The Outlook

Official Newsletter of the Sight-Loss
Support Group of Central PA, Inc

The Sight-Loss Support Group of Central Pennsylvania, Inc.
Turning Darkness into Light Since 1982

P.O. Box 782, Lemont, PA  16851            814-238-0132

Spring/Summer 2017



Eat, Share, Connect at 2nd Thursdays,

The New Lunch Group

There’s a new lunch group in town! 2nd Thursdays is a gathering of people with vision loss; a place to share a simple lunch, a place to connect, to learn, and to find support. And yes, a place to enjoy ourselves. We share our stories and experiences, learn about services and resources, and offer support to one another. We’re an informal group – sometimes we have a special speaker, sometimes not. Occasionally we’ll arrange a special event - a play, baseball game, or special tour.

Life with vision loss can be a daunting challenge, especially in the beginning. But with support and the proper training, we can meet this challenge and reclaim our lives. If you are new to vision loss or are an old hand, this is a good place to be; a good place to find a new beginning or help another launch the journey. We hope to meet you soon.

2nd Thursdays is a collaboration of the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, North Central Sight Services, and the Sight-Loss Support Group of Central PA. Each month, staff members and clients from each organization come together, find common ground, and enjoy one another’s company.

When: 2nd Thursday of each month from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. Our next three meetings are June 8, July 13, and August 10.

Where: Mt Nittany Residences, 301 Rolling Ridge Dr. We meet in the library on the first floor.

Details: Lunch is provided. If you need help with transportation, please call Josie Kantner at 238-0132 (office) or 574-1017 (cell).



This summer, there is no excuse to stay home! In addition to four local theater productions, the audio describers and the SLSG are offering a garden tour, arts festival guides, and a Spikes baseball game! Please see the descriptions below for details, and remember that reservations are now required for all audio-described events.

Please call the Sight-Loss Support Group of Central PA at (814) 238-0132 or email at AT LEAST TWO WEEKS IN ADVANCE of a performance or event unless otherwise noted. Leave your name and phone number plus the name and date of the performance. We will return your call.


H.O. SMITH BOTANIC GARDENS TOUR: Thursday, June 1, 10:00 am, PSU Arboretum.

The ever-popular Master Gardeners will once again be leading us through the ever-changing palette of the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens at the PSU Arboretum. On June 1 we will explore the early summer blooms of June and tour the expanding installations. There is much to be explored along the wide, paved paths of the Kathryn Bower Smith Strolling Garden, among the beds of outstanding Pennsylvania native plants in the Pollinators' Garden, and in the limestone cave, kaleidoscopes, mushroom hollow, and more at the Childhood Gates Children's Garden. We will be meeting at the main parking area entrance of the gardens (corner of Park Avenue and Bigler Rd) at 9:50 am. The tour is free and open to all, but please notify the SLSG office by email at or by phoning 814-238-0132 if you plan to attend.

SPIKES OPENING NIGHT: Monday, June 19, 7:05 pm, Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Take me out to the ball game. Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks. I don’t care if I never get back.”

Please join our crowd for the State College Spikes Opening Night! We’re getting a block of tickets in the accessible seating section where you’ll get the best view. Tickets are $10. If you’re a baseball fan (or even if you’re not) a Spikes Minor League Baseball game is a great way to spend a summer night – a chance to root for the home team, enjoy hot dogs and beer, admire the beautiful view of Mt Nittany as the sun goes down, and delight in the fireworks after the game. If you’re interested, please call us soon (238-0132) so we can add you to the block of tickets.


ARTS FESTIVALS: Available Wednesday, July 12 – Sunday, July 16, 2017, specific time and meeting location arranged with the SLSG office.

Festival Eyes Guides are available to escort SLSG clients through the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in State College, and the People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts in Boalsburg. Both extravaganzas run from Thursday, July 13 through Sunday, July 16. Wednesday, July 12 is Children’s Day at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, but “children of all ages” will enjoy its activities. With the help of a trained Festival Eyes Guide, you can explore the nationally recognized sidewalk sale and exhibition with artists from all over the country. To reserve a Festival Eyes Guide, call the SLSG office by June 28 at 814-238-0132 and speak to Josie or leave a message. This service is free, like most SLSG services.



CAMELOT: Sunday, June 25, 2:00 pm, Schwab Auditorium.

Fuse Productions presents Lerner and Loewe's lovely musical, Camelot. Young King Arthur hopes to create an idyllic kingdom guided by honor and righteousness, embodied by his Knights of the Round Table. With enchantment, pageantry, and glorious melodies, Lerner and Loewe’s classic won’t “Let it be forgot...That once there was a spot...For one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.”

Please reserve the AD service by June 11. Tickets are required (ask for the discounted price) and are obtained through FUSE Productions by calling (814) 380-8672, or online ( Please arrive at Schwab Auditorium by 1:30 pm to receive equipment and listen to informative preshow notes.


MAN OF LA MANCHA: Monday, July 17, 7:30 pm, Boal Barn.

Come dream the impossible dream with Nittany Theatre at the Barn as they present the musical, Man of La Mancha. This story recounts the legend of wannabe knight Don Quixote and his trusty sidekick Sancho as they embark on a journey full of laughter, love, and unruly windmills.

Nittany Theatre is graciously allowing us to AD their final dress rehearsal of Man of La Mancha, so no ticket is necessary. You must contact the SLSG office by July 3, however, to reserve your seat and the AD service. Please arrive at the Boal Barn by 7:00 pm to receive equipment and to listen to important and informative preshow notes.


