Independence

juniorblind.org

Summer 2011 - Junior Blind of America

Summer 2011

Independence

Stories of life transformation made possible by you!

Jesus finds happiness and learning

at Junior Blind.

Jesus receives the one-on-one care he

needs to help him achieve his goals.

A Family’s

Determination Brings

Back a Son’s Smile

With a smile that stretches ear

to ear, 11-year-old Jesus excitedly

selects the red apple over the green

one to have with his lunch. Visually

impaired and diagnosed with autism

spectrum disorder, little Jesus did

not always enjoy lunch time or going

to school, but now that he attends

Junior Blind’s Special Education

School, things are different.

“A couple of weeks after Jesus

started at Junior Blind, my wife and I

realized that we should have brought

him here sooner,” recalls his father,

Jesus, Sr.

When Jesus was four months

old, he developed involuntary eye

movements, commonly known as

nystagmus, and was diagnosed with

optic nerve hypoplasia, a congenital

disorder characterized by the

underdevelopment of the optic nerves

that is also associated with hormone

deficiencies and developmental delays.

A few years later, he was diagnosed

with autism.

By the time Jesus was enrolled at

Junior Blind, he had already attended

three different schools—all were

unable to meet his unique needs.

First, he attended two schools for

the blind where his autistic behaviors

made learning a challenge. Then,

he was placed in a special education

classroom for children with autism,

but teachers in his public school

weren’t equipped to handle a

child who had autism and a visual

impairment.

As a result, little Jesus, who is

naturally affectionate and happy,

became frustrated in the mornings

and resisted getting on the school bus.

It was then that his parents knew

something needed to change.

They remembered their

introduction to Junior Blind a few

years back, when they had not yet

fully accepted the degree of little

Jesus’ disabilities.

“We weren’t being honest with

ourselves,” his father admits. “We

hoped that our son’s disabilities were

not that bad.”

At Junior Blind, Jesus receives the

one-on-one care he needs to succeed.

And, with the support of friends

like you, children like Jesus, who

have multiple disabilities, have a real

chance to achieve their true potential.

Jesus has now resumed his lovable

personality and continues to learn

how to better communicate. Among

his many achievements, he now

chooses his food for lunch and

seldom acts out when he’s upset.

“Junior Blind is experienced in

working with children who have

multiple diagnoses and I see the proof

in my son’s progress everyday,” says

Jesus, Sr. “Plus, you can tell that they

really care. We haven’t found the level

of care and attention my son gets at

Junior Blind anywhere else.”

Junior Blind of America • 5300 Angeles Vista Boulevard • Los Angeles, CA 90043 • (323) 295-4555 • www.juniorblind.org


Share Our Vision

In this newsletter, we share

stories of children whose lives

have been changed thanks to

your friendship and support of

Junior Blind. Your loyalty has

helped children like Jesus and

Angie, who are blind or visually

impaired and have additional

disabilities, receive the specialized

care they need to achieve their

potential. On behalf of our

children and their families, we

could not be more grateful.

As you may know, most of the

families we serve are considered

low-income and would not be

able to provide their children

with the critical services they

receive at Junior Blind if not

for caring individuals like you.

Every gift makes a difference.

At Junior Blind, we work hard to

provide children with disabilities

the highest quality services,

while making every dollar count.

Junior Blind is a proud recipient

of Charity Navigator’s* coveted

4-star rating—outperforming

most other charities in America

on fiscal management.

We value your support and

feel honored to consider you a

partner in helping children who

are blind,

visually

impaired and

multi-disabled

achieve

independence.

Thank you

for your commitment and

compassion.

Warmest regards,

Miki Jordan

President

*Charity Navigator is America’s premier charity evaluator, highlighting

the fine work of efficient charities and providing donors with essential

information needed to give them greater confidence in the charitable choices

they make. Please visit www.charitynavigator.com for more information.

Charitable Gift Annuity Rates Went Up July 1st!

Now is a perfect time to create a

lasting legacy with Junior Blind by

setting up a Charitable Gift Annuity

(CGA). It’s a wonderful way to

achieve your philanthropic goals

and gain substantial tax benefits,

including:

• Guaranteed income for life

with rates that never decrease

• A substantial charitable income

tax deduction for the gift portion

of your contribution

• Tax deductions on a portion

of your ongoing income from the

annuity

Payout rates are based on your age

and are noted below:

Sample Gift Annuity Rates (as of July 1, 2011)

Single Beneficiary

Age

Payout Rate

65 5.3%

70 5.8%

75 6.5%

80 7.5%

85 8.4%

90+ 9.8%

There are many ways to include

Junior Blind in your retirement

planning, including designating

Junior Blind as a beneficiary of your

life insurance policy or retirement or

bank accounts. Your gift will enable

Junior Blind to provide services

to children who are blind, visually

impaired and multi-disabled for years

to come!

For more

information about

how to leave a

lasting legacy at

Junior Blind, please

contact Bonnie

E. Harris, Esq.,

Director of Gift

Planning, at (323) 290-6294.

Junior Blind of America • 5300 Angeles Vista Boulevard • Los Angeles, CA 90043 • (323) 295-4555 • www.juniorblind.org


Angie Learns She Can Do It

Using her white cane, 9-yearold

Angie navigates her way to

Junior Blind’s gymnasium for the

After School Enrichment Program,

where she’ll receive help with her

homework, practice her Braille

skills and participate in physical

activities.

