October 2017 Edition

American Association
of the
DeafBlind (AADB)
October 2017 E-Newsletter

Board of Directors
Jenée Alleman-Goodman, President – North Carolina
René Pellerin, Vice President – Vermont
Christopher Woodfill, Secretary – New York
Mark Gasaway, Treasurer – Georgia
Board Members:
Nicole Alleman – North Carolina, Mindy Dill, – Alabama, Steven Garrett – Arizona, Sarah Goodwin – Texas, and Tara Invidiato – New Jersey

October 17, 2017

From the President:
Jenée Alleman-Goodman

Happy Autumn to all of you! In this newsletter, you’ll read a piece honoring the late Ruth Silver, advocacy updates, and AADB’s current budget.

There is a project I am hoping to finish before our time on board is up. I would like to remove AADB’s name from that hurtful inaccurate article about the organization’s charity “F” rating that became known through the Tampa Bay Times and CNN reporting back in fall of 2011. I’ve consulted with my sister-in-law who works for “Meet Edgar,” an internet optimization company. She specializes in search engine optimization and she said that the best (and free) way to improve AADB’s image on the internet is to contact the author of the article. Tara Invidiato is going to draft a letter to send to the author. If you have any ideas or suggestions of how to respond to the article, please email her at t.indiviato@gmail.com (her email).

I believe if we are successful in removing ourselves from the article, it’ll lead to more potential donors. Read the treasurer’s report below to see how you can donate to AADB, if desired.

In closing, it’s a new season. A perfect opportunity to do something new. Something bold… and something beautiful.

Yours truly,

Spotlight on Ruth Silver
By: Tara Invidiato

Taken from:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
1:40 PM CDT September 25. 2017
By Meg Jones

“Ruth Silver lost her sight at 16, then her hearing and went on to found the Center for Deaf-Blind Persons”

Ruth Silver was just 16 when she learned she was going blind. Later she gradually lost most of her hearing. Some people, faced with the same adversity, might have figured their life was over. But Silver was a tenacious woman who founded the Center for Deaf-Blind Persons in Milwaukee, wrote an autobiography at the age of 81 with the book royalties donated to the center, taught students, lectured and lived life to the fullest, going to plays, enjoying Milwaukee Symphony concerts, visiting friends.

Silver died Tuesday, September 19, 2017 of heart failure in Milwaukee. She was 86.

“She never stopped chasing all her causes and dreams. She lived an amazing life for someone who was blind and hard of hearing and faced a lot of adversity,” said her nephew John Kesselman.

Kesselman’s father, Morton, was the oldest of four and Silver was the baby of the family. His mother, Florence Slavick, was more than a sister-in-law of Silver, they were also good friends.

“She didn’t know she was getting blind, her mother thought she was clumsy. The eye doctor didn’t diagnose her properly. They finally went somewhere where she got the news that she was going to be blind from retinitis pigmentosa,” Slavick said. “Even with that she finished college and graduate school and became a teacher of handicapped children.”

She was married to her husband, Marvin, for 60 years. He was her reader while she was studying at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After graduating she taught in Iowa and Massachusetts before returning to Milwaukee.

In 2012 she published her memoir “Invisible: My Journey Through Vision and Hearing Loss” and promoted it at bookstores and book clubs. She told Journal Sentinel reporter Meg Kissinger that the chapter recounting how she learned she would soon become blind and the effect on her devastated parents took her 10 years to write.

“Sometimes, it sent me spiraling downward, leaving me unable to write for weeks, months and even years,” Silver said in 2012, adding that she wrote the book so others would see her and others with disabilities as three-dimensional human beings.

She founded the Center for Blind-Deaf Persons in 1985 to provide training and social opportunities, including instruction on alternate ways of communicating, computer training and adaptive technology.

At her funeral on Sunday, Kesselman said, “so many people came up to say she inspired them. For someone who didn’t have sight she had a lot of insight. She listened to people and she heard more.”

Silver is survived by her husband, Marvin, and daughter Julia Silver Sarah.

Footnote by Tara Invidiato:

Ruth Silver is recognized by many members of AADB and outside of the DeafBlind community across America for her devotion in making a difference for the DeafBlind. She is survived by the DeafBlind who took her into their hearts. To most DeafBlind, she was more than a friend. In fact, she was like a mother that always reached out to anyone in need. She was the pinnacle of light that paved the path for the DeafBlind to see there is hope at the end of a long, dark tunnel. Keep Ruth in your hearts for her spirit lives on. Search for her book online and hopefully secure a copy. Her book is said to be very sentimental, witty, and funny based on true life experiences in her journey as a DeafBlind person. She was a true advocate of AADB for many, many years and attended many of AADB’s conferences. At the conferences she met and inspired many DeafBlind individuals who crossed her path. AADB honors Ruth Silver with utmost respect.

Committee Reports this Cycle:

AADB Advocacy Committee:
René Pellerin, Chair

From the state of PA:

Below are two different links to sources concerning a court case between Richard (Rich) Paul McGann and the movie theater company, Cinemark. These links are shared here to help our readers come to their own conclusion and opinion. Any opinions developed because of the sharing of these links are not the opinions of AADB as an organization.

Link 1:

Click to access 162160p.pdf

Link 2:

A BIG Congratulations to Rich!!

From the Federal Budget:

President Trump’s administration has submitted their budget proposal to Congress. The budget proposal has been extended until winter to avoid a shutdown and thus had not passed in Congress yet. However, the proposal submitted is very vague (not clear) and raises serious concerns about the future of programs nationwide. Serious cuts in Medicaid and Medicare clearly affect many of us who are DeafBlind. In my state of Vermont, if this budget passes, we would lose $80 million! This is worrisome for some states like mine. While Congress works their way through the budget, we, as DeafBlind consumers, need to contact our state representatives and senators to express our concerns about this new budget. So, please do call, email, or write a letter to them. You don’t need fancy language just tell them this budget will hurt us badly and please don’t cut our programs. Something like that.

It is very confusion because so much discussions on Trump’s behaviors, BUT Congress can quietly pass this budget! So we need to keep our eyes open and hope for the best.

AADB Finance Committee:
Mark Gasaway, Chair

Some financial tidbits:

AADB has a total of $134,133.33 in the bank as of October 16, 2017.

Our Small Annual Budget:

State Registration Fees …………… $2,700
CPA Services ………………………….. $ 990
Website Maintenance ……………… $ 468
Bank Services ………………………… $5,040
Accounting System …………………. $ 360
Board Miscellaneous ……………….. $ 500

*Note: This budget is based on this year’s (January – December 2017) totals. The board is attempting to close out two of these expenses listed – a high bank service fee and the accounting system fee.*

AADB has two active funds-generating buttons on the website. One is for donations only through PayPal and the other will accept membership dues. These buttons are now active. Should you attempt to use one of these buttons and you suspect it does not work, please contact me at mark.gasaway@comcast.net.

The Finance Committee is also exploring other methods of fundraising activities for AADB.

AADB Website Notice:

The AADB website is still undergoing some changes, so please bear with us on its “improvements.”

If there are any questions, suggestions, comments, and other feedback about the website content or technical issues, please contact Tara Invidiato at t.invidiato@gmail.com. Also, keep checking the AADB Facebook page for periodical updates.

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