; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px;" /><strong>"I have to work. I can't just sit at home and do nothing. I need to provide for and set an example for my children. The Lighthouse family has helped me do just that!" --Brian L.</strong></p> <p>Outside of the workplace Brian coaches his son's baseball team. He and his wife also run an outreach ministry to the homeless.</p> <p>Representing Lighthouse Works as this year's <a href="https://www.nib.org/" target="_blank">National Industries for the Blind</a> Advocate for Leadership &amp; Employment, Brian is learning to engage policy makers on issues impacting Central Florida's workers who are blind or visually impaired.</p> <p><span>See what YOU can make possible with your donation to Lighthouse Central Florida!</span><br /><br /> Thank YOU!</p> <p><img alt="A headshot of Kyle Johnson" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5615a860-732f-4559-8046-1b1996b33bc8" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/kyle-headshot.jpg" width="100" /> <br /> Kyle Johnson<br /> President &amp; CEO<br /> Lighthouse Central Florida</p> </div> <div class="back-to-lantern"><a href="/Lantern">BACK TO THE LANTERN</a></div> Wed, 16 Oct 2019 14:43:08 +0000 sharju1 151 at http://lighthousecfl.org Meet Sophia: On A Mission of Self- Empowerment! http://lighthousecfl.org/node/150 <span>Meet Sophia: On A Mission of Self- Empowerment!</span> <div><div class="lantern-top"> <div class="career-cover"><h class="lantern-title">THE LANTERN</h></div> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sharju1</span></span> <span>Tue, 10/15/2019 - 15:59</span> <div class="lantern-art-title">Meet Sophia: On A Mission of Self- Empowerment!</div> <div class="lantern-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2019-10/Sophia%202019%202_0.jpg?itok=d1HMBciI" width="488" height="650" alt="Sophia and her guide dog standing on a walkway next to a lake" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <div class="lantern-content"><p>Dear Friends,</p> <p><img alt="Sophia walking with her guide dog in front of the Lighthouse Central Florida building" src="/themes/monoset-master/images/Sophia.jpg" style="float: right; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px;" />This month, we at Lighthouse have been celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness--a time to celebrate the many contributions Americans with disabilities make in the workplace.</p> <p>Today, I want to introduce you to Sophia S., a customer care professional at 4Sight360, the commercial contact center operated by Lighthouse Works.</p> <p>Sophia lost her vision four years ago. Now, at the age of 41, she admits the adjustment was incredibly difficult to accept:</p> <p>"When I first lost my sight, the most difficult thing was losing my independence. I have four children who are completely dependent on me. No matter how sad I was, I knew I still had to step up for them."</p> <p>Sophia found the adjustment was made easier after receiving training at Lighthouse Central Florida. She learned how to navigate her community safely, was matched with a guide dog and successfully completed work-readiness courses that allowed her to confidently re-enter the workforce.</p> <p><img alt="Sophia posing with her son who is wearing a graduation gown" src="/themes/monoset-master/images/Sophia4.jpg" style="float: right; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px;" />"Today I'm a customer care professional at Lighthouse WORKS! I take inbound phone calls. It's very high volume and you have to move fast."</p> <p>"I use a screen reader. No one that I speak to on the phone knows that I'm blind. That's the good part, they don't have any lower expectations. What they're getting from me is the best customer care!"</p> <p>Sophia has totally transformed her attitude toward vision loss and approach to life, and it's contagious! She has recently formed a women's empowerment group with other Lighthouse WORKS colleagues, and was featured in <a href="https://www.clickorlando.com/news/organization-is-ray-of-light-for-blind-visually-impaired-in-central-florida?blm_aid=0" target="_blank">a local WKMG news story.</a></p> <p>"I want people to know that just because you're blind doesn't mean you have to be sad or you have to stop living. It's been pretty hard for me the last four years, but I'm embracing it. I've learned to love who I've become."</p> <p><a href="https://lighthousecfl.org/WeSeeWhatsPossible" target="_blank"><span>See what YOU can make possible with your donation to Lighthouse Central Florida!</span></a><br /><br /> Thank YOU!