LOOKING: Monday, August 14, 7:30 pm, Boal Barn.

Nittany Theatre presents Norm Foster's comedy, Looking. Val’s an OR nurse, Andy’s in the storage business, Nina’s a police officer, and Matt’s a radio morning show host. They’re middle-aged, single, and looking. Val agrees to meet Andy after

answering his personal ad in the newspaper. Nina and Matt are coaxed into joining their friends for support. High romance and contagious laughter are the result.

Nittany Theatre is graciously allowing us to AD their final dress rehearsal of Looking, so no ticket is necessary. You must contact the SLSG office by July 31, however, to reserve your seat and the AD service. Please arrive at the Boal Barn by 7:00 pm to receive equipment and to listen to important and informative preshow notes.


MAE: Monday, September 11, 7:30 pm, Boal Barn.

Nittany Theatre is presenting “the World Premiere” of this original musical about Mae West. Known for her lighthearted, bawdy, double entendres, and breezy sexual independence, West made a name for herself in vaudeville and on the stage in New York City before moving to Hollywood to become a comedian, actress, and writer in the motion picture industry, as well as a radio and television star.

Nittany Theatre is graciously allowing us to AD their final dress rehearsal of Mae, so no ticket is necessary. You must contact the SLSG office by August 28, however, to reserve your seat and the AD service. Please arrive at the Boal Barn by 7:00 pm to receive equipment and to listen to important and informative preshow notes.


Two Screen Magnifier Systems (X50) have been donated to the Sight-Loss-Support Group. These are available to be loaned at no cost to a visually-impaired individual. One is an Optelec System about the size of a microwave oven; the other is a Video Eye Sidekick System mounted on a small table. If you are interested in using one of these systems in your home, please contact the office (814-238-0132 or



by Josie Kantner Smith

Eyes Wide Open by Isaac Lidsky

What you don’t know can’t hurt you, but what you think you know certainly can.”

In Eyes Wide Open, Issac Lidsky explains the powerful insight that inspired him to pursue his most ambitious dreams despite losing his sight to a blinding disease: it isn’t external circumstances but how we perceive and respond to them that governs our reality. “Going blind is the blessing that showed me how to live with my eyes wide open,” says Lidsky, who inherited the condition of retinitis pigmentosa. He thoughtfully urges a practical yet expansive approach to life that leads to a greater appreciation of the world around us.

Fear can give us tunnel vision – we fill the unknown with our worst imaginings and cling to the familiar. When Lidsky learned that he was going blind at age thirteen, he thought blindness would mean an end to his early success and his hopes for the future. Paradoxically, losing his sight gave him the vision to take responsibility for his reality and thrive.

You must keep a vigilant watch for your self-limiting assumptions,” Lidsky counsels. Lidsky took his own advice and ended up graduating from Harvard at age 19, earned a Harvard law degree, and served as a Supreme Court law clerk. By age twenty-five, he was completely blind. As an entrepreneur, Lidsky started a tech company that sold for $230 million and transformed a failing construction subcontractor into a highly profitable business. He is also the father of four children.

Whether we’re blind or not, our vision is limited by our past experiences, biases, and emotions. Lidsky teaches us how to confront paralyzing fears, challenge our own assumptions and faulty leaps of logic, silence our inner critic, harness our strength, and live with open hearts and minds. In sharing his hard-won insights, he shows us how we too can confront life’s

trials with initiative, humor, and grace, empowering us with the vision to create the reality we want for ourselves.

Lidsky shared his eyes-wide-open philosophy in a viral TED Talk, “What reality are you creating for yourself?” which was viewed more than a million times in its first twenty days online.

Eyes Wide Open

  • Hardcover: Barnes and Noble, Amazon

  • Audible formats: Kindle (Amazon), Nook (Barnes and Noble), Audible (requires membership; affiliated with Amazon)



Sight-Loss Support Group of Central Pa Inc”

After struggling to update or inactivate previous Facebook pages for our group, we have now created a new page,

Sight-Loss Support Group of Central Pa Inc”. Apologies for the lengthy name; unfortunately, “SLSG” is owned by a soccer league! Please note the hyphen in the word “Sight-Loss” to follow the active page. The profile photo for our new page currently includes Josie, Cindy, Bill, and Roger; you will recognize the black, yellow, and white shirts of our audio describers on the cover photo.

Two previous pages are set up for our organization (one with a profile pic of Rana and Smitty, the other with our former yellow and blue logo) that are very out of date, but difficult to eliminate. If you were instrumental in establishing these pages for Rana, or if you are a Facebook guru and can assist us with our Facebook presence, please contact the office, or Eileen Rivoir at


Sight-Loss Support Group of Central PA, Inc.

P.O. Box 782, Lemont, PA 16851


Remember to check our website ( for announcements, updates, and further information, and to follow “Sight-Loss Support Group of Central PA Inc” on Facebook.


THE OUTLOOK, Spring/Summer 2017, May 2017

Archived Newsletters (pdf):

Spring/Summer 2017

Winter 2017

Autumn 2016

summer 2016

Spring 2016

June 2015

February 2015


September/October 2014   

june/july/aug 2014

april/may 2014

feb/march 2014


dec 2013/jan 2014

nov 2013

oct 2013

sept 2013