the saavi insight

the saavi insight

A client run publication                                                                                                                                     Issue 1; November 2014



This being our first issue; I would like to take a moment to let you know what you will find here. The saavi Insight is a client run newsletter with the main goal of informing each other as to what is going on. We are working to build a calendar of events as well as reporting on events that were already experienced by some. Another inclusion will be contributing recipes along with tips on getting things done non-visually, an advice column and various stories of interest. If you ever have something you would like to see in The Insight or perhaps you have something you would like to contribute for consideration; contact me at Remember that though this issue is small, all good things need to start with an idea that grows into something spectacular. 75 years ago The National Federation of the Blind was started; bringing awareness and advocacy to the blind through the efforts of the blind. 50 years ago a small agency that has through the years become the Southern Arizona Association of the Visually Impaired, saavi, came into being; bringing education and independence to thousands of blind individuals. 25 years ago the first actions occurred that started the crumbling of the Berlin Wall; reuniting families and bringing freedom of millions as a result. Only time will tell what further steps will be made in the name of freedom and human rights, but with assistance and support from saavi and the saavi clients, The Insight will be there to see it.

                         Ode to If

by Pepper Moore

An if can go back whence it came,

even by another name,

an if can take apart your brain,

so not one if do I need.

An if can sound a little lame,

And no future can it reframe,

Nor the present I have already claimed,

So I will not plant that seed.

An if’s a dance that I can’t endear,

Or really movement full of fear,

Which may be the tune that fills your ear,

But not for my eardrum.

An if can find another place,

Another person’s time to waste,

I don’t need another chase,

My battle’s already won.

An if says there’s a doubt you see,

Of the future that’s in me,

And that’s something I don’t foresee,

To me, that’s not what’s real.

I bleed because I’m human too,

And as I write it, so do you,

And somehow sharing makes it more true,

And adds glow to what’s made of steel.

More Pepper by Eve Sanchez

If you do not already know Pepper then you are missing out on a ball of energy that does not quit. I am the first to admit that I know very little about Pepper. For instance, I had no idea that she was a poet. Her above poem, If, is just one example of her work. Maybe she will treat us to some more in the future if we are lucky. If you do not know where she fits in at saavi you are likely in the minority. She is one of the English-as-a-Second-Language teachers. I would love to claim her for Tucson, but I have learned that that is not so easy to do. I knew she worked in Yuma, but when I was recently visiting Phoenix I was surprised when she greeted me in the hallway.

She is an attention getter. A while back, a large group of us went to the National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Orlando, Florida. Pepper loudly led the group in singing a hearty rendition of 99 Bottles of Beer while traversing the airport. She said it was to assure that we all stayed together, but many of us are sure she just wanted to embarrass us. She did a good job. While at convention she was

constantly texting to keep each of us informed of when and where we should be. Thanks Pepper.  As hard as she worked, she still took some time out for play though. She was a nighttime social butterfly who was raring to go first thing in the morning. One night there was a trivia challenge. I am proud to say that my team won the first round. I am not ashamed to say that we got our hind quarters kicked when Pepper joined one of the other teams for the second round.

Now that we are back on the home front; Pepper is singing her way from saavi center to saavi center, bringing language skills and fun to so many. She is a whiz at Scrabble and pretty much anything she tries. If you have not yet had the chance to meet Pepper, then do so. Did I say she was a ball of energy? Well, I should rightly say that Miss Pepper is the spice of life. Yeah, if I had a choice I would definitely say, “More Pepper please.”

Science and Technology by Lawrence Stone

This is the first installment of Science and Technology as a part of the saavi insight newsletter. We hope it will bring your insight to science and technology in the world of the visually impaired and blind. In this first issue and in future issues, we hope to bring you articles that will   both interest you and give you a desire to be a resource to promote science and technology for all. And also to help you find accessible technology that will allow you to be a part of the 21st Century. We expect more because we are being empowered and motivated to achieve more, either what was lost and now found or never before attained; you achieve more because you are believed in. You become more because you believe in yourselves.

Dream big through science and technology.


Finding the Balance between Light and Dark by Eve Sanchez

The Autumnal Equinox which is at the heart of the harvest season has just occurred and with it came the lessening of the sun, the lessening of light. Actually the Equinox, which this year was on September 22nd, marks the perfect balance between light and dark, day and night, sun and moon. For us in the blindness community it could represent so much more. It is often said that being blind is to live in a world of darkness, but we have learned, or are still learning, that we create our own light and that it comes from so much more than mere vision. We find our own balance.