</p> <p><img alt="A headshot of Kyle Johnson" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5615a860-732f-4559-8046-1b1996b33bc8" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/kyle-headshot.jpg" width="100" /> <br /> Kyle Johnson<br /> President &amp; CEO<br /> Lighthouse Central Florida</p> </div> <div class="back-to-lantern"><a href="/Lantern">BACK TO THE LANTERN</a></div> Tue, 15 Oct 2019 19:59:07 +0000 sharju1 150 at http://lighthousecfl.org Makenzie’s Little Room http://lighthousecfl.org/node/149 <span>Makenzie’s Little Room</span> <div><div class="lantern-top"> <div class="career-cover"><h class="lantern-title">THE LANTERN</h></div> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sharju1</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/25/2019 - 14:01</span> <div class="lantern-art-title">Makenzie’s Little Room</div> <div class="lantern-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2019-09/Makenzie3web.jpg?itok=AlgIcU1X" width="300" height="400" alt="Mackenzie and her sister sitting in their mother&#039;s lap posing for a photo" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <div class="lantern-content"><p>Dear Friends,</p> <p><img alt="Makenzie laying down in her crib" src="/themes/monoset-master/images/Makenzie1web.jpg" style="float: right; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px;" />Our Early Intervention (EI) mentors help guide children, living with blindness and vision loss, through all their developmental milestones in order to be confident, life-long learners.</p> <p>Eleven month-old Makenzie is a happy and active little girl. She has a condition that affects the visual part of her brain and limits her ability to see.</p> <p>Four months ago, Makenzie's mom, Kathy, enrolled her in Lighthouse's EI program. They were assigned EI mentor, Kaitie.</p> <p>Kaitie quickly set about introducing the "Little Room" concept to Makenzie's household. A "Little Room" is a sensory-rich space created to promote active learning</p> <p><strong>"It's important that everytime Makenzie moves around this space she is able to touch something that makes a noise, has an interesting texture or is visually appealing when it moves. This helps her better understand space and develop early object concepts." --Kaitie, EI Mentor </strong></p> <p><img alt="Makenzie in the lap of her EI Mentor Katie posing for a photo" src="/themes/monoset-master/images/Makenzie4web.jpg" style="float: right; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px;" /><strong>"We’re really happy with the services and the progress Makenzie has made and grateful for the tools like the Little Room that we’ve been given to help Makenzie learn to use her remaining vision.” --Kathy, Makenzie's mom</strong></p> <p>Your support of Lighthouse Central Florida helps us provide EI services to babies and children, from birth to age 5, which are critical in preventing unnecessary developmental delays due to vision impairment.</p> <p><a href="https://lighthousecfl.org/WeSeeWhatsPossible" target="_blank"><span>See what YOU can make possible with your donation to Lighthouse Central Florida!</span></a><br /><br /> Thank YOU!</p> <p><img alt="A headshot of Kyle Johnson" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5615a860-732f-4559-8046-1b1996b33bc8" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/kyle-headshot.jpg" width="100" /> <br /> Kyle Johnson<br /> President &amp; CEO<br /> Lighthouse Central Florida</p> </div> <div class="back-to-lantern"><a href="/Lantern">BACK TO THE LANTERN</a></div> Wed, 25 Sep 2019 18:01:08 +0000 sharju1 149 at http://lighthousecfl.org Maria's Passion for Dance http://lighthousecfl.org/node/147 <span>Maria&#039;s Passion for Dance</span> <div><div class="lantern-top"> <div class="career-cover"><h class="lantern-title">THE LANTERN</h></div> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sharju1</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/17/2019 - 10:09</span> <div class="lantern-art-title">Maria's Passion for Dance</div> <div class="lantern-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2019-09/Maria%20Dance%208.jpg?itok=kctQFqS5" width="650" height="433" alt="Lighthouse staffer, Maria, leads her Colombian folk dance troupe during recent performance." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <div class="lantern-content"><p>Dear Friends:</p> <p><img alt="Lighthouse staffer, Maria [left] embraces graduate from recent Foundations of Daily Living course" src="/themes/monoset-master/images/MariaClient1.JPG" style="float: right; width: 300px; margin-left: 20px;" />September marks Hispanic Heritage Month. It's a time to recognize the history and cultural contributions of our Latinix neighbors--while celebrating our shared values.</p> <p>I wanted to use this opportunity to introduce you to Maria Saavedra--a staffer at Lighthouse Central Florida responsible for coordinating vision rehabilitation care for over 200 of our community's senior citizens each year.</p> <p>As a care coordinator, Maria helps each client formulate a customized care plan based on their individual needs.