Like Jesus, whom you read

about on page 1, Angie was

also diagnosed with optic nerve

hypoplasia. But, unlike Jesus

whose visual impairment still

allows him to make out the

outlines of large objects, Angie is

completely blind. Not only that,

she also has cerebral palsy and

needs braces on both legs to walk.

Despite her disabilities, Angie

has thrived in the face of adversity.

Before Junior Blind, Angie was not

always active.

Through the after school

program, Angie discovered that,

like typical kids, there was a lot

she could do. She dances, hikes,

plays in the playground and works

out in the fitness center. More

importantly, she loves it!

Angie’s Braille reading and

writing skills have also vastly

improved. In fact, she fancies

herself a pretty good reader now

and frequently initiates reading on

her own.

“The After School Enrichment

Program provides children with a

safe haven from stereotypes and

judgment, so they’re comfortable

trying new things,” says Joan

Marason, Director of Wellness &

Enrichment Programs.

The program integrates children

with and without disabilities, so

they all learn to accept each other

for who they are as people and not

for what makes them different. As

a result, they become empowered

to explore and find their strengths.

Angie and the other children

also learn the value of teamwork

and leadership through activities,

like talent shows, music enrichment

and healthy cooking. We’ve

included one of their favorite

recipes for you to try at home.

The After School Enrichment

Program is able to be provided to

students free of charge, thanks to the

generosity of loyal friends like you.

Like the other children in the

After School Enrichment Program,

Angie becomes more and more

independent each day.

Disappearing Zucchini Muffins Recommended by the children in Junior Blind’s After School Enrichment Program

Prep time: 30 minutes

What you need:

• 1½ c. shredded zucchini (about 2 small)

• 2 c. whole-grain pancake or biscuit mix

• 1 tsp. cinnamon

• 1 tsp. allspice

• 2 eggs

• ¾ c. brown sugar

• ¼ c. unsweetened apple sauce

• 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

• powdered sugar (enough to dust

the muffins)

What to do:

1. Wash zucchini and remove ends.

2. Shred zucchini using largest holes

on grater.

3. Dry grated zucchini with paper towel.

4. Measure 1½ cups of squeezed-dry

zucchini.

5. Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.

6. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with

paper liners.

7. In a large bowl, mix whole-grain pancake

mix (or biscuit mix) with spices.

8. In a separate bowl, whisk together

eggs, brown sugar, applesauce and

lemon juice.

9. Fold the egg-sugar mixture and

shredded zucchini into the pancakespice

mixture; do not over mix.

10. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full with

batter.

11. Bake 10-15 minutes or until

golden.

12. Remove muffins from tin and cool

on a wire rack.

13. Sprinkle muffins with a dusting of

powdered sugar.

How much does this recipe make?

About a dozen muffins

Source: Kidshealth.org

Junior Blind of America • 5300 Angeles Vista Boulevard • Los Angeles, CA 90043 • (323) 295-4555 • www.juniorblind.org


More than 50 Years of Friendship and Support

It was supposed to be a standard

Valley Jesters’ meeting. Members

gathered to listen to a guest

speaker, like they had many times

before. Little did they know that

this evening’s guest speaker, Norm

Kaplan, would help turn the Valley

Jesters into heroes for generations

of blind children.

The Valley Jesters were

founded in 1958 as a men’s

civic organization in Southern

California’s San Fernando Valley.

After World War II, men returning

from the service hurried home to

marry their sweethearts and settle

down. Two-bedroom houses were

subsidized by the G.I. Bill of Rights

and built by the thousands in the

San Fernando Valley, making it a

great place to start a family.

It was a grand time. Ladies

would meet regularly to play bridge,

leaving their husbands to care for the

children. Barney Feldman,

Al Risberg and Billy Solomon were

a group of husbands who decided to

start a men’s night out, too.

What started as a weekly poker

game turned into a bowling team

named the Valley Jesters. Soon

thereafter, the men took to golf

instead of bowling, but kept the

name. Holding golf tournaments

in local golf courses, the Valley

Jesters also hosted meetings and

invited speakers to participate.

One such speaker was Norm

Kaplan, the charismatic leader

of Junior Blind (formerly the

Foundation for the Junior Blind).

He told the Jesters about his dream

to help blind children achieve

independence.

At the time, children who were

blind grew up sheltered, exposed

to very little, and Norm was

determined to change that. He was

known to say “I don’t know about

blind children, but I do know

about children.” Norm believed

that children needed to experience

the world. After all, these children

would become adults one day

and he wanted to make sure they

could lead happy, productive and

independent lives.

Intrigued by Norm’s mission,

the Jesters decided to organize an

annual dinner dance benefiting

the children of Junior Blind. The

funds raised were immediately put

to good use, joining other generous

friends in helping Junior Blind

open its campus in South Los

Angeles. And, for more than 50

years, the members of the Valley

Jesters have been counted among

Junior Blind’s most loyal and

generous friends.

“Junior Blind is incredibly

grateful for the Valley Jesters’

dedication to the children we

serve,” says Miki Jordan, President

of Junior Blind. “It is only with

the support of our friends that we

are able to provide life-changing

services to children who are blind,

visually impaired or multi-disabled

at no cost to their families.”

The children of Junior Blind—

generations past and present—

are fortunate to have supporters

like the Valley Jesters. Fifty-year

friendships are something to be

cherished and all of us at Junior

Blind cherish the Valley Jesters.

Valley Jesters Mark LaVine (left) and Jerry Block (right) proudly

stand by the room named in honor of the Valley Jesters.

Junior Blind of America • 5300 Angeles Vista Boulevard • Los Angeles, CA 90043 • (323) 295-4555 • www.juniorblind.org

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