So we cannot see as others see. We have others senses that can easily be used to bring in information. We could smell, hear, taste and feel. We have intuition and the sense to use it. Every person has these senses to some degree, but so often people never learn to use them to the full extent they are there for. Vision loss does not give us super powers, but through instruction and practice we increase our own abilities to utilize these forgotten senses.

Some of us may be in a state between our past vision and the increasing blindness and that could be frightening. We have memories of sight that we do not want to lose. Even with increasing skills and the knowledge that we can function quite well without the vision, we fight against the darkness. We need to find peace within ourselves. Speak with others that have experienced or are experiencing the same loss of

vision. Everyone’s loss is individualized, but there is understanding that could help each of us with our own struggles. Voice your own feelings and never let anyone tell you that your feelings are wrong. They are yours and yours alone. Speaking with others will often help you find the balance within yourself to gain acceptance without fear.

Acceptance without fear is a balance on its own. Winter is harsh, but we cannot stop it from coming. We learn to prepare and find the blessings that come with it. As the summer fades into a memory we harvest the rewards of the growing seasons. Those harvested rewards are taken with us into winter and if properly cared for, they are enjoyed until the Sun again starts to strengthen. Our world continually changes, changing each of us along with it. We could easily enjoy every bit of it if we just take the time to find the balance within ourselves that brings a new light.

While we journey this path we each bring different skills and abilities though we all have the same basic needs. One of those needs, especially important is a healthy lifestyle. We need to incorporate activity and good food into our lives, but this could be hard if we are prone to sedentary living and lazy habits as so many Americans are. It may be difficult to find someone who does not know that fresh food is the best for our bodies, but still, many of us reach for what is easy and fast. Below is a recipe that incorporates a balance of fresh with not so fresh foods to create an easy healthy option that is great for celebrating the harvest time.  This is adaptable for every ability and ambitious level while providing a great alternative to fast food. I call this type of cooking Healthy Cheats.

Harvest Bounty Soup


3 to 4 stalks chopped celery

1 small bag baby carrots

1 each chopped red and yellow potatoes

¼ chopped yellow onion

1 sliced zucchini

1 can cut green beans

1 can sweet peas

1 small can tomato paste

1 handful of barley

4 beef broth bouillon cubes

3 Tablespoons minced garlic

1 packet of red pepper flakes from your last pizza order

2 Tablespoons Mrs. Dash


In large soup pot, mix all ingredients with enough water to cover vegetables. Cover and cook on high until boiling. Turn down and stir occasionally. Simmer until root vegetables are softened. Note: Change any ingredients or amounts to suit your likes and what you have available. Just take the time to be healthy and get some balance in your life.


Take Us Out To the Ball Game by Melody Taylor

          In June, all of the Phoenix staff and clients took a day to go out to the ball game and see the Arizona Diamondbacks play the Milwaukee Brewers. We all piled into a van and a couple of cars to meet at the Diamondbacks stadium. As we gathered outside of the air-conditioned stadium, we followed the voices of one another into the flow of people finding their seats. We made our way down the stairs to the rows reserved for us. Once settled, the

announcer asked us all to stand to sing the National Anthem. There was a hush over the crowd and a woman began to sing, “O, say can you see by the dawn’s early light…” Standing there singing with 22,000 other fans in the stands was an invigorating experience.

          As the game got started, Jay, one of our staff members passed out head sets and radios that would make it possible for us to hear what the name of each player was and what they were doing. We actually knew more about the game and the stats than the “retinal dependent” people around us. We were able to hear whether the player was a rooky or a seasoned veteran. We learned how many hits and runs they had on their record. As each one of the D-Backs walked up to home plate to bat, they played a song that they had chosen to represent him.

          While we were enjoying the game, we ate from our lunches, which we had made the day before in ADL class; we made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and packed them in our bags with fresh fruit, chips and peanuts. Of course, we each had a bottle of water, too.

          Around the seventh inning, the crowd began to make a wave from one end of the stadium to the other. The sighted people around us told us to get ready to stand and we joined the wave! It was exciting to hear the crowd as the wave made its way around the entire stadium. Later, another wave started, but somehow it didn’t quite make it all the way around to us. We, also, sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” which is a favorite pastime of mine.