</p> <p>By sharing her own personal journey with vision loss, Maria finds that she is able to better connect with her clients.<img alt="Lighthouse staffer, Maria [far left], poses with Lighthouse Academy students following a lesson on dance" src="/themes/monoset-master/images/MariaDance6.jpg" style="float: right; width: 300px; margin-left: 20px;" /></p> <p>Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Maria maintains a deep passion for performing and teaching traditional folk dance around Central Florida with a troupe she founded.</p> <p><strong>Maria has even helped incorporate dance into lesson plans for our younger, school-aged clients.<br /> "I consider myself a Lighthouse Ambassador! I enjoy being in the community promoting the arts and demonstrating what's possible beyond vision loss!" --Maria Saavedra</strong></p> <p>Your support of Lighthouse Central Florida helps us provide our friends and neighbors with the skills, devices and resources that facilitate safe, independent and confident adjustment to their vision impairment.</p> <p><a href="https://lighthousecfl.org/Donate">See what YOU can make possible with your donation to Lighthouse Central Florida!</a><br /><br /> Thank YOU!</p> <p><img alt="A headshot of Kyle Johnson" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5615a860-732f-4559-8046-1b1996b33bc8" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/kyle-headshot.jpg" style="width: 100px;" /> <br /> Kyle Johnson<br /> President &amp; CEO<br /> Lighthouse Central Florida</p> </div> <div class="back-to-lantern"><a href="/Lantern">BACK TO THE LANTERN</a></div> Tue, 17 Sep 2019 14:09:04 +0000 sharju1 147 at http://lighthousecfl.org Talking Transportation | Next Stop…Independence! http://lighthousecfl.org/node/146 <span>Talking Transportation | Next Stop…Independence!</span> <div><div class="lantern-top"> <div class="career-cover"><h class="lantern-title">THE LANTERN</h></div> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sharju1</span></span> <span>Fri, 08/30/2019 - 11:10</span> <div class="lantern-art-title">Talking Transportation | Next Stop…Independence!</div> <div class="lantern-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2019-08/transportation1.jpg?itok=9d0VAaxX" width="650" height="486" alt="Three Lighthouse Academy Students getting on a LYNX bus together" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <div class="lantern-content"><p>Dear Friends:</p> <p><img alt="An Orientation and Mobility client waiting at a SunRail station" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="fa32b6a3-dfa2-4935-88d4-9ac6878c389c" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Makeda-OM.jpg" style="float: right; width: 250px; margin-left: 20px;" />Access to safe, reliable public transportation has been an ongoing challenge in the region and remains an issue that directly impacts our clients—many of whom are considered transportation disadvantaged.</p> <p>In a recent <a href="https://u3830735.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/click?upn=kJBbVe6m3gfU2bnNnrEgeNF27G6n9cEJKYeibf1AV4ZzoBHv1umcoP3mAFb-2FxqvsErgA9Zx8euN6UH6-2Fv04Gt13-2BXbKOjJ2WY4XdZH2Lao9F-2Bh-2BuoROzi5SDm8z5kpCJuoQTBhoPNVHYkTPgC2izIjYRE9Xwj-2B6wvZeH5hj6mBQiOgV5e-2BQhFBFQG0wr1-2Fp6Ipv7qxXCtaJh4uD-2FhN-2BwGg-3D-3D_RaDJEZCE6xOcj3A-2BSUJk5d2EhoIk44MGmusuvcgsow5hD22sxiftzG7Lqh4YMVZa2kWSG5hakgYbe3wL8hQH2sQde6KBTNXcRjpfdfdiYGeJjO8yMRfCP9N0XZ396FxZbzz2B8HeO2PPTh-2BXUqlCWoEgkIZUlR1MUkbXnLC7v3SSN56pmERIhJ8KI-2FBBqL82gVdcMVFVnp75VDeASIKnaKBlNSFB3ddjTsc0Dj02LN4-3D" target-="">Orlando Sentinel op/ed commemorating passage of the ADA</a>, Lighthouse board member and public policy chair, Cathy Matthews points out:</p> <p><strong><em><span class="font-blue">“To be able to thrive, those needing paratransit should have reliable transportation to meet all the conventional needs of daily living like, attending college, shopping for groceries or making a medical appointment.”</span></em></strong><br /><br /> Our certified instructors teach students--of all ages--how to navigate safely in space as pedestrians on sidewalks or as commuters riding public transportation.<br /><br /><img alt="An Orientation Mobility Instructor walking a client through using a LYNX bus" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="e486efc7-436c-4097-a8fb-371582f181de" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Brenda-OM.jpg" style="float: right; width: 250px; margin-left: 20px;" />Your support of Lighthouse Central Florida helps our  clients discover or reconnect to the world around them in safe, inclusive and meaningful ways.</p> <p><a href="https://u3830735.