Hadley gave me the gift of literacy when I was in danger of losing it.
— Joan, OR, 2011


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Connection - Hadley's Student Newsletter

Fall 2016

Letter from the President...

Picture of Julie Tye As I sat down to compose this message, I found myself deeply moved as I considered Hadley’s impressive history of responsiveness and innovation. My first five months as Hadley’s new president provided the opportunity to understand our past, present and future and the important ways those time horizons intersect. I believe that at the center of this intersection we find the core values which have been fundamental to Hadley’s successful 96-year history of providing life-changing education programs for those who are blind or visually impaired. Legacy organizations like Hadley are indeed rare.

At Hadley, generation after generation of leadership at the Board and staff levels steered the organization in ways that balanced the past and the present in order to guide the future, thereby achieving nearly 10 decades of uninterrupted relevance. Much could be said about each of these horizons, but allow me to focus on just one highlight from each.

Our Past

William Hadley’s vision started with just one student in mind: a blind woman in rural Kansas who was eager to master braille but had no way to learn it. As the organization grew, reaching more students across the country and around the globe, Hadley’s focus remained on meeting the needs of each individual student.

And this remains true today. Technology allows us to create “classrooms” for our students to receive our content and we personalize that experience by assigning instructors to our students for one-on-one support. This is a remarkably unique model that is, in the truest sense, student-centered.

Our Present

Our new tagline, Educating — for Life, is a simple yet powerful description of our educational focus today. In addition to serving persons who are blind, Hadley reaches out to growing numbers of people who are experiencing low vision. The needs of this population are both similar to and distinct from our traditional student base. They, too, are “lifelong” learners who use Hadley’s educational resources to challenge and enrich their knowledge. However, they also are practical learners who rely on the tools we provide to enable them to continue to enjoy life with as much independence as possible.

Our Future

Our future is bright and exciting. Hadley’s hallmark has been its ability to continually effect positive change for the people we serve. I do not know of any other organization that is so well positioned to provide enormous value to members of the blind and visually impaired community.

We have the history; we have the reputation; and, above all, we have exceptionally talented staff and volunteers. Over the coming year, our focus will be on enhancing our capacity to deliver, student by student, on our promise of Educating — for Life. Please watch for more news of our plans and our results.

Warm regards,

Julie S. Tye

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Congratulations to Our 2016 Student Award Winners

Hadley Student Award Winners and their GuestsOver the past 95 years, Hadley students have demonstrated growth and accomplishment. In 1959, we began what has become an annual tradition of honoring our highest achievers.

Today, the Student Awards, presented each year during The Edwin J. Brach and Hazel and Bertram Brodie Award Presentation, recognize individuals whose hard work, determination and spirit serve as an inspiration to others. To date, we have presented awards to more than 200 students.

Since 2007, the Hadley President’s Award has been given in recognition of an individual or group demonstrating exceptional spirit in raising awareness of the needs and abilities of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. We are pleased to present our 2016 President’s Award recipient and Student Award winners.

Read their inspiring stories.

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FCE New Venture Business Competition

FCE Director Colleen Wunderlich and Award Recipient Eileen VasquezAward Recipients Karen Richardson-Moore, Eileen Vasquez and Satauna Howery pose for a group shot at the BLAST Conference in May)

Hadley invited blind entrepreneurs nationwide to submit their plans for a business startup, with the opportunity to win cash awards from a total purse of more than $25,000. The Bernard A. Newcomb Foundation funded the contest with a generous grant.

In order to enter Hadley’s first “New Venture Business Competition,” students must have enrolled in at least one Hadley Forsythe Center for Employment and Entrepreneurship (FCE) module. The FCE focuses on supporting the employability of people with vision loss, as unemployment within the blind community stands at a staggering 75 percent. The program offers tuition-free curriculum that yields the knowledge to start, operate or expand a business.

On May 18, three national finalists presented their business plans to a panel of judges. The results were announced on May 19 at an awards luncheon held during BLAST 2016, a national conference of the National Association of Blind Merchants.

First place winner was Eileen Vasquez, a veteran blinded due to exposure to radiation while serving our nation in Iraq. Eileen’s start-up, Locavore Thyme in St. Paul, MN, seeks to bring organic food to the marketplace through the use of aquaponics. Second place winner, Karen Richardson-Moore, of the Buffalo, NY startup, Innovative Back Office Solutions LLC, offers virtual and onsite back office support services using part-time CPAs, attorneys, marketers and HR services to provide à la carte services under one umbrella. Receiving third place recognition was Satauna Howery, of Satauna’s Voiceovers, who lends her voice to businesses in 19 countries and is based in Clifton Park, NY.

Colleen Wunderlich, Director of Hadley’s FCE, launched this contest to encourage Hadley FCE students to develop a product or service idea into a business. This competition provided a financial incentive to accelerate the launch or growth of a new business for blind entrepreneurs.

Explore self-employment opportunities at the Hadley FCE program page.

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Winners of the 2016 Spring into Braille Reading Program

Congratulations to the winners of the Spring into Braille Reading program! Students were entered in reading categories based on the total number of pages read between April 1 and May 31, 2016. Winners of the drawing received a $50 gift certificate to National Braille Press. Additionally, all participants received a Certificate of Participation.