          During one of the transitions between teams, they aired on the big screen that it was time for the

“Kiss Cam”, so people began to kiss for the camera! One old couple gave it a whirl and let it rip! It was great to hear all of the crowd responding to them. Also, when they aired the Jumbo Tron, James, one of our drivers, saw himself on screen and started jumping around and yelling that he was on the air! We’d never heard such energy come out of James before!

          As we sat in the massive Diamondback’s stadium, listening to our headsets give us the play by play description of the game, I could smell the hot dogs and cotton candy and feel the shells under my feet from the peanuts we had eaten. I enjoyed hearing the crack of the bat hitting the ball and the crowd going wild as the player ran to the base ahead of him. It was such a blast talking with both staff and other clients who simply became friends at a ball game enjoying the atmosphere together. We hardly

even noticed that the Milwaukee Brewers won 4 to 1. Thanks to a great day this ball game was a homerun and will go down in my book of memories.

Calendar of Events:

Election Day is November 4th. Remember that you do not have the right to complain if you do not use your right to vote.

The 18th annual VRATE 2014 event will be held on Friday, November 7th, 2014.  Location is to be at the Phoenix Convention Center in the south building (which is South of East Washington Street accessible from 3rd Street) where it is more accessible by public transportation. VRATE will be presenting the latest information and technology demonstrations available related to Blindness, Low Vision, and Deaf-Blind issues. And it is free to the public. For further information go to (

Join us for the 2nd Annual Night of the Living Fest!  This event is a benefit for the All Souls Procession. Night of the Living Fest is a one-day music and art festival in Tucson, Arizona. It is an all-ages event showcasing artistic talent from all over the United States. There will be national and local bands, live art, interactive coolness, unique wares and local vendors. Night of the Living Fest is created online casino’s by musicians and artists. We are striving to make the day a creative and memorable experience in every way – and it will be fun on Saturday, November 8th, 2014 at La Cocina Restaurant and Cantina, 201 N Court Ave. The procession of Little Angels 2014 will be the same day at Armory Park. Don’t miss the 25th Annual All Souls Procession and Grand Finale on Sunday the 9th. For more information on all of these activities;

The Phoenix saavi clients are having a get together on November the 14th at 4pm at the Pizza Hut located at 3602 East Thomas Rd.  Come hungry.

It’s time for another great Saturday of fun and games with the Scrabble Meet-up group.  Once a month a group of English speakers, teachers and learners of all levels, get together to laugh and play the Scrabble Board Game. We have also recently added the game Taboo to our game day events.  Taboo is a game where one person describes a word or phrase and everyone else guesses what the word might be.  The trick is, some words, usually the first ones that come to mind, are not allowed to be said.  So, if the word was Arizona, the person could not say hot, Phoenix, or southwest.  Sounds pretty challenging, huh?  Come on by and try it out and you just may walk away with a door prize and

some new friends. This month the event will be held at our office in Phoenix on November 22nd from 10am to 2pm

Work up an unforgettable Thanksgiving appetite with a European-style 5K around Reid Park.  Separate men’s and women’s events create a fun opportunity to cheer on friends and family as they hurdle hay bales and water jumps.  A team division is available.  Great prizes include “turkeys” and pumpkin pies! The 5K races are part of the

The Running Shop Grand Prix, produced by SAR.

Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 27, 2014 for more information;

I’m Stepping Out by Rebekah Gilbreath

While loading my longboard into my mom’s car, I realized that it would be one of the last times my parents would drive me around. It would be a new experience, but a good one.  On the way to the Riverstone Apartments I thought that even though my parents would not be driving me around, they would also not be driving me so crazy.

Moving to Tucson wasn’t a giant change for me because I have participated in the saavi summer camp in 2012 and 2013, I am grateful that I participated in those summer camps because I pretty much know everybody and everybody knows me.

I did however meet a few new people that are in Stepping Out with me and a bunch of other saavi clients. I love speaking with the adults that are in the Comprehensive Day Program because we in the Stepping Out program learn a lot from them. We not only learn from them, but they learn from us too.