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/click?upn=kJBbVe6m3gfU2bnNnrEgeHrFb8tVFbOp73EP1hBzE9b3O7QRkpg4EsvMM1-2B7ss3FiYlxNA3aFeT3LZksUCcYTdGbo2Z2NI0ork-2FDOrtTOV9PrF93kLI2BUQ6lcAX2RH-2BX94R1MT9XybyWvNh-2Fngf1e2hNIT-2FnP-2FEw81MAC9g-2BYs-3D_RaDJEZCE6xOcj3A-2BSUJk5d2EhoIk44MGmusuvcgsow5hD22sxiftzG7Lqh4YMVZa2kWSG5hakgYbe3wL8hQH2tnpE9qEZCHMKNGvRnl4WxMbR4HxJ46vni0V2rOVBBDeAV9MGJt6wj9N6gFZLeu6tAIiE8dMDsM0tOBEEEuEv623EdSoIXQ-2FElBLaXnwhd2hCqRX6DE3MA6EdCW99y8FeUnmSo6WRo-2BNwExEd9l028o-3D" target-="">CLICK HERE to complete a quick survey and add your voice to a community discussion on Transportation Funding hosted by Orange County government. </a></p> <p><a href="https://u3830735.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/click?upn=kJBbVe6m3gfU2bnNnrEgeNWYMycSNK8DgIhgv2UNZ-2FOq4T0ZY6ls0-2BTiC8Xf7pQVvOVYfV-2FCiWYAo1HO5IgP5A-3D-3D_RaDJEZCE6xOcj3A-2BSUJk5d2EhoIk44MGmusuvcgsow5hD22sxiftzG7Lqh4YMVZa2kWSG5hakgYbe3wL8hQH2jOb0GSMDWMZ-2FFIjr6Zwz-2BTEW3CsRSqO1-2By3tm75YlFD1ZCwiogXmwd6C8oLLKUCifNVKl5Faz2GSbSuq1PAFQAxx5NfGv7lMHu1DmnEY4C7DrgbWbKwVrtsfJlASiF-2FdZBm1OBvo3o1DLYlavUxDlo-3D" target-="">See what YOU can make possible with your donation to Lighthouse Central Florida!</a><br /><br /><br /> Thank YOU!</p> <p><img alt="A headshot of Kyle Johnson" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5615a860-732f-4559-8046-1b1996b33bc8" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/kyle-headshot.jpg" style="width: 100px;" /> <br /> Kyle Johnson<br /> President &amp; CEO<br /> Lighthouse Central Florida</p> </div> <div class="back-to-lantern"><a href="/Lantern">BACK TO THE LANTERN</a></div> Fri, 30 Aug 2019 15:10:06 +0000 sharju1 146 at http://lighthousecfl.org On 29th Anniversary of ADA – A Need to Prioritize Paratransit http://lighthousecfl.org/node/141 <span>On 29th Anniversary of ADA – A Need to Prioritize Paratransit </span> <div><div class="lantern-top"> <div class="career-cover"><h class="lantern-title">THE LANTERN</h></div> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sharju1</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/25/2019 - 12:27</span> <div class="lantern-art-title">On 29th Anniversary of ADA – A Need to Prioritize Paratransit </div> <div class="lantern-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2019-07/cathymatthews.jpg?itok=wDTPiDmF" width="650" height="406" alt="A dual image with an image of buses at the downtown LYNX station, and a headshot of Cathy Matthews to the right" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <div class="lantern-content"><p class="x_MsoNormal">In observance of the Americans With Disabilities Act’s (ADA), 29 years as federal law, longtime parent advocate and Lighthouse supporter, Cathy Matthews, submitted this piece.  Matthews encourages local officials to honor the landmark anti-discrimination law by prioritizing paratransit services.  This piece also ran in <i>The Orlando Sentinel</i>.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><i>Cathy Matthews is a systems engineer residing in Orlando, previously a Military Training Systems Engineering Executive, with over thirty years experience.  She is now Director of a consulting company supporting industries providing products for military training. She sits on the board of directors at Lighthouse Central Florida and chairs its public policy committee. Matthews is the mother of a visually impaired young man and is a charter member of Central Floridians For Public Transit.</i><br />  </p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%"><b><u>On 29<sup>th</sup> Anniversary of ADA –A Need to Prioritize Paratransit </u></b></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">BY: Cathy Matthews</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">Today marks the 29<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).  The landmark legislation, signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the public.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">Nowhere is the continued importance of the ADA’s impact more relevant than now.  Particularly related to transportation.  Paratransit is the public transportation service that provides transportation for those in need of door-to-door public transportation, those who do not have the ability to drive, and those without the financial wherewithal to pay for each trip they take.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">As the mother of a son who is visually impaired, this issue resonates on a personal level. </p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">To be able to thrive, those needing paratransit should have reliable transportation to meet all the conventional needs of daily living like, attending college, shopping for groceries or making a medical appointment.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">Locally, the service is known as Access LYNX and is run by the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority, more commonly known as LYNX.