Hats off to all of our 2016 Spring into Braille Reading participants! Students read more than 180,000 pages total. Favorites included Harry Potter books, Shel Silverstein poems and books by Danielle Steel.

The Spring into Braille Reading program will return in 2017. Until then…Keep on reading!

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More HIPS, High School and UEB Courses Coming Your Way

by Mike Rydel, Dean of Curricular Affairs

The Hadley Institute for Professional Studies (HIPS) has activated a new course called Eccentric Viewing. Using a new template featuring voiceover lectures and instructional videos with expert Nancy Parkin-Bashizi, the course trains vision professionals in a technique that helps clients with aged-related macular degeneration. Read more about the new Eccentric Viewing course.

The Hadley Institute High School also has activated a new course called Earth and Space Science. Focusing on geology and astronomy, this course teaches you about the role that science plays in your life and your environment. As always, this high school course is also available to our Adult Continuing Education students. Find out more about the new Earth and Space Science course.

The Hadley Institute has been committed to teaching braille since 1920, and Hadley is ensuring that it prepares everyone to read and write the new Unified English Braille (UEB) Code. Everyday Reading in UEB allows students to improve their UEB skills by reading a variety of texts, such as stories, travel itineraries and menus, which give you practice in the new braille formats. Read more about Everyday Reading.

To register for these courses, apply online or call Student Services at 800-323-4238.

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Hadley Faculty Gather in October

Faculty Group Photo at Hadley

In early October, the Hadley faculty convened for the Annual Meeting and Student Awards Presentations. Instructors gather only every two years during these events, and along with sharing ideas on new ways to help their students learn, grow and thrive, the group made sure to set aside time for fun. For Blindness Awareness Month (October) Hadley faculty built 31 white canes out of PVC pipe and tape for a lawn display at Hadley Central, in time for White Cane Day on October 15th. Follow Hadley on Facebook to see the end result of this fun project — and be sure to SHARE the #blindnessawarenessmonth posts to create awareness!

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Hadley’s High School Program Provides a Second Chance

The Hadley High School Program is, for some, a much-needed “second chance.” While students can transfer credits from courses taken at Hadley to their local high school, most earn their high school diploma directly from Hadley during their adult years. Courses are available in four formats — online, braille, audio and large print, and all are completely tuition-free.

Manuel Zavala, who lost his sight as a result of diabetes, says, “Earning my diploma was a huge accomplishment for me. It has opened the door to a brighter future. I am currently enrolled in college and well on my way to earning a degree in business.”

Graduate Brittany Gaines told us, “Hadley’s courses are every bit, if not more, challenging than those offered in public schools. But Hadley presented the materials in a format that gave me the access I needed.” From January 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016, 41 students earned their diploma by taking courses at Hadley. Congratulations to our 2015-2016 high school graduates!

Read the inspiring stories of Hadley’s high school graduates.

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In Memory: Hadley Instructor Geraldine Lawhorn 1916 – 2016

Hadley is proud to honor the memory of long-time faculty member Geraldine “Jerrie” Lawhorn, who passed away recently at age 99. Jerrie, who was deafblind, taught independent living skills and poetry writing to Hadley students for 46 years, retiring at age 95.

One of her mentors was the late Dr. Richard Kinney, president of The Hadley School for the Blind in the 1960s, who also was deafblind. He and Jerrie, shown below, worked together to develop a distance education course called “Independent Living without Sight and Hearing,” which was then followed by many more independent living courses at Hadley.

Jerrie was a pioneer — she was the first deafblind African-American woman to earn a Bachelor’s degree; the first deafblind person to be trained to use a guide dog; and the first deafblind person to perform at Carnegie Hall. She overcame countless challenges over the last century and was an inspiration and a friend to all who knew her.

Geraldine Lawhorn and PorterfieldGeraldine Lawhorn and former Hadley President Dr. Richard Kinney circa 1965

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Introducing Hadley's 2016 Braille Holiday Card!

Hadley's 2016 Braille Holiday Card, featuring a watercolor and mixed-media collage depicting a quiet winter landscape of colorful, vintage-patterned paper trees, as tactile snowflakes fall from the sky. Each snowflake and a solitary tree are embossed. As a special touch, hidden in the snowflakes along the top of the card, the word “peace” is spelled out in braille.  The Hadley Woman’s Board is pleased to announce the online sale of our 2016 Braille Holiday Cards and Gift Tags! In the Hadley tradition, the Holiday Card will carry the interior greeting “Wishing you peace, happiness and the spirit of the season” in both print and braille. The artwork features a watercolor and mixed-media collage depicting a quiet winter landscape of colorful, vintage-patterned paper trees, as tactile snowflakes fall from a blue winter sky. Each snowflake and a solitary tree are embossed. As a special touch, hidden in the snowflakes along the top of the card, the word “Peace” is spelled out in braille.

Original artwork created by mixed-media artist Jennifer James, an award-winning artist and designer who joined Hadley’s communications department in 2014. Jennifer shows her work throughout the year at fine art festivals and exhibits in Chicago, and is honored to support Hadley’s mission to serve people living with visual impairment. See more of Jennifer’s work on her website.

To order, visit the holiday card webpage or call 800-323-4238.

FREE SHIPPING for Hadley students!

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