Now, here in Stepping Out we do a bunch of different activities as a group and individually.  A couple of things we do as a group are the every other Fundatory-Fridays and the every Tuesday slow cooker lesson, debate and philosophy session with Shannon. The Fundatory-Fridays activities are our choice and we usually put the different ideas up for a vote. We have only done one Fundatory-Friday. We went to Golf n’ Stuff. It was awesome to drive the go-carts around the dirt track over and over.

On Tuesdays we all meet up in the staff room at the River Stone. Every day is different and I always look forward to being there. Each week Shannon picks out a different person to pick a recipe out. The next time we get together, we all go back to our apartments and start cooking. We always have a wonderful dinner on those nights.

The most important things that we do are attend classes at saavi. Saavi offers a variety of helpful classes such as business communications, first impressions, assistive technology, Braille, cooking, sewing and adaptive sports.

Current events is another of the many classes offered and it is one of my favorites as it is so riveting. When we walk in the door, Lenny Murillo graciously offers everyone a soda or tea bought from the saavi snack shack. Now that is not even the best part. I love free soda as much as the next person, but the reason I enjoy this particular class is listening to the ridiculous current events that come up in the news every day, things you would never think of.

Another thing I love about his class is hearing other people’s opinions on the different topics and debating about them.  There is so much to appreciate about

this class, like learning that in Arizona it is illegal to let a donkey sleep in your bathtub. So, if you ever find yourself with a donkey. Perhaps you could let it sleep in your closet or under your bed, but never in your bathtub.

Who am I? My favorite color is black. My favorite movie is What Dreams May Come. I was born in Tucson. I love the D-Backs! My favorite food is potatoes…yes, any kind of potatoes!

A.      Amy Murillo

B.      Roxanne Torres

C.      Shannon Mandadi

Insight Trivia

1. How old is saavi?

2. What did Pepper sing at the airport?

3. What happened this year on September 22nd?

4. Where did Stepping Out go for Fundatory-Friday?

(All answers to above will be listed in next issue, so you must keep reading the saavi insight

A Complement Not Accepted by Eve Sanchez

Recently I was told of a woman who has been totally blind her entire life and had said that blue and orange do not go together. The speaker thought it was quite curious. She figured that this woman had been taught this and other visual preferences by sighted people in her life.

The very next day I was out for an early walk with my dear friend Taylor. I looked up at the sunrise with my own limited vision and thought of what I had heard. A sunrise is known as one of the most beautiful sights there is and this one was a great example of that. The sky was strewn with a watercolor mosaic of clear blue and vibrant orange. The coolness and warmth were intermixed with the occasional wash of grey

clouds and it was exhilarating to behold.

As I looked up I thought of that woman with sadness, not sadness that she had never seen the colors for life is no less full without sight. No, I was saddened to think that she had been taught not to appreciate how two such different colors, like people, could complement each other. They are complementary on the color wheel and to complement another is truly a thing of beauty.

Colors the Non-Visual Way

Light blue is Sky Blue, light and breezy and refreshing like a cool, clear day.

Orange is just like it sounds, mildly tart and brightly sweet, it can”t be beat.

Red orange is Hot Embers, radiant heat warming your hands at the campfire.

Gray is Fog, heavy, chilling, damp and with a hint of mystery.

Technology Commands by Lawrence Stone                 Windows = Open/Close Start menu’                                  Windows key D = Put Focus on Desktop                               Windows Key E = Windows Explorer

Every Tuesday Slow Cooker Recipe courtesy of D’Anna Barrandey Red Potato Soup     


10 red potatoes cut into cubes

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup real bacon bits

1 small red onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules

1 tablespoon ranch dressing mix

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups water

1 cup half-and-half

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, or to taste

1/4 cup chopped green onion, or to taste


           Put potatoes in the bottom of your slow cooker crock. Scatter flour over the potatoes; toss to coat. Scatter bacon bits, red onion, garlic, and chicken bouillon, ranch dressing mix, parsley, seasoned salt, and black pepper over the potatoes. Pour water into the slow cooker. Cook on Low 7 to 9 hours. Pour half-and-half into the soup; cook another 15 minutes. Garnish with Cheddar cheese and green onion to serve.

Desiree M. thought it was okay and said she would make it again.

Becky G. loved it. She said it was the bomb especially after adding sour cream. “I thought I was in heaven. I would soooo make that again.” she said.

D’Anna, who shared this yummy recipe, loved it.