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">I sit on the board at Lighthouse Central Florida—a local nonprofit that serves the blind and visually impaired, many of whom (my son included) — are considered ‘transportation disadvantaged’ and therefore heavily reliant on paratransit services.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">At Lighthouse and other community-based forums, I’ve heard all manner of testimony—good, bad and ugly—from clients and staff regarding their experiences using the shared-ride service—a service for which riders do pay a fare.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">For someone who is visually impaired or otherwise physically disabled, the prospect of reclaiming a life of independence can seem remote with a series of bad Access LYNX experiences. </p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">Conversely, an efficiently run, technologically optimized paratransit system can serve as the critical component that connects those in need to the resources they need to remain independent and fully engaged in life.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">Two years ago, in an attempt to improve travel options and customer service, LYNX adopted a mobility management model consisting of LYNX employees staffing the call center for better program management, introducing ridership to other potential modes of transportation, and providing easier payment methods.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">While these changes are very welcome, there is much more work to do.  As a systems engineer, I fully believe that prioritizing the integration of technology and its subsequent deployment to bring efficiency to paratransit is long overdue. </p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">Optimum deployment of vehicles with real-time changes in pick-up and drop-off is achievable with today's technology.  It requires a change in how scheduling and routing is communicated, resulting in efficiencies for the service and the ridership.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">With new leadership now in place at LYNX, it is my hope that the spirit of the ADA be honored by placing a renewed sense of urgency on improving paratransit service. </p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">A recent report by New York University’s Wagner School and titled, <i>Intelligent Paratransit</i>, offers several technological recommendations that could be applied here in Central Florida.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">Key findings include:</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">1) Ride reservations should be available through multiple channels: phone, apps, SMS messaging, physical infrastructure on the street and wearable technology for riders;</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">2) Paratransit agencies must collaborate with taxis and app-based car services, like Uber and Lyft to integrate more efficient services;</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">3) Services connecting riders to transit should feature real-time, in-vehicle data integration with transit services to optimize accessibility of trips;</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">4) As cities grow in language diversity, paratransit vehicles should feature on-board translation apps and call-in numbers (visually displayed and audible) to better serve all riders.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">With longer life spans, and an increasing Central Florida population, the demand for transportation options that cater to the transportation disadvantaged, will continue to rise.   </p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">By applying new technological systems to a 29 year old mandate, paratransit services can be made more efficient and provide a better customer experience.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:105%">Here in Central Florida we must do our part to preserve the ADA’s promise of equality and ensure all our neighbors have the opportunity to live lives of inclusion and independence.</p> </div> <div class="back-to-lantern"><a href="/Lantern">BACK TO THE LANTERN</a></div> Thu, 25 Jul 2019 16:27:50 +0000 sharju1 141 at http://lighthousecfl.org My Take on CSUN Assistive Technology Conference 2019 http://lighthousecfl.org/node/134 <span>My Take on CSUN Assistive Technology Conference 2019 </span> <div><div class="lantern-top"> <div class="career-cover"><h class="lantern-title">THE LANTERN</h></div> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sharju1</span></span> <span>Fri, 03/22/2019 - 14:33</span> <div class="lantern-art-title">My Take on CSUN Assistive Technology Conference 2019</div> <div class="lantern-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2019-03/CSUN%202019%20b.jpg?itok=doFDwkU2" width="650" height="475" alt="a woman who is visually impaired trying on a headset imaging device at the CSUN conference" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <div class="lantern-content"><p><strong>My Take on CSUN Assistive Technology Conference 2019 | By: Mike Fox</strong></p> <p>Being the biggest tech conference in our field, CSUN was an amazing experience. The trip was fun, and I learned about things that will help improve both our compliance testing process and our accessibility software development. I’ve attended a lot of developer events, but few cover accessibility on that level. CSUN is as good as it gets, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend.</p> <p>On the compliance side, I found out about the latest and greatest tools, and got a preview of upcoming changes in the WCAG standards. I also got a look at another team’s process, including some high-level statistics about their findings. I even learned a thing or two about the legal aspect of compliance testing and where the ADA fits in the grand scheme of things.</p> <p>And on the software development side, I learned a lot about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in accessibility applications. It was fascinating to get into the details of how it works and what it can do. I also learned a few new tricks for making web content more accessible, things I can use both in my own projects and recommend in our audits.</p> <p>Find out more about what our Digital Accessibility Services team can do for you: <a href="https://wcagcompliancecheck.com">wcagcompliancecheck.com</a></p> <p><em>Mike Fox is a Software Developer and team lead in the Digital Accessibility Services division at Lighthouse Works. Mike’s work involves not only testing existing software for accessibility, but developing accessibility solutions for our Call Center, and creating new software that is accessible “out of the box”. To hear a recent news story that features Mike and a new Microsoft tool designed to teach coding to young people who are visually impaired, <a href="https://www.wmfe.org/code-jumper-teaching-kids-with-vision-loss-to-jump-into-programming/96867">CLICK HERE</a></em>.</p> </div> <div class="back-to-lantern"><a href="/Lantern">BACK TO THE LANTERN</a></div> Fri, 22 Mar 2019 18:33:24 +0000 sharju1 134 at http://lighthousecfl.org Code Jumper: “Instant and Sustained Engagement!” http://lighthousecfl.org/node/133 <span>Code Jumper: “Instant and Sustained Engagement!”</span> <div><div class="lantern-top"> <div class="career-cover"><h class="lantern-title">THE LANTERN</h></div> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sharju1</span></span> <span>Mon, 03/11/2019 - 15:06</span> <div class="lantern-art-title">Code Jumper: “Instant and Sustained Engagement!”</div> <div class="lantern-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2019-03/codejumper1.jpg?itok=eJsVVizf" width="650" height="433" alt="3 children working together using the code jumper" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <div class="lantern-content"><p>Students with Lighthouse’s school-age program recently had the opportunity to demo a cool device known as Code Jumper. The technology was created by Microsoft and is meant to teach the fundamentals of coding to users who are visually impaired. The American Printing House for the Blind, a nonprofit in Louisville, KY, that creates and distributes products and services for people who are blind or low vision, is the primary distributor of Code Jumper in North America. APH and Lighthouse have partnered on a number of initiatives in the past in support of each other’s mission.</p> <p><a href="https://www.wmfe.org/code-jumper-teaching-kids-with-vision-loss-to-jump-into-programming/96867" target="_blank">To hear a news story on Code Jumper featuring Lighthouse Central Florida CLICK HERE!</a></p> <p> </p> <h2><strong>Code Jumper: “Instant and Sustained Engagement!”</strong></h2> <p>Blog Post from the "<a href="http://www.fredshead.info/2019/03/code-jumper-instant-and-sustained.html" target="_blank">FRED'S HEAD, FROM APH" Blog</a></p> <p>In January, American Printing House (APH) let a small group of students in Florida experience the future of computer coding. Gathered around tables at an after-school program, students fiddled with the “pods” that make up Code Jumper, an accessible way to learn computer coding.<br /><br /> Developed by Microsoft and distributed by APH, Code Jumper is a way for students to learn coding by touching and listening. With Code Jumper students plug pods into each other to create lines of code. By building their codes, students can play music, tell stories and crack jokes.<br /><br /> “After observing our students interact with Code Jumper, I was most struck by their instant and sustained engagement and interest,” says Kyle Johnson, President of Lighthouse Central Florida. The children’s program at Lighthouse encourages socialization and independent living skills for children who are blind or visually impaired.<br /><br /> “Any time STEM-focused activities can be introduced to young people in a fun and interactive way, I believe an educational gap is being filled,” explains Johnson. “STEM learning provides unique approaches to problem-solving and system design. Vision rehabilitation is characterized by adaptation much like the scientific method relies on testing and trial and error.”<br /><br /> The goal of Code Jumper goes far beyond learning computer coding – the goal is also to give students the underlying skills they need to lead to a career in computer science.<br /><br /> “This is an opportunity for thousands of people to have meaningful and well-paying jobs,” says Larry Skutchan, Director of Technology and Product Research at APH.<br /><br /> He says coding is an equalizing field for people who are blind. “We’ve never really had anything that’s been able to give students so many different ways they can experiment and learn about coding, and it translates so well into actual skills.”<br /><br /> Johnson with Lighthouse also thinks Code Jumper will help direct more people to related jobs. “For students with visual impairments, career education and exploration need to begin as early as possible. This is essential because these students cannot casually observe these jobs like their sighted peers. STEM-based careers, including computer coding, are lucrative, in-demand and projected to remain relevant well into the future."<br /><br /> APH will be selling Code Jumper by the 2019-2020 school year. To learn more, or get on a waiting list to order, visit <a href="http://www.codejumper.com/" target="_blank">codejumper.com</a>.</p> </div> <div class="back-to-lantern"><a href="/Lantern">BACK TO THE LANTERN</a></div> Mon, 11 Mar 2019 19:06:07 +0000 sharju1 133 at http://lighthousecfl.org Happy Holidays from Lighthouse! http://lighthousecfl.org/node/128 <span>Happy Holidays from Lighthouse!</span> <div><div class="lantern-top"> <div class="career-cover"><h class="lantern-title">THE LANTERN</h></div> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sharju1</span></span> <span>Fri, 12/21/2018 - 14:40</span> <div class="lantern-art-title">Happy Holidays from Lighthouse!</div> <div class="lantern-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2018-12/deer-card-front-web.jpg?itok=Fcr5zrCG" width="611" height="650" alt="A painting by Raphaela of two Reindeer heads, one is Rudolph with a red nose" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <div class="lantern-content"><center> <h2><font color="#002d62">All of us at Lighthouse Central Florida, including the extraordinary clients we serve, like Raphaela, wish you a wonderful holiday season filled with laughter, love and joy!<br /><br /> We are so grateful for your support and dedication to our mission.<br /><br /> Happy Holidays!</font></h2> </center> <p> </p> <p> </p> <center> <h4><font color="#002d62"><u>Artist's Profile</u></font></h4> </center> <p><img alt="Portrait of Raphaela" src="https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/bloomerang-public-cdn/lighthousecentralflorida/Raphaela-Holiday-Card-web.jpg" style="margin: 5px 15px 10px 15px; float: left;" width="175" /></p> <p><font color="#002d62">Meet Raphaela! She’s a happy five year old with an infectious laugh and a determined spirit. Like most children her age, Raphaela is full of curiosity and creativity. She loves to make crafts and express herself through art.</font></p> <p><font color="#002d62">Raphaela has an eye condition that causes her vision to blur and makes it difficult for her to focus on images and objects around her. At Lighthouse, Raphaela is taught to make the best use of her remaining vision.</font></p> <p><font color="#002d62">Her Lighthouse mentor, Martha, teaches Raphaela and her parents the techniques and skills necessary to keep pace with the development of her sighted peers.</font></p> <p><font color="#002d62">During a recent art session, Raphaela jumped ‘feet-first’ into the holiday season (and some tempera paint) to create two fun and whimsical reindeer—a traditional symbol of Santa Claus and the spirit of Christmas.</font></p> <p><font color="#002d62">The support that YOU provide to Lighthouse allows us to serve children like Raphaela and create for them a world of wonder. For this, we and those we serve, remain eternally grateful!</font></p> <p><font color="#002d62">Thank YOU! All the best for the holiday season! </font></p> <p><a href="http://weseewhatspossible.org/"><strong><font color="#002d62">See What's Possible!</font></strong></a></p> </div> <div class="back-to-lantern"><a href="/Lantern">BACK TO THE LANTERN</a></div> Fri, 21 Dec 2018 19:40:11 +0000 sharju1 128 at http://lighthousecfl.org http://lighthousecfl.org/